Self promotion is our teammate, not our enemy! Let us explain...
Just the term itself is intimidating: “self promotion.” Right?! As interior designers, most of us are a bit shy when it comes to bragging about or selling ourselves. Moreover, as humble humans, the battle to balance our modesty with confidence is ongoing.
So, how do we do it? How do we sell ourselves without being annoying or overbearing?
Simply put, authenticity outweighs titles or fluff.
We’ve found that always showing up, listening well, and engaging with our own industry knowledge is the best way to make a sustainable impression with prospects.
Let’s break those ideas down into five, useful points to remember, shall we?
Get social on social media
Just because the communication is digital doesn’t make it any less human or impactful. Social media’s rise has come from a societal need to connect. So, do that! Look at utilizing social media like you would a networking event. If you come to the event (or social platform) but you never introduce yourself to anyone, you’re probably just sitting in the corner. The first few steps on social are the longest strides. Take them! And when you do, remember these three pro-tips:
Don’t compare yourself to other brands or try to imitate them. Again, stay authentic to your voice and what you do best!
Instead of comparing, draw inspiration from brands you admire. Take the inspo and repurpose it to fit what you do!
Strategize before you dive in! Outline your brand voice, what you’ll post, and how often you’ll post. Consistency is crucial on social media, so stay relevant!
Make it look as good as it actually is
Whether it’s in your Instagram feed, your brand blog, or in your email newsletter, make sure the imagery of your work reflects how beautifully awesome it is in real life! Hire a content creator to help you out or if you’re the do-it-all type, take some photography classes and snag a decent DSLR for a few hundred dollars. This investment’s return is invaluable. After all, a photo speaks a thousand words!
Focus on conversations rather than conversions
This one may or may not be our favorite of them all! It takes so much pressure off of the “am I saying the right thing”-ism that comes with networking. Rather than focusing on selling yourself, guide the conversation in a way that reflects your thought leadership and talent as a designer. And, don’t forget to ask questions of your own, and listen well to the answers! Not only is this a more authentic interaction, but it is a memorable one. A prospect is much more likely to remember someone they connected with on a real level than someone who solely focused on their own self-promoting sales pitch.
Share stories that transcend your audience
If you’ve got time right now, take a pen and paper (or your iPad, whatever works!) and list five stories from your career that are likely to resonate with practically anyone. It can be a specific project, a workplace experience, or even a crazy awesome feature on social media. Once you’ve got that list, read through it a couple of times so that it stays in the back of your mind. That way, when you’re at a networking event or a trade show, you’ll have an arsenal of personal/professional stories that will help you connect to anyone you’ll meet. This is a great way to get the conversation moving!
Become your own PR specialist
Again, with that pen and paper, write down some bloggers, publications, and Instagram feeds you follow that you DREAM of being featured on. The list should get pretty length the more you think about it. Now, everytime you post something that is shareworthy to those outlets, let them know! Tag them, send an email, or a direct message on Instagram. Slowly but surely this will put you, as a designer, on their radar. And like anything else, it takes time! Tagging a publication once and expecting a feature isn’t impossible, but may be a bit unrealistic. Be consistent with your great work, posting, and tagging- and at some point, you’ll get that feature!
So, the next time you’re at a networking event, a trade show, or talking to a prospect, remember to 1. Relax and 2. Be authentically and artfully you!