How to talk about yourself on social media (or how to sell without selling)

by on December 3, 2014

How to talk about yourself on social mediaWhat is the point of being on social media?

Many business owners will be quick to reply – to make money!

And while that is certainly a valid goal, direct sales cannot stand as the be-all and end-all reason for getting social.

Some other goals for social media might include:

  • Driving traffic to your site
  • Increasing awareness about your business and your services or products
  • Establishing yourself as a credible specialist in your field and educating fans about your industry
  • Keeping your business top of mind so that when someone needs your service or offering, they think of you
  • Creating and maintaining relationships with potential customers and partners

All of these things support the ultimate goal of making sales, by acting as a foundation. People buy from those they like and trust. Social media gives you the chance to establish that rapport.

If you were to ask me what the biggest mistakes I see small business owners making on social media, it tends to fall into 2 camps:

  1. They don’t promote themselves enough (or at all) – maybe they don’t feel comfortable selling.
  2. All they do is promote themselves – because that’s the point of being on social media, right?

Ideally, you want to find a happy medium where you fall in between these 2 extremes. You self-promote sometimes, but also offer up lots of value and use social media to be, well, social, of course!

~ If you need a little support around what kind of content to share outside of your own biz stuff, check out this post. While it’s specific to Twitter, the advice can apply to all social media channels ~

Given the recent announcement Facebook made regarding self-promotion that as of January 2015 they will be penalizing overtly salesy posts in their newsfeed, I thought it was an excellent time to initiate this discussion of “selling.” In this post, let’s look at “selling” on social media in a way that does not mean going for the hard sell.

~ If this Facebook update is new to you, check out this article from Jon Loomer, where he shares the details of the update, as well as some examples of what exactly constitutes a self-promotional post that Facebook doesn’t like. ~

So, how can you talk about your business and “sell” yourself on social media without feeling yucky about it (and thus deciding not to do it at all), or filling your profiles with “buy now” posts? Here are 7 ideas for you…

Share your blog content

This is hands down the most important way to use social media. As my friend Sarah Santacroce advised us, if you’re not blogging, you’re just plain wasting your time on social media. Sharing blog posts not only drives traffic back to your site and boosts SEO efforts, but offers value and positions you as credible source of interesting information at the same time. It’s a win-win-win on so many levels. I love blogging as a small business internet marketing strategy!

Share some sort of tip or piece of advice…

… and then drive that traffic back to your site. So for example, I have my free website mistakes report that I give away with an email subscription. Here’s a tweet where I shared a tip from the report and then included a call to action to get that traffic back to my site and encourage sign-ups.

Twitter tip tweet

But even if you share a tip without sending it back to your site, you’re still offering value. You’re showcasing a piece of your own knowledge, which demonstrates credibility and that you know what you are talking about.

Share what you’re working on

This is a subtle, without overtly selling, way of saying: “Hey, by the way, I do this.” It reminds people of what you are all about and keeps you top of mind. They may even learn something new about your services that they didn’t know before.

Here’s an example from my Facebook page:

Facebook post

Share your completed work

Similar to above, this is another way to show that awesome thing you do without the in-your-face buy pitch. My web team ECD Graphics does a great job of this on their Facebook page:

ECD Graphics

Share testimonials and customer comments

Let others do the talking for you. Sharing some customer lovin’ on your social profiles reminds people of just how amazing you are and that you are worthy of being hired or that your product is well worth the purchase.

Power tip – do you get long customer stories that don’t quite work for the testimonials page on your site? Post the full version to your blog!

Share what’s happening

Whether it’s behind the scenes photos of your biz, an event you’re attending, a media mention, a new partnership – whatever is happening in your biz, share that. Credibility, transparency, likeability… all that good stuff that makes people want to buy from you!

Create initiatives that support others

It doesn’t just have to be about you. Creating and sharing initiatives that support others or further causes that are important to your business are another way to talk about yourself without talking about yourself, if you catch my drift.

I’m all about supporting small business every chance I get. I do it for money with my marketing services. But I also share a general sentiment of small business love with my communications. One example is my Super Star Small Business initiative. It allows me to share what other awesome small businesses are doing. But it also reminds people that I am that small business cheerleader girl.

These are some of my favourite ways to “self-promote” without selling. On to you – what kind of content do you share about your small biz on social media? What other tips do you have for selling yourself? Meet you in the comments…

Image source: ratch0013/

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{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ryan Biddulph December 7, 2014 at 12:24 pm

Hi Martina,

I feared talking about me for so many moons, then I realized that if I don’t promote me, nobody will buy into what I have to offer. Then I started to go overboard on self promotion. Typical, right? lol…..then I learned to promote myself here and there, by sharing reviews and testimonials, then I could naturally draw in more sales without trying all that hard.

Smart tips!

Talking about other folks makes you interesting too, because people resonate with folks who care about them.

It’s such an easy, give and receive type deal. Engage folks frequently and you’ll find that people get more interested in you. The social person who shares other people’s content and also, who chats with other folks via their social updates, is a force to be reckoned with on social media.

The more you give, the more interest you get 😉

Thanks Martina!

Ryan Biddulph recently posted..How to Publish 10 eBooks in 4 Months


Martina Iring December 8, 2014 at 9:10 am

Hi Ryan,

I think so many of us entrepreneurs have experienced challenges with promoting ourselves and finding the right ratio and balance. And you’re so right that talking about others and sharing their content is a hugely important way of using social media. Not only does this allow you to develop relationships and show that are interested in being social, it also shows that you read other content and are educating yourself with other sources of information. This makes you more credible again. Thanks so much for stopping by and checking out the post!



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