They say write about what you know – and boy do I know about marketing when you are shy! I am good at being shy and really rubbish at self-promotion.
And it doesn’t stop there for me – sometimes my shyness easily flows into being insecure. This means I get embarrassed, overly aware of every detail and on really bad days I can turn skills into faults in a blink of an eye!
Being a freelancer marketing is a huge part of my job and a huge part of marketing is self-promotion. So, in this post, I am focusing on ideas of how to approach self-promotion if you’re an introvert.
I once invented a fictitious work persona which I would pretend to be!
It was my first business and I was so shy I couldn’t run it solely being myself. I have improved somewhat these days but I still struggle a bit, although I no longer feel the need to be someone else.
The beauty of the internet is that there is a natural buffer between you and who you are interacting with. Which, if you are shy, can be used to your advantage. This buffer gives you time to consider your actions and reactions which is great.
A good example of this is social media. I found incremental steps was the process for me. Progressing from ‘liking’ to following to commenting, to posting and eventually to contacting/DM.
This worked best for me as it is a gentle progression, so when you are comfortable with one level, you can go on to the next.
So, I don’t get too stuck on one level I set myself targets. Not how many followers or likes I get but how often I interact with other accounts, and in what way.
What I have noticed is that instead of feeling like I am forcing myself to do something it feels like I am permitting myself to do it. Which is a much better mindset to be in.
A supportive group can be such a life-line when you are self-employed and even more so when you are shy.
Finding the right group
It can take time and sometimes you can get it wrong. I know that one first-hand when setting up my first business many years ago. I joined a local business network group. They were all in a different field from me, at a more progressed level and had a very different attitude to what success was. I always felt like an outsider and it dinted my confidence.
When setting myself up as a freelance Web Designer and VA – I lurked in quite a few online groups. I wanted to get a feel for the groups before committing – how supportive other members were to ‘obvious’ questions and newbies to their business. And also, how pleasant and helpful the most dominant and vocal members. For me, this last one was often the reason I was put off a group.
This time I was more aware of what I needed from my tribe both professionally and personally. And I feel very blessed to have found two groups that reach those needs.
Marketing is hard but marketing when you are shy is even harder
Marketing is all about getting in front of your ideal client which means building an audience of people (or businesses) who are potentially interested in what you have to offer. This takes time, courage and a certain amount of extrovert tendencies. So, leveraging other people’s audiences can be useful.
There is a whole marketing concept relating to this, which I’ll go into in detail in a deeper way, but marketing & self-promotion like this can be difficult for shy people and introverts.
So here are three simple ideas which have worked for me.
First up do your research of who has an audience that you think would be co-beneficial:
- Show them some love – on social media like, comment, building up to tagging or even “@ing” them. If you are on Instagram check out which #hastags they follow and then tag your content with that #hashtag. All of this is to make the person with the audience you want to connect with become aware of you.
- Register with their directory – I did this recently with an on-line directory with a web designer and on-line marketing expert, in the first month I had 3 leads and 1 new client.
- On-line advertising – social media means that for a small amount of money you can put yourself in front of people who are searching for either your person or their business or even their keywords.
Word of mouth is the golden egg of marketing for shy people as other people are doing the promoting for us
So, make it easy for them – if you find it difficult to ask for feedback or reviews then take yourself out of the process by automating it.
If your business allows for it set up an affiliate programme – this is a win-win for everyone. Your clients get discounts and you get other people marketing your business for you.
And don’t forget to use your positive feedback and testimonials to your advantage. Add them to your website, your email signature. Take screenshots of any that are on social media so that you can use them as ‘social proof’ for potential clients who are wavering.
My final thought in all of this is that these are just small, cheap (if not free) ways that have helped me but I know that they are not the answer to the issue. I am currently spending time working out what makes me shy and learning skills and developing tools to help me in these situations.
If you struggle with shyness or are an introvert then connect with me in any way which is comfortable for you and let’s see if we can help each other.