Marketing is awkward.
And you can’t spell awkward without RKA, which is why I’m writing – and vlogging – about this today.
I’ve been doing Facebook Live videos for the past 10 weeks and, at first glance, it may appear that I was born with a video camera in my face (well, technically, I was…thanks Dad). But the truth is, each and every time I press that little red “Go Live” button, I have to swallow the urge to projectile vomit all over my camera.
Don’t worry. The only things I throw up in this video are my glaring insecurities:
Raise your hand if you feel awkward/uncomfortable/terrified when it comes to marketing yourself. Me, too.
Here’s a secret: while I might APPEAR to be having a grand ol’ time when I do these FB Lives every week, each and every time I push that little red button to “Go Live,” I nearly vomit all over my screen.
Marketing is awkward. Marketing YOURSELF is even more awkward. And, for most of us, even the most extrovertiest extroverts (hand raised) that AWKWARD feeling never fully goes away.
But, if you’re building a small business using online tools, there’s just no way around it; visibility is key to getting in front of your audience and selling your services. (Whether that visibility is in the form of videos, podcasts, blogs, visual marketing, webinars, fill in the blank. In other words, you don’t necessarily have to be VISIBLE to be visible.)
So, what’s an awkward marketer to do? Well, watch this vid, for one.
In this video, I break down my 5 tips for pushing past the awkwardness of marketing yourself. Spoilers below:
1. Join a Facebook group or a mastermind with other small business owners and entrepreneurs. A few of my favorites include:
Awarepreneurs, led by Paul Zelizer: https://www.facebook.com/groups/awarepreneurs/
Un-BLEEP-withable Girlfriends, led by Ash Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project: http://themiddlefingerproject.org/
The Playground, led by Aliza Lulu Stein of A Freaking Great Company: https://afreakinggreatcompany.com/the-playground-invitation/
2. Do a marketing challenge. A couple awesome challenges happening RIGHT NOW include:
Creative Spring content challenge, led by Kerri Lowe: https://kaylocreative.com/creativespring/
Share Your Heart, Show Your Work video challenge, led by Allison Crow: https://allisoncrow.com/challenge/
3. Start in your comfort zone. No, you don’t have to do a blog AND a podcast AND videos AND Facebook AND Twitter AND Instagram AND LinkedIn AND…the list goes on. Start with ONE thing where you feel like a master and then slowly widen your marketing circle.
4. Practice a mindful approach. When negative thoughts and impostor syndrome shows up, acknowledge the thought, then practice re-focusing your attention BACK on your commitment to marketing yourself and growing your business.
You might want to even give that voice NAME, like Hilda. Check out Jennie Mustafa-Julock’s awesome book on Hilda and tackling your inner naysayer: http://hildathebook.com/
5. Remember, user behavior studies show us that MOST users aren’t spending more than 15 second on your website. EVEN IF your entire high school class has rented out the Hampton Inn for the sole purpose of laughing at you, they’re only doing it for FIFTEEN SECONDS before they get bored of you. (Anyone else have the “What does Leah from English 11H think of me?!” nightmare? Just me? Cool.)
Marketing is awkward. You’re not alone. (And, you can’t spell “awkward” without RKA!) We’re in this together. #awkwardmarketing
Posted by RKA ink on Wednesday, May 3, 2017
Yup, marketing is awkward. But marketing yourself? Forget about it. Most days, I’d rather dive head first into a swimming pool of rotten potato salad than market myself.
And, I’m an extrovert, dammit! I have a degree in theaterrrrrr.
My favorite part of any class, from kindergarten to grad school, was always public speaking. (Fun fact: my freshman year of high school, I wrote a 45 minute one woman musical based on The Odyssey and my English teacher let me perform it for the entire class – unedited. Shout out to Mrs. Harris!)
I have singlehandedly rescued many a bachelorette party scavenger hunt with my take no prisoners attitude towards asking strangers embarrassing questions.
Give me a microphone and a karaoke version of Bésame Mucho and I will bring the house down – or wail trying.
