As an introvert, you’re not a “people person.” You shy away from large groups. Having a party to attend or a conference where you know nobody is not your idea of a good time. You’d rather have a heart-to-heart with one or two old pals than chitchat with a meeting room crammed with strangers.
Therefore you need distinct strategies to plunge in and use social media to market your business. Use the five tips in this lesson to find your feet with blogging, forums, Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and other venues for online interaction.
Tip #1: Translate the word “friend” into something else.
If you’re like most introverts, you take umbrage at the idea of someone who knows little or nothing about you wanting to claim you as a “friend.” You worry too about the possibility that someone who’s publicly connected with you may have disreputable connections – does that taint you as well? (For example, I noticed that a guy following me on Twitter also follows numerous women who are strippers or porn actresses. Ecch! What’s that about?)
One colleague who confessed she was reluctant to jump into social media told me she just translates the word “friend” into “customer” in her mind when it comes up regarding Facebook or other social media sites. Then it all felt better for her. Just as “nail” means both “fingernail” and those things you pound in with a hammer, “friend” can mean “wannabe acquaintance” in the context of social media while in your personal life “friend” means “someone you can count on.”
Tip #2: Maintain a curtain of privacy.
Although others may spill out their every thought, experience, and wish online, you don’t have to. You can be very deliberate about what you share and don’t share about yourself, your past, and your loved ones. One expert, I know blogs daily and candidly about her over-40 dating adventures, but under a pen name, so these revelations stay separate from her business identity.
Instinctively, as an introvert, you’re a lot smarter than the folks who blab about where they are every minute, brag about their bling, and then wonder why their house got broken into while they were on vacation. Or the travelers who went to Hawaii during the pandemic and signed a document at the airport saying they understood they had to quarantine for 14 days, then got arrested and sent home after they posted photos of themselves on Facebook seeing the sights of Honolulu (during their supposed quarantine).
Tip #3: Participate selectively.
Don't feel compelled to leap aboard every social media train – that will just make you exhausted. Learn about the options, ask others like you what's working for them and try one at a time. Stick with those you feel most comfortable with and ignore any “musts” preached by those who are obviously social butterflies.
For example, I’m one of the few marketing authors who isn’t blogging. I’m not on LinkedIn or Facebook, either. I do participate avidly on various online forums and have a Twitter following, but I use that as a mini-version of an ezine. Just as I have little appetite for small talk in real life, I prefer not to spend my time reading other people’s twit-twat or putting out a stream of trivialities myself.
Tip #4: Think planning rather than spontaneity.
When I created a video and put it on YouTube, it wasn’t me spouting off to the camera. It was a highly scripted, orchestrated, edited affair. Likewise, you may appreciate the opportunity to think through your social media contributions and polish them before making them go live. Savor that precious pause before pressing the “submit” button!
Tip #5: Find communities of like-minded folks.
Introverts get much more talkative when exchanging ideas they care passionately about with people who also live and breathe that topic. If you manage to find a group where people feel like kindred spirits, you might enjoy typing away to them hour after hour. A closed-door or password-protected forum or Facebook group where only paying subscribers to hang out and messages aren’t indexed on the search engines probably feel safest for you.
Although social media may seem to be a completely new phenomenon for introverts to cope with, prior to the Internet era it was possible for people to market without face-to-face contact. That’s how the publishing world largely worked, in fact, and I got published in national magazines and by top-ranked publishers before meeting the editors and agents involved in person.
Back then, if you could write a persuasive letter, you could open many business doors for yourself. The payoff of great communication remains true for introverts today.
And speaking of communication, in the next lesson we talk about one form of inspired communication – charisma.