In one way or another, all of us are marketing ourselves. Authors are marketing themselves to sell books, book bloggers are marketing themselves to bring traffic to their blogs, writers are marketing themselves to befriend other writers (as well as, in a way, to get editor/agent interest on their books), and I am marketing myself for my gorgeous hair… but let’s face it, with my good looks, this hair markets itself.
Anyway, I’m not going to tell you some secret to marketing yourself—yes, there is such a secret and yes, I’m the only one on this planet who knows it. (I taunted Loki with it once. He screamed at me when I didn’t tell him and I just pointed and laughed. It was extremely entertaining.) But I will say that while there are tons of great methods to self-marketing, there’s one powerful tool in particular that anyone can take advantage of. What is it?
…factoring in time for me to glance at my flawless face in the mirror…
Yep. I said it. Personality.
As a blogger/writer/author/whatever you are, you want to interest people. You want them to care about you and what you have to say, and you want to reach them with your words. Having an online presence helps you do that, but beyond just having a web presence you want people to see your tweets or Tumblr posts in their timeline/feed and get excited to read it. You want them to like hearing from you. (Just like all of you get excited when you lay eyes on me. Because, I mean, really.) How do you do that? By showing off your personality. By being yourself. Let me tell you, you all, provided you aren’t a serial killer, have something interesting to say and people who will want to listen. So don't be afraid show it.
Sure, your personality and how you market yourself does not greatly affect how many blog views you get or how many books you sell, but I think a lot of people, beyond just how their “product” does, want to genuinely interest people. You want them to follow what you have to say and even if they don’t always agree with you, they can still respect your opinions. You want to make friends, meet great people, and enjoy yourself.
I promise that almost everyone, as long as they aren’t Loki or Captain America (because gosh is that man boring…), has a unique and interesting personality that will draw people in. It seems, however, a lot of people are afraid to show their personality, and instead they tweet only links or talk only about their books and how writing is going. Unless those people are already famous and well-liked from another source (me, for example), no one is going to click their links, and no one is going to listen to them. So then what’s the point of even being online?
But even if you aren’t the following-20k-people-with-20k-followers-link-tweeters, you can still give a sense of your personality online. I mean, all I do is talk about cake and procrastination and people seem to get the gist of who I am, even if I’m sure most of the people who follow me are like “What is that guy even talking about.” (But then they look at my gorgeous self and remember.)
I’m not asking you to reveal your deepest darkest secrets; all I’m saying is don’t be afraid to be yourself when tweeting/Tumbling/whatever you’re doing, because your personality is a tool that will help you reach more people, meet others as awesome as you are (but not as awesome, of course, as I am—those are rare qualities), and most importantly, it will give you a space online where you can have fun, even though the internet tends to be fickle when it comes to your emotions.
Also, it’s important not to think of social media as purely for marketing yourself. Yeah, I know a lot of people join Twitter to market themselves, but the best kind of marketing isn’t tweeting links—it’s being your insane, weird, funny self. Embrace your strangeness and show the internet who you are. Talk to people. Tweet less links than you do interesting content tweets. And most importantly, enjoy it!
(Note: this is different than marketing your product, whatever that product may be. Content is what sells/attracts attention to products, BUT marketing yourself also helps your product. If people think you’re interesting online, they’ll most certainly check out your product. I buy most of my books purely because I like the author.)
(Yeah, I know. Iron Man has just joined the ranks of annoying people who tell you to “be yourself.” Sigh. Talk about off-days.)