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EXPERT’S CORNER: Boost your business with smart self-promotion

Tooting one’s own horn strikes a sour note for many business owners I know, especially women.

But, guess what happens when no one hears about your business or successes? Nothing. No contacts, no referrals, no business.

Over-the-top social media self-promoters may wear us out with too many selfies and event photos. My friend, Danny, calls this practice “Look at Me Every Day,” which he shortens to LAME.

But there’s a sweet spot between shameless and shy. Self-promotion is easier than ever, thanks to social media’s vast reach and you don’t have to be obnoxious to be effective.

Here are tips for spreading your message:

1. Layer your brands: Brand layering, or tying in with nonprofits or other business, exponentially boosts your opportunities to get covered on legacy media (think TV and print) and social media. It also nets you eyeballs; other organizations will share about you on their social media channels and email newsletters.

2. Spotlight wins. Many people tend to be shy about shining the spotlight on themselves, so, I’m giving you permission to shine that spotlight. Trumpet your triumphs.

3. Be real. I’m a huge fan of authenticity; It’s OK to be real and it’s OK to self-promote if you’ve done something fabulous. Issue a press release; sent a tweet; post a picture on LinkedIn. You can’t spell WIN without “I.”

4. Keep a schedule: Because self-promotion, especially on social media, can become overwhelming, keep a schedule. Pick two or three points in the day (morning, noon, night, maybe), set the clock for 10 minutes, and post your posts. Knowing you have x minutes to deliver your message will keep you focused (and limit straying). When the buzzer chimes, leave.

5. Tailor your circle. Follow people in your industry or people who are clients. The cat video guy is funny, yes, but helpful? Probably not.

6. Pick your spots. There are a slew of sites now, but only one of you and you can’t be everywhere. Pick a few spots — Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, maybe — and focus on those. Also, know you can repurpose content. An article shared one place can be shared on another, with a slight tweak to the text.

7. Know your audience. Your circle’s posts will clue you in on how to engage. If they’ve posted an article from Fast Company (or Slate, or Newsweek, you get the idea … ), say how that applies to something you’re working on and why.

8. Show yourself. Do you consider robocalls human interactions? Didn’t think so. Autoreply or canned responses to posts are equally fake (and hollow). Engage with the person on the other end.

9. Images are everything: That cliché about a picture being worth a bunch of words isn’t far off. Letting people see you in action will give a sense of what you do … and let your circle put a face to the name.

10. Go on camera: Video also gets people watching and thinking of you. Go on camera for even a half-minute and say (or show something) related to your message. Show your team in action.

Want to learn more? Attend “Sharing the Love through Self-Expression: Simple Tips for Shameless Self-Promotion,” from 8:30 to 10 a.m. Feb. 13 at the Associated Builders & Contractors’ Nevada office, 5070 Arville St., Suite 4.

In this interactive workshop, part of the National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) of Southern Nevada’s 2019 speaker series, we will share case studies on seizing opportunities to shine, promoting business wins inexpensively and mastering the magic of brand layering.

The event is free for NAWBO Southern Nevada members, and $20 plus tax ($2.85) for nonmembers. Attendees will leave the conversation with tips they can implement immediately and strategies to keep them relevant.

Divine Events will cater breakfast. Register at nawbo.org/southern-nevada/events.

Ruth Furman is principal of Las Vegas-based ImageWords Communications.

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