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The Strategic Art of Self-Promotion

Be successful—never smarmy—in publicizing your business, by employing the 80/20 rule.

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by Kara Baskin

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Your new business is great, and you want to tell all of cyberspace! Here’s how to create a compelling website and social media presence without looking like a braggart or a smarmy spammer, according to branding expert Gordon Plutsky, vice president at digital marketing and technology agency Digital Bungalow.

Step 1: Create a brand mission. “Your brand needs to stand for something that means something to your target audience, Plutsky says. “If you’re providing a product or service, think about what it solves for the target customers. What benefit are you providing and how are you delivering it? Developing this brand promise is the first and most important step.”

Step 2: Craft your message. “How will you communicate this new brand? What do you want potential customers to know about you and your service? In other words, what’s the pitch?” Remember: The pitch has to be meaningful to your customers. The best way to share your pitch, says Plutsky, is by posting news and information that’s helpful to your customers. “Make it about them, not you. This is an important point and nuance. Take a customer-centric approach by creating content that helps your audience while showing off your expertise.” Write posts about industry news and innovations—not about how great you are.

Step 3: Create your own media program. No need to spend a lot of money on advertising when you can own your media channel through a website, blog, email and social media. “Here is where you can distribute your content, news stories and demonstrations of your expertise. Good rule of thumb: Post 80% content that’s helpful to your audience and 20% that’s self-promotional. People won't mind the self-promotion if it comes with a good helping of information that’s valuable to them,” he advises. Make sure that each social media channel has a consistent look and feel, with unified messaging and design. 

Step 4: Take it slow. “Take your time building an audience and get them to opt in to email, follow on social, visit your site, and so on. Don’t over-communicate or spam them—you'll get shut down and tuned out,” Plutsky warns. He recommends a monthly email, a daily LinkedIn post, five to six tweets spaced out daily, two to three Facebook posts a week, and a weekly blog. “If you see good engagement, you can steadily increase.”

Step 5: Mind your metrics. “Make sure you’re measuring how you’re doing with self-service tools,” he says. Google Analytics will measure traffic hits for your website while LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook business pages offer basic analytics, too.

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