Most businesses don’t exist in a vacuum. Unless you are incredibly lucky, you will probably have significant competition for your products or services. And even if you do have the edge, this golden situation won’t last for long.
To be successful, you need to differentiate yourself from the competition; and fast. This is where tooting your own horn, as the saying goes, is a smart move. The problem is that many of us are conditioned to do exactly the opposite. We are slightly uncomfortable with praise and we tend not to put ourselves forwards enough. If you are a female entrepreneur, this is even more likely to be the case. However, unless you tell the world how amazing your business is, why would customers choose you over a competitor?
Self-promotion doesn’t need to be grandiose. You don’t have to post a giant billboard featuring your grinning face on Times Square to advertise your business. There are subtler ways to toot your own horn and boost your professional credibility. Let’s take a look at the best strategies.
Start with Your Website
The best place to start is on your website. As a forward-thinking business operating in the 21st-Century, of course, you have a website (and if you don’t, what’s taking you so long?). A website is an excellent place to show off your credentials, business expertise, and skill-set.
For starters, highlight your professional qualifications, experience, and skills on the ‘About Us’ page. If a client is interested in doing business with you, this is the first place they will look. Next, add a blog to your website. You can use your blog to show off your knowledge about all things related to your niche. Write instructional posts, discuss the latest news in your sector, and respond to blog comments in a professional, helpful way.
If you are in a creative niche, use your website as a portfolio to show off your work. A design blog will show potential clients what you can do. Highlight any high-profile projects you have worked on and show off your skills. However, be selective about what projects you include in your design portfolio and try to make sure they are as diverse as possible
No business can afford to ignore the power of digital marketing. Without a Twitter account, Facebook page, Instagram feed or LinkedIn profile, you are hamstrung in today’s digital landscape. Everyone uses the digital realm to communicate, connect, and brag about their credentials, so you need to be comfortable doing the same.
Create accounts on all the main social networks that are applicable to your business. Build a profile and make sure the branding and key contact information are consistent across all platforms. Once you are up and running, spend time reaching out on social media. Reacting to industry news with pertinent comments, offering feedback, and responding to customer queries are all good ways of painting a positive image of your business.
Show off your expertise as often as possible. If you have something to say, say it. The more proactive you are on social media; the more people will remember who you are and what you have to offer. It can take a while to build up a presence on social media, so don’t expect results overnight. Plug away, be consistent about what and when you post, and you should begin to see positive audience engagement.
Attend Seminars and Give Keynote Speeches
Attending industry seminars is crucial if you are in the B2B sector. Seminars and trade shows will give you an opportunity to meet clients and peers. Once you gain a reputation for being a thought leader and credible expert, you may be invited to give keynote addresses. Grab this opportunity with both hands, even if public speaking is terrifying to you. Giving a keynote address is a great chance to show off your passion for the subject, your humility, and your sense of humour. All of these qualities will cement your reputation as someone to watch.
Finally, be wary of going overboard. There is a fine line between tooting your own horn and coming over as a self-important narcissist. Cross it at your peril.