Five Ways to Self-Promote

By: Guest | August 23, 2011 | 

We’ve received a variety of reactions to Gini Dietrich‘s post on self-promotion.  Here is another perspective from guest blogger Kareem Ahmed.

Something odd is happening in the land of the web these days; we’re becoming weary of self-promotion.

(Some) Business people are afraid to “toot their own horns” because on the Internet, it’s so easy to sound like a braggadocio (and even if you don’t sound like one, chances are @humblebrag will find you).

Social media is inherently a narcissist’s tool, so we’re all in good company. But lately, we’ve been calling out others in our own networks for being “shady salesmen.”

The Internet has a bad habit of eating its young and we (as a collective group of social media users) are responsible for that. We create or position someone as an “influencer” or “thought leader” and as soon as they start selling us on something, feelings of distrust, jealousy, and deceit start to develop.

Interestingly enough, there are industries out there, where self-promotion is not only accepted, but is the necessary standard.

If you’re friends with a musician or band member on Facebook, I’m sure you’ve seen similar posts:

  • “Make sure you ‘LIKE’ [insert band name here] on Facebook! We rock!”
  • “Hey, we need your help, vote for [insert band name here] in this contest. Thanks! If we win, you’ll get to watch us rock out LIVE!”
  • “[insert band name here] is having a show tonight at the venue, make sure you come and bring a friend. It’s only $10.”
  • “We just released our album! Swing by our record release party and buy the album online. Also, watch our videos on YouTube, we just hit 50,000 views!”

Are bands and musicians and artists exempt from self-promotion?

No, they are not.

They just do it in a way that’s so authentic, so pure, and so genuine that you can’t help but to support them. Artists are the ultimate entrepreneurs and we as business people can learn a lot from them.

So, it’s time to recognize that we’re all here for ulterior motives. We all have something to “sell.”  It’s OK to self-promote and there are ways to do it without sounding or looking like you’re full of yourself.

First and foremost, get rid of your cheesy avatar and slip into something a bit more comfortable.

Five Ways to Self Promote and Keep it Real

  1. If you’re going to talk about an accomplishment, give props to others. It’s not possible to do it alone. Give the people who helped you along the way credit. Not only will it help you spread you’re message, but it allows you to be self-promotional without sounding self-absorbed. Invest in yourself by investing in others.
  2. Believe in yourself. Believe in what you’re saying and believe in what you’re doing. Stand for something and don’t be afraid to argue your point. If you don’t believe in your cause, no one else will.
  3. Honesty is the best policy. Unfortunately, many marketers tend to “extend the truth a bit.” People are already skeptical of us, and our industry. Earn the trust, reap the reward.
  4. Everyone makes mistakes. One of the biggest faults committed by big names in the industry is that they hardly admit fault. They never say sorry. They never seem as vulnerable as we do. Being human is our biggest selling point.
  5. Be Likeable Remember that kid in gym class who was always the best at everything? Remember how much you disliked him? Don’t be him. Stay humble, remain respectful and  make it easy for people to like you. Always remember where you came from/how you got where you are.
  6. Just Say It. If you have something to say, just say it.

Do you have any other tips on how to not come off as an “online braggadocio”? Share them with us in the comments!

Kareem Ahmed is an entrepreneur, marketer, and all around good guy. Read his blog at KareemAhmed.Com. He is currently the CEO of InboxCupid, a site for online daters who are sick of browsing through endless profiles and the Director of Interactive Services at New Economy Labs.

Are you joining us this week? We have an OUTSTANDING session planned with  Marcus Sheridan and Gini Dietrich who are going to help you (or help you help your clients) produce content that fills up your sales funnel. Marcus did it for the swimming pool industry. You can do it for yours. This Thursday! August 25 at 11:00 a.m. CT. This webinar is $50 and you can buy it by clicking here.

Thanks for this article- we know our product works, but for some, it can be a little frustrating, not every business benefits from social media... its hard to get this across because social media is so new and confusing to many... how do we sell our product without making it sound like snakeoil or getting in a little bit of trouble when it doesn't work for a few folks? ... Also, what do you think of livefyre, is it better than disqus? —@FollowMeSticker


Here's an interesting thought for you - if effective marketing consist of personal selling, will the FCC consider regulations?

For example, Jason Sadler gets paid for wearing t-shirts for businesses. Since this is paid advertising, could the FCC regulate him or would that be an invasion on his free speech?


Hey Kareem,

I loved No. 5 ! Being likeable is so important, what's the point in being "oh, that guy, I just haaattteeee him"... ;) But then likeable is such a subjective term at times, humble makes more sense. Just make sure that you give the same respect others are giving you and then they will definitely like you for what you are. Even if you are a little bit crazy ;)

Learning from your mistakes is another thing that holds so much relevance. People are just "scared" to try something new because of the rejection that might cause or the stir it might create. If it goes wrong, it's okay just be humble (point 5!), accept your mistake (honesty, point 3), say what you want to (point 6), hold your head high and move one (point 2!).

Lovely post! Have a nice day!

John Fitzgerald
John Fitzgerald

Great list... It transcends self-promotion and social media. You could have titled this post, "Six Ways to Live Your Life"

Lisa Gerber
Lisa Gerber

Kareem, I love the examples you give for each of the points. Believing in yourself is an important one. I LOVED the t-shirt idea for promoting inboxCupid. Your blog has a ton of examples of being promotional in an authentic way. Thanks!


@ginidietrich How dare you ignore me earlier today! I gave a perfectly delivered jab and you just ignored it! That hurts!

Al Smith
Al Smith

You make some great points Kareem. All are so true. But these six are pretty dam obvious, too.

1. Hey everyone else ....... You Suck !

2. I am the Best at Everything !

3. Ignore all your comments.

4. Never help anyone, or God forbid, RT anything of value.

5. Always ask for people to buy something on twitter. They Love that.

6. Try to make people uncomfortable as possible.

Oh, did you say how NOT to come off as an online braggadocio ? My bad.

Sorry, I couldn't resist. Thanks Gini and Kareem. Good stuff.



Hey Kareem! It's the times when I try to be 'careful' or 'politically correct' or just too 'business-like' that I lose people in translation. In this day and age, we want to be able to connect with a company or person online in the same way that we'd be able to connect with them in real life. You got it right, it's awesome to self-promote, but do it in a natural, honest and awesome way. Cheers!


I think the most important thing is "Show, don't tell". Good content gives you something to promote without saying, directly, "Lookit meee!" That's been my secret to success (although I have yet to make a living off of my efforts, I must confess).

Point #5, the "Dale Carnegie" effect, is very important to me. The only thing I'd add is to make people feel important. Good content is made better when commenters add to it, the interaction of social media, and acknowledging it is important.

This coming from a guy who is using the next thread down for some serious self-promotion right now, yeesh! :-) But this is good stuff, thanks!


@Hajra Humble + Likeable go hand in hand! They are like cousins haha.


@Lisa Gerber Thanks Lisa! I think that in an age with so much fluff, being real has trumped!


@Al Smith Haha Ali! Funny list you have there.

I like number 1 the most.


@wabbitoid Thanks for your input. Show don't tell is a great way to promote without promoting!

The Dale Carnegie effect is arguably the most important one!


Cousins who make a great time and get along really well ;)


  1. […] is a guest post that was originally written and published on the Spin Sucks blog back in August. I’m reposting it here because I want to make sure that you guys see it! […]