Self Promotion is a Social Turn Off

Self Promotion makes me sick! Doesn’t it you?

If you will indulge me just a bit, this post is going to be a combination of ranting against something that irritates me along with thoughts and action steps on how to “not be that person.” Because let’s face it, no one wants to be that person!

Self promotion, it's all about ME.

Social isn’t about self promotion. We’ve all seen them in our social media world and in our own lives;  people that constantly talk about themselves.  I am not talking about people that Tweet what they had for lunch; that’s a different topic altogether. This is more about those individuals that feel the need, for whatever reason, to talk about how everything revolves around them or about what is happening in their own little world. Here is a little secret:  We don’t care!  Do these individuals, note I am not using the term professionals; truly think we want to know about every event in their lives?

For years I’ve heard that people that constantly talk about themselves, either personally or professionally, do so because they suffer from a poor self image. They feel that no one else will promote them, so they promote themselves. Really? Are you in high school?  Once we mature and become adults, I assume that most individuals realize that if they have a network of friends and professional colleagues, they can have other support and promote them. Am I wrong?

I have witnessed this on Twitter and Facebook too much lately. Even to the extent that someone, instead of wishing a mutual friend a Happy Birthday, used the opportunity to proudly announce it was their own birthday month and they were celebrating.  Wow. Talk about making it all about you!

Okay, I feel better. My rant has ended for now; but I want to shift the focus to three steps you can take to ensure you have those around you that will promote you…so you do not have to do it yourself!

3 steps to get others to promote YOU

  1. Build a strong personal and professional in person network. You do this by genuinely caring for other people and THEIR interests more than your own. Spend time promoting, helping, and referring to people you know, like and trust. This will help you build a network that can and will support you.
  2. Build an online community that can support and promote you. How do you do this?  You promote their causes, what they are passionate about; you Retweet their information; offer to share blog posts or events they may have going on; take an interest in their world.
  3. Become involved with a non-profit. If you want to get out of your ‘it’s all about me” world, volunteer.
Believe it or not, the world isn’t wrapped up in every aspect of your life. Get over it. Promote others. Take an interest in someone other than who you see in the mirror every day!
If you would like to read more about what NOT to do, click over to my post; Eleven Things Not To Do On Social Media.
Promote others while sharing good and valuable information, but make it less about you!  What are your thoughts about self promotion?  Share them in the comments below!



  1. John, this is a fantastic article. I would like to print it out and wallpaper it everywhere so that everyone would read it. Fabulous content and so timely. You are a master of promoting others — so inspiring. Thanks for the reminder and I am just clicking over to read the post about 11 things NOT to do…

    • Thank you, Lisa!! I see it happening too often in the social world that we live in, and quite honestly, it is a huge turn off for me. I typically unfollow people that constantly promote themselves. I appreciate your kind words!

  2. Jennifer EInolf says:

    I like your point but think it may go a little too far. I like a smattering of personal comments from those I follow so I know that they are real. It’s all about balance, which is more likely an 80/20 thing. Of course, by posting my opinion, I make it all about me. Oops. Thanks for the thought nudge.

    • I fully agree Jennifer, there must be a balance. We should discuss ourselves and make sure we come across as humans; I have just noticed too much of it lately. Oh, and no, you didn’t make it about yourself 🙂

  3. John, this is a great article, but it only applies to people who are not actually me. And because of that, it’s not actually about them. 😉

    Thank you for this well-written and timely reminder. I’m guilty of thinking this way at times, and am always in need of a reminder that the reason we do all of this is the deep connections with the people with whom we interface online.

    • Ha, great comment Philip 🙂

      The deep connections and personal relationships are the foundations of life and business. I think we all self-promote, as we should, but there are those out there that go way overboard with it. You are not one of those people!

  4. Although blatent self promotion is annoying to some it is a necessary step for everyone. When we attend a business networking event we are promoting. When we post a link to our blog we are promoting. When we comment on another’s blog we are promoting.

    I agree with much of what you recommend. But self promotion is necessary at some stage in the process.

    • You are right Rob, we must do a certain amount of self promotion in our business. However when people or businesses cross that line and go overboard with the promotion, the message is lost due to people tuning out.

      Thank you for your comments!

      • Freelance writers and artists must market their work or they can’t afford to do it. None of them want to. None. They want to make art not commercials. But social media is the only affordable option.

        It’s not narcissism, the art world works that way. You have a job you didn’t train for so you can pay the electric bill so you can market yourself and maybe have some time left over to do what you’re good at. If you’re lucky you find a cash flow and you don’t have to market so much but with that comes an editor or an art director, who doesn’t necessarily have any training, but will make significant changes to what you do. And so there you are again without artistic freedom.

        It’s a complicated situation that I can only sketch loosely here. If you have sympathy for this condition and still hate people who self-promote maybe you could suggest a better solution. Please. No sarcasm from me; I would dearly love a better way.

      • Good afternoon!
        Great article, thank you for sharing your knowledge.

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    • If we do not do self-promotion, who will do it for us? Whoever wants to or needs to be known in the market will not achieve his goal without promoting himself. The important thing is not to overdo it and look like a charlatan.

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  17. Good article. I found it while googling “self promotion” because I’ve never really run across it before, and have now witnessed several instances of people going way overboard with it. I agree with the comments that we all have to promote ourselves somewhat. I think where self promotion gets a bad name is people who take it to the extreme, making it sound like they are the sole reason for their organization’s success, greatly exaggerating their role, and throwing in lots of buzzwords and BS. It is a total turnoff. I will not network with anyone like that.

  18. Self promotion is important to make us acquaintances in our area of expertise. Therefore, it does not make me sick, on the contrary. But of course this work must be well done, otherwise it will have disastrous effects on our image.

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  20. I totally agree with you John, many people only think about their little world, I know many people like this, it is quite intriguing to see that in this century there are still people who think so small.

  21. Madhavi says:

    Well articulated!!

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  23. There are people who like to promote themselves, great article, congratulations !!

  24. I totally agree with you man, this self promotion thing is really a turn off…

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  1. […] n Sh I enjoy working closely with the team at The Social Buzz Lab; true professionals that know their stuff! I recently published this post on their site and wanted to share it here. Do you know people that constantly promote only themselves via their social channels? Does it turn you off as much as it does the rest of us? […]

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