This is a guest post by Amy Porterfield.
Selling yourself is hard.
But it’s next to impossible to thrive in a world that’s hyper-engaged if you refuse to bust out of your shell and, well—brag a little.
That’s right: brag.
Bragging is a way to prove you know your stuff. As a good friend of mine says, “If you don’t brag with specificity, authenticity and passion, no one will ever know what a true rock star you are.”
Social media is an ideal platform to carve out a niche and own your territory. But there’s a very fine line between bragging with “specificity, authenticity and passion” and coming off like a self-absorbed egomaniac (or a used car salesman).
Below are three steps to bragging better—so you can stand out, inspire and build deeper relationships online.
#1: True Rock Stars Show—They Don’t Tell
People who brag well online lead with their expertise, not with a sales pitch.
Or like your English teacher used to say, they practice “show, don’t tell.”
In a very noisy online world, your goal is to inspire your market to sit up and take notice of you. You want them to connect, deeply, with your value proposition. But words only go so far.
Showing your expertise—via advice in a Facebook post, a content-rich webinar or a helpful blog article—can foster the kind of sincere connections “telling” alone cannot.
One of the most powerful ways to “show” is with video. Video allows you to:
- Invite strangers in for a coffee. Video invites your users into your home, earning their trust by reminding them there’s a real person (with real expertise) behind that laptop screen.
- Make fuzzy ideas tangible. If you’re talking about a book you think is great, why not jump on video, show the book, turn to the page you think is valuable and read a short excerpt? This is more accessible and persuasive than a traditional written review.
- Teach vs. tell. Use simple screen capture software to show your viewers how to do something. Make a video tutorial with Screenflow or Camtasia so you can give readers something really valuable: new knowledge or skills.
There are also plenty of creative ways to show your expertise without the webcam. Try these:
- Use a tool like Jing to capture something on your computer screen. You can then mark up the image to prove a point or highlight information.
- Use images—lots of ‘em. Photos are still worth a thousand words. Images underline a point, help people visualize an idea and when they’re good, they’re memorable.
#2: True Rock Stars Let Social Proof Do the Heavy Lifting
The term “social proof” refers to the psychological phenomenon of people being motivated to do things that they see other people doing. Interactions on social media sites, such as Facebook, have increased the influence and reach of social proof because it’s easier to instantly see what your friends are doing all the time.
When your audience (a.k.a. fans or followers) talks about you, interacts with you, and shares your content, they’re showing their own friends and families that they like and trust you. And their friends are more likely to check you out because someone they trust endorsed you.
This chain reaction is social proof at its best. And the implications for rock stars like you are huge.
When people start sharing your content, they’re building your reputation for you—and your social reach grows exponentially.
But incredibly, a lot of people miss out on word-of-mouth bragging opportunities simply because they don’t make it easy for the user. If your website visitors like what you’re saying, they will spread the word—but only if you pave the way first.
Here a few useful tools to make sharing easy and fast:
- Tweetstimonials: This plugin for your website allows you to showcase testimonials and shout outs that your fans and followers post about you on Twitter.
- The Facebook Like Box: When non-fans visit your website, they can see the faces of all their friends who have already liked your Facebook Page. Social proof, in action!
- Social Sharing Buttons that let your visitors click and share your content with their own network are a must. SexyBookmarks for WordPress offers a row of different social bookmarks and social networks like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. Your reader can place his cursor over any of the icons to see it pop up on his screen and click to share. Similarly, DiggDigg provides multiple ways for visitors to share your content. There are two versions. The first is a static one and one that floats to stay in view, even as your reader scrolls down your post. The floating version is cool because it’s always visible, making it easy for your reader to share your content at any time.
#3: True Rock Stars Make It Personal
Rock stars know that the raw emotional power of a personal story can help them make meaningful contact.
Let your back-story do the bragging for you. The story of how you got where you are can be a powerful selling point—but only if you take the time to craft your story well and weave it into the foundation of your business.
More than a simple mission statement, a story encourages customers and potential clients to identify with your core values.
Telling your back-story will:
- Humanize your business. Engaging stories remind your market you’re human, not just a typing robot in this vast online universe.
- Effect change. If you want to change how people perceive your worth or value, just tell them a better story about who you really are.
- Make a memorable first impression. Your bio is a big deal. Even that tiny Twitter bio counts! Bios are not just a collection of facts. The story you tell to strangers can make or break your relationship with someone new.
- Resonate. My friend Michael Margolis says it best. “With all the noise, people look to your story for resonance. In other words, do they vibe and trust what you’re all about? Can they believe in your message? The more you can align your back-story with your product, service, or idea — the more audiences will embrace your message. Storytelling is all about connecting these dots.”
Next time you want to spotlight your accomplishments and skills, remember that bragging authentically isn’t a science—it’s an art. Show, don’t tell. Create opportunities for your audience to sing your praises. And build your foundation on a back-story that will resonate with the people you serve.