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Imagine you’re meeting someone for the first time. You shake hands, say, “Hi, I’m so-and-so. Would you like to buy…” and then try to sell them a product. How do you think that would go over? You wouldn’t do that to a person in real life, so why would you do it online? Many business owners in their content marketing and social media marketing efforts make the mistake of self-promoting too soon and too often.

The first goal of content and social media marketing is to build trust with customers and establish your business as a source of authority within your industry. When it comes to self-promotion in these marketing channels, less is more. Doing it too much tells customers you don’t care about trust or being a source of information, you just care about profit. Here’s some advice regarding digital marketing and self promotion.

Focus on usefulness

It’s estimated that 347 blog articles are posted to the internet every minute. There is no shortage of content online. If you want consumers to take the time to read your content, it’s going to have to be interesting and useful to them. If you write a shameless promotion of your own products or services poorly disguised as an informational article, people will see right through it and won’t have time for it. Make it your goal to write useful content, consumers will read it, come to trust your brand enough you will be at top of mind when it comes to making a purchase.

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Try empathy

Put yourself in your customers’ shoes. If you were them, how would you like to be sold to? You wouldn’t like to be constantly spammed with advertisements and feel like everything you read was trying to part you from your money. Instead of focusing on the bottom line of making money, instead think about their interests and needs and how to meet those needs.

Promote sparingly

While you are building trust with your customers there will be opportunities to promote your business. However, this should be done sparingly. The more you do it the less effective those promotions will be. A good rule of thumb is to make sure less than 10% of your content is self-promotional.

Be a source of knowledge

People interested in a certain topic love the chance to sit down with someone who knows a ton about that topic. Chances are that consumers of your content love the topic(s) that your business deals with. A great way to establish yourself as a source of authority in your industry is to become a good source of knowledge. Take time to study developments in your field. The more you know, the better.

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