I started LouisvillePM, a Ning community for project managers in Louisville, KY, in July of 2008 with the misguided theory of: if I build it and they will come. In fact, that was the theme of my first ever blog post. One and a half years later, I’m selling LouisvillePM and I’ve since learned that couldn’t be farther from the truth. I had to work very hard to build up the membership of that site. I had to spam people on LinkedIn even, and I had to be very self promotional.
Even though I had a limited target market, within a tight geographic range, I wasn’t able to reach everyone. They most assuredly weren’t running to my site with open arms.
My take away from the experience was that people aren’t seeking me out, even if I offer a product that they need. I had to get in front of them and make them understand why they needed me.
So how do you do that without being overly self promotional? Well, you could always let Google answer that for you. You could read case studies. Or you could simply buy ads, because that’s safe. But in the end, on the social web, you’re going to have to talk about yourself in some capacity.
And when you do…
This is the internets, after all, and one thing we’ve all come to love about the internets is that everybody is afforded an opinion. Everybody has an opportunity to provide a glowing review or a scathing criticism. We tend to like the people who like us and dislike the people who dislike us, by default. And therein lies a tragedy because we learn more from our differences than from our similarities with one another.
If more of us were able to effectively listen to other people’s points of view, even when it’s upsetting, the internets would be a better place.
Hithertofore, listening without emotion is the key to self promotion…