What’s the point of all this? (Other than enticing you to invite me to your bachelorette party.) I guess I’m trying to show just how much I love making a fool of myself in public; I’m the last person you’d expect would hate self promotion.
But a love of the limelight does not a marketer make.
And I know that I’m not the only one who feels awkward marketing herself. Not simply because I suppose it to be true based on my own awkward experiences, but because I have yet to meet a small business owner who doesn’t also grapple with this in some way.
So, whether you are an introvert or an extrovert, a listener or a talker, an observer or an exhibitionist, if marketing yourself feels awkward/uncomfortable/utterly terrifying, here’s the good news:
You’re not alone. This self promotion shit is weiiiiiiiird.
The bad news? If you’re a small biz owner building a brand online – especially if you’re at the center of that brand as a coach, therapist, author, copywriter, artist, designer – you’re going to have be visible.Whether it’s written, audio, or video content – or your own funky hybrid of all three – your success hinges on putting yourself, your ideas, and your unique point of view in front of the right people again and again. (Pro tip: you don’t always have to be visible to be “visible.”)
Here are my 5 tips for pushing past the awkwardness of marketing yourself:
1. Join a Facebook group or mastermind.
Running your own biz can feel lonely, which is why I always add this tip to every “How To” listicle I write for entrepreneurs. Don’t go it alone. Not only do small business Facebook groups and masterminds help you feel less awkward and alone on the biz journey, they are treasure troves of helpful information, referrals and recommendations, best and worst practices, and good old fashioned moral support. Here are a few of my favorites:
- For the spiritual folks in the room: Awarepreneurs led by Paul Zelizer
- A woo free Facebook group: Get Out Of Your Own Way led by Coach Jennie
- Creative entrepreneurs who know community > competition: The Rising Tide Society
- If you like snark and tequila with your marketing: Unf*ckwithable Girlfriends led by Ash Ambirge of The Middle Finger Project
- For an intimate mastermind experience: The Playground led by Aliza Stein of A Freaking Great Company
2. Do a group challenge.
If you’re already a member of seven zillion Facebook groups (or even just one), you know how easy it is to join up and then do nothing. A group challenge is a perfect way to get involved and take on the awkwardness of self promotion “amongst friends.” The purpose of a good marketing challenge is to try something new with a group of similarly awkward feeling cheerleaders rallying behind you. Newbs unite! A couple of awesome challenges happening RIGHT NOW include:
- Creative Spring led by Kerri Lowe
- Share Your Heart, Show Your Work led by Allison Crow
- The 100 Day Project (already a month in, but you can still join!)
3. Start in your comfort zone.
No, you don’t have to do a blog AND a podcast AND videos AND Facebook AND Twitter AND Instagram AND LinkedIn AND…the list goes on. (This is the answer to one of my most frequently asked questions.) Start with ONE thing where you feel like a master and then slowly widen your marketing circle. Trying to tackle everything at once is a recipe for burnout and mediocrity. Marketing yourself effectively isn’t about being visible in as many place as possible. It’s about standing in your strength zone and shining, so you can attract the right folks.
4. Practice marketing mindfulness.
When negative thoughts or impostor syndrome show up — and they will — acknowledge the thoughts, then practice re-focusing your attention back on your commitment to marketing yourself and growing your business. Of course, gently turning your mind away from painful thoughts can be difficult if you don’t have a regular mindfulness practice. Download the free Insight Timer app and start with 5 minutes a day of meditation. My favorite is “Real Waterfall in Ecuador.” It’s 5 minutes of audio vacation before my work day begins, teaching me to turn my mind towards the task I’ve committed to in this moment and away from the little Hilda in my head pushing haterade.
5. Take it 15 seconds at a time.
From what we know about web behavior, most users aren’t spending more than 15 seconds on your website. This means that even if your entire high school class has rented out the Hampton Inn for the sole purpose of laughing at you, they’re only doing it for FIFTEEN SECONDS before they get bored of you. Isn’t that a relief?!
Marketing is awkward, uncomfortable, even terrifying at times. But it doesn’t have to be lonely. Share your awkward marketing moment in the comments and we can squirm together.