How to Promote Yourself without being a Jerk

It has been said many times that social media is like a cocktail party. There is great potential to promote your products within social media but it must be done the right way. You wouldn’t enter a room and immediately start talking about yourself and pushing your products. You can’t enter the online world and expect everyone to be immediately fascinated with your message.

I am going to share a few tips and tricks to help you get comfortable with promoting yourself comfortably and successfully.

Be confident — if you don’t believe in yourself, no one else will either! It is important to work towards your own strengths, if you are an introvert you will need to work on being very comfortable with your message. If you are an extrovert, you might need to tone it down a bit. Know yourself and your message will show it.

One thing I say frequently is, if I don’t think I am fabulous, why should you?

Be ready to promote yourself! Have a unique and interesting business card with all your contact information.  Be comfortable sharing your information with someone and ready to connect.

I love the cards by Meet MeMe. Here is mine and I need to order more because I gave them all out! If you are starting in social media and going to be attending networking events, these fun cards will help you get noticed and people will keep your card.

Create an elevator pitch — you have a very brief amount of time to make that great first impression. Have a short but interesting mini speech prepared so when someone asks what you do, you can say that I am the world’s foremost expert on chinchillas and I wrote a book about it! Shoot for 25 – 30 words that will draw your listener in and pique their interest. Practice this and finesse it so that you are comfortable sharing this the moment you have the opportunity.

My elevator pitch: I am a writer and passionate about social media. My message is about being positive and creative as well as helping others learn along the way.

Chris Westfall has won awards for his elevator speeches and wrote a book on the topic!

Make sure all your social profiles are up-to-date and unique!

After you have pitched your great elevator speech and given out your interesting business cards, the next step is your new friend checking out your social media presence. Have all your profiles eyeball ready. Do not exaggerate or lie in your profiles. But present yourself in a unique and fun way. Not a big author YET, reflect that in your profile. You can balance a “fake it until you make it” presence as long as you are not overselling what you can deliver.

Writing a really good bio is one of the hardest things to accomplish. You need to spend time on this and get opinions from people who you respect. Have a friend help you out if possible. This might need updating from time to time. Keep it fresh, interesting and unique.

No magic formula – create your own mix

  1. You need to balance the material that you share in social media. Some people share an 80/20 mix. 80 percent other people’s materials and 20 percent yourself.
  2. Don’t be “that guy.” You cannot only promote yourself. You will have no followers at all.

Network and create a receptive community

  1. Set up a Facebook page and grow your fan base
  2. Website or blog – start collecting email addresses for a newsletter right away
  3. Be active on Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn. Find people who do something similar to you or your target audience for your product

Engage, enjoy and embrace the new friends that you make — then give them your confident, interesting elevator pitch! Give yourself time to grow and flourish. And remember that it isn’t wrong to promote yourself, but it needs to be done in a tasteful and appropriate way.


  1. Be confident in your message

  2. Be ready to promote yourself

  3. Create an elevator pitch

  4. Up-to-date bio and social media profiles

  5. Create your own mix

  6. Network and create your community

  7. Have fun!

Some resources that I found helpful from people much smarter than myself.

How to Promote Your Work by Chris Brogan

10 Ways to Launch and Promote a Product Using Social Media by Jeff Bullas

Darren Rowse — Problogger, video from a post SXSW trip

This was presented as a speech for an event hosted by Libboo for writers in Boston at the British Consulate on February 28th. I met a gaggle of fabulous writers and had a blast. The other speaker of the evening was the delightful author Annie Bourne and you should read her new thriller: The First Secret of Edwin Hoff. I am going to!

Featured image courtesy of Jef Aerosol via Creative Commons.
Article by Peg Fitzpatrick

The following two tabs change content below.


Author & Social media strategist at Lucky Clover Media
Social media is my passion. And my job. I've built a thriving social media platform of over 1,000,000 followers. Co-author of The Art of Social Media: Power Tips for Power Users with Guy Kawasaki. I'm here sharing my professional experience working day to day in the trenches of social media, marketing, and blogging. I work with global brands and leaders in the social media sphere every day. I've spearheaded successful social-media campaigns for Motorola, Audi, Google, and Virgin as well as having been a brand ambassador for Kimpton Hotels. I work with the best brands and make them even better! I'll share tips and tricks, provide positive inspiration and answer social media questions through the content that I create and curate. What sets me apart? I'm an innovative idea girl that follows through and gets the job done. Social media is my career, not just a hobby.

Let’s keep in touch! Please sign up to receive updates.

No spam ever, promise.


  1. says

    The single best post on the subject I’ve ever read!  I am doing everything I can to share this post with everyone I know, because it is that good.  I especially enjoyed the Chris Westfall video.  I took copious notes and plan on using this information as the basis for all my future marketing efforts, thank you, thank you, thank you, Peg!!

    • says

      This is the nicest blog comment in the history of blog comments. I am so happy that you liked my post. I had a great time writing it and it brings me a lot of joy to  know that you found it beneficial.

      Let me know if anything helps you out!
      Thank you so much!


  2. says

    I always feel like I am tripping over my own feet when it comes to promotion. Sometimes I am too forward, and other times too meek. I feel much better about it this year because I have more experience with it.  

  3. says

    I’m with Philip, this is such a tricky topic but you turned what was like a tight-rope into a 4 lane bridge!! I mean you really knocked this out of the park with your pointers. I didn’t take notes, but I bikel bookmarked it and I’m going to tell pretty much everyone I know to read this!!

    And yeah, it goes without saying that I’m gonna get some of those cool cards before my first in person event :)

    • says

      Thanks Tony! What a nice thing to say. 

      Get some cards! It is funny that everyone loves that part of the post. I went through the last of mine last night at the event I was at. My kids say they are my Pokemon cards. Great ice breakers.

      Thanks for commenting – much appreciated!

  4. says

    Great post, @PegFitzpatrick:disqus — now when I come across people just trying to get their feet wet in social media I know where to point them to. And great guest appearance by our friend Chris @westfallonline as well! Love @MeetMeme!

  5. says

    I have square cards which help, but believe you need more.  I loved the video by Darren, all the unique ways to promote yourself.  I’ve always stumbled with my ‘elevator speech’ because I feel it sounds so ‘salesy’ … but this post gave me some really good ideas! I’m definitely bookmarking this one!  Thanks so much! :) 

    • says

      So happy you got something from my post Knikkolette! Creating the correct elevator pitch is tough and needs to really be concise yet effective. Worth working on! Chris Westfall has lots of great videos with tips on it.
      Thanks for stopping by & commenting.

  6. says

    What a refreshingly lovely post! I’ve waded through dozens of how to type posts on this subject & it’s a treat to come across one with info I can easily implement.

    Thanks Peg!

  7. Michael Jensen says

    Great article Peg, as I’m putting together some guidelines for authors using social media, and you have some great tips and spurred ideas! Thanks!


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge