“You are the brand!” That applies to whatever it is you are trying to sell: books, photographs, business services, fudge, recipes… it doesn’t matter. But trying to sell yourself when you’re an introvert is one of the hardest things to do. If you’re camera-shy, private, or simply don’t like seeing photos/videos of yourself, it’s difficult to engage.
First, let me apologise for being so lax with this blog. It’s still an important part of what I do and I’ve the slow period of the pandemic to really brush up some social media skills. If you follow any of my pages, you’ll see I’m far more active on Twitter. I have three Instagram accounts and three Facebook pages (although they only post the content from Instagram, and a Pinterest.
In the last month, I’ve been getting familiar with video for Instagram. I’ve posted several videos and I’ve gone live twice. The first live was an impromptu “meet the author” video as part of Insta Biz Week, the other time a video podcast with Kaitlyn Pibernick of Yellow Scribe (see below).
Opening myself up has required challenging my own introversion and desire for privacy. It’s something I’ve been working on this year on my personal pages, posting videos from our allotment project, for example. I do have form addressing an audience. As degree students, you’re expected to deliver presentations but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t the most nerve wracking thing I’ve ever done.
So, how do you sell to an audience when you’re an introvert?
First: Stop Trying to “Cure” Introversion
Introversion is not an affliction to be cured: it’s a personality trait. You can’t change it and you shouldn’t even try. You’ll make yourself miserable if you try to be outgoing when you’re not. The whole in-yer-face business type is not the only personality model that will lead to success. Plus, your audience will see right through it. They will see you as uncomfortable and faking it at best, and untrustworthy and deceitful at worst.
Trustworthiness is everything on social media.
Focus on What You Want To Say
The introvert speaks because they have thought about it a lot and now have something to say; we get energy from useful connections and meaningful responses. The extrovert speaks because they get energy from the broadcast and the traffic. The power of communication for introverts is focusing on what you love – audiences will respond to this energy. That passion will come through; people will be drawn to that passion and knowledge, and eventually your confidence in expressing it.
Know Your Audience
This goes for everyone, but it’s perhaps a little easier for introverts to understand. Extroverts tend to want to talk to everyone and reach out to as many people for as many likes and comments as possible. Yet introverts value one insightful and useful comment far more than they appreciate 1000 likes and lots of “love this!” type comments.
Personify your audience if you must – give them a demographic, including age and even a name, job and education level. Personifying the ideal person you want to talk to makes it far easier to engage.
Talk About Your Customers / Services
If you don’t like talking about yourself, then don’t talk about yourself. I posted a video to Instagram this morning talking about the future of the Salmonweird website and asking for feedback from the audience.
The previous IG video was a quick explainer on Roman naming conventions for Phobetor’s Children. My first live was about my books and a Q&A session. I don’t and could never simply sit there and talk about myself.
Besides, nobody should only talk about themselves on social media. That’s a one-way ticket to getting no traffic – there’s no incentive, nothing to look forward to.
Take the Time to Recharge
You more than anyone knows how much energy social interaction takes, even if you’re only talking to your phone. That’s why you need to recharge. Selling yourself or your business online doesn’t mean trying to change that (see previous section). It doesn’t mean changing your whole outlook to put yourself front and centre all of the time. Little and often will do it and don’t forget to withdraw into whatever comfort zone you have – solitary walks, a book, or just quiet time in your room playing video games.
Got any other tips? Add them in the comments!