Q&A: How do I promote my business without being obnoxious about it?

Q: I’ve been struggling with balancing the need to promote my podcast with not wanting to be obnoxious about it. I have always steered clear of social advertising because most social media kinda hurts my brain (I’m not good at keeping up with posting and commenting). What can I do?

A: First, the self-awareness to ask this question is a very good start to figuring out a way forward. It’s usually not a good idea to force a social media strategy anyway. Any post you put on a company social media page will likely go unnoticed unless you A) posted something with broad personal appeal, or B) put some ad spend into it.

A lack of engagement on company social pages will often result in people spamming their friends on social media. Your friends and family will like your posts sometimes. They love you, and they want you to succeed. But in the long-run, they’re not your target audience. You won’t sustain profit or growth from them.

When I’m asked how to promote without being obnoxious, I generally ask two questions:

  1. Which audience(s), specifically, do you actually need to reach with your message?
  2. What about your product/service/thing actually makes it worth anyone’s time or interest (hint: what about it interests you?)?

You can probably see where I’m going here. Define your people, and identify your value. After that comes research.

Find out what kind of online content your people consume. Figure out their online habits. Are they young and read blogs? Do they spend hours on YouTube?

Do they even lift, bro?

If you find out who these people are and what they do online, congratulations. You’ve found your audience.

Speaking to Your People

Now, how do you speak to them? This doesn’t need to feel like an awkward first date, or like an introvert at a 5-hour dinner party. Just speak. If they read a blog, engage in those comments as yourself and get to know them. It’s a small start; you won’t make a sale with this conversation. You’re working on gaining insight and trust.

Imagine how this can develop over time. If you get involved in your audience’s community, you build credibility. Eventually, you can approach content creators, who have mass appeal to your audience, about what you do or sell. Again, don’t force this. Remind yourself why this is worth their time and interest. You can find ways to partner with these people in the future. Most noteworthy, via valuable promotions on their social media and on their websites. Once you trust each other, brainstorm together. You can both help each other.

What I’m basically outlining is online networking. If you hand someone your business card along with a few stale selling points, what happens? They never contact you. Likewise, if you run around telling everyone your few stale selling points online, they don’t go to your website.

This process takes time, so if you don’t have the commodity of time, then it’s probably not worth pursuing. Churning out a bunch of social media posts is quick, easy but ineffective. Building an online network of valuable partners is labor-intensive but effective.

Also, if you are comfortable on social media and would like to figure out how to use those platforms better for your business, you can check out our pointers for Facebook and Reddit.

Kate Izell
Kate likes math and problem solving. Honestly, they get her through the day. She loves her wife, cats, and living in a cozy house outside Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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