These days, it seems easier than ever to get lost in the shuffle. It’s hard enough if you’re just a regular person trying to keep up with your contacts, but it takes almost a Herculean effort for small business owners not to be swept away in a short-attention-span tsunami.
Too often, leaders and business owners count on current customers and favorable leads to be their biggest cheerleaders. But even in the age of the ubiquitous customer review and amid social media chatter, it’s still critical for companies to be their own biggest advocates – and to use content to help them get there.
That doesn’t mean one has to resort to tacky or in-your-face self-promotion. The Center for Creative Leadership says, “Many capable and talented leaders feel like self-promotion is bragging or sucking up. Self-promotion doesn’t need to be viewed in a negative light though.”
And they have a point. The following are reasons why business owners, business leaders and others with an entrepreneurial knack shouldn’t shy away from being present in the content space. These are justifications for having the confidence to get involved in online conversations, to post blogs, to associate your name on ghostwritten pieces and, most of all, tell your business’s story.
You have the network that will advance you.
Think about it: As a business owner, you’ve got that fire lit beneath you. You have that inner drive that steers you. You may even say you’ve got mojo. But the truth is that no successful leader gets where he or she is alone. You have an army of supporters who have rallied behind and supported you every step of the way. Have you thought about mobilizing them to advocate for your business? Are they following you on Facebook, retweeting your Twitter posts or leaving good Yelp reviews? Outside of your immediate family and closest friends, they are probably the next group best equipped to tell your story and power your product or service.
People want you, not just what you’re offering.
These days, buyers, customers and prospects want to feel a connection to the business they support – or are considering supporting. It’s no longer enough to promote your product or advertise you service, while the leaders and people behind the company are cloaked by taglines and impersonal websites. When you speak out – by authoring a blog in your own voice or by responding to online feedback personally – you help to build connections that are real, authentic and true. The CSR writes that: “Millennials are motivated by three key values: the need for a feeling of connectedness through personal relationships and community; social proof that they can make the world a better place; and a demand for authenticity, seeing things as they truly are.”
You know your story.
Think about it: Why did you start your business? What are the values that drive your company? What issues keep you awake at night? What inspires you to get up in the morning and charge through another day? These are the hooks that connect people to your higher purpose – and these aren’t just going to resonate through vision and mission statements alone. “Ultimately a brand’s story is not just something businesses should refer to every time they launch a marketing campaign or issue a press release. It should be the foundation on which a future growth strategy is built,” according to Marketing Week.
It may take some internal momentum – some shorting up of motivation and confidence – but leaders and those closely affiliated with a business – should own the responsibility of being its biggest promoters. These days, few entrepreneurs and executives, even of very small outfits, can afford to rest on their laurels or play downstage roles. What will you do different this week or this month to become a bigger self-promoter?