7 Ways Self Promotion Hurts Yourself on Social Media

Woman sitting alone and looking at the water


Many website owners and marketers still make that stupid mistake!

They assume that self promotion is the best way to gain links and exposure on social media.

You just dump your content on a social site and “done”.

Most social media experts will disagree though. Here is why!

There are at least 7 ways self promotion hurts you on social media!

It backfires even if there is some superficial exposure gained.

Attracting links from social media works differently anyway.

See below!

1. When you share your content yourself nobody else can discover it

I often encountered this mistake where users with no authority at all share their posts to niche communities.

Even on large social networking services you actually tell the algorithm that your content sucks!

Why? Content recommended by an influential account first and foremost is of course preferable.

Every algorithm can take such a basic metric of authority into account. Now here comes

  • a nobody
  • possibly a bot
  • someone with no audience

and pushes the same obscure content over and over.

When that happens first it is futile self-promotion with zero ensuing engagement.

Such accounts literally waste the content due to their low status on social sites.

Instead I could get plenty of engagement. Why? Due to my established user status.

And the best thing is: it would happen with the same content.

Let a popular user discover your content or not at all!

Shut up about it in case you are not popular yet.

2. Legit users don’t like you

When you solely promote yourself you rarely will share the best content.

You will rather indiscriminately push all your content using the motto “it’s mine so it must be great”.

Such ego-driven social media strategy will make other people view you as a selfish person.

And they will be right! It’s a Captain Obvious reaction. What else did you expect?

When you are sharing low quality content just because it’s yours people won’t trust you in the future.

You end up being trusted less than a completely new user.

True, some sites like Instagram are all about ego-driven navel-gazing.

Yet for business there are almost meaningless despite huge reach.

It is a full time job to become an influencer on Instagram and be good at it.

That time and effort will prevent you from taking care of your own business, website and content.

One day Insta may go defunct or simply ban your account. There goes your short-lived fame.

3. Algos and moderators watch you closely

After several self promotional updates in a row your account or domain might get demoted.

Why? Modern social media algorithms can spot low engagement content from afar.

Also most social networks prefer content that does not even link out to third party sites.

They want to keep you on their won service, app or site.

On niche communities as it will be viewed as downright spam.

Why? Due to the excessive self promotion. You will get banned at worst.

Some more disgruntled users will hide, mute, block or even report you for that.

4. You won’t make many friends

The people you share content of tend to like, remember and befriend you.

Why? In modern psychology it’s called the law of reciprocity.

Yet mutual aid is one of the basic tenets of human civilization for millennia.

After a while these people start sharing your content as well organically.

There is no vote exchange needed. The inherent value of the content speaks for itself.

When you share only your own content (or worse promotional material) nobody will notice you and share your posts.

Over time the same people will come back and after some back and forth you may become friends! Woohoo!

It’s a slow process but way better than randomly following people to get some to follow back.

Why? Those accounts are often automated or run by selfish people like you.

Such “friends” won’t relate to you and your content. They won’t engage!

Build genuine friendships. Don’t fake it. Be there for the long haul.

5. You can’t assess what works

Social media power users know what works where, how and why.

They now what people visit a platform and how a piece of content must be presented to become popular.

Yes, every social venue is different – just like in real life – even when the same people attend.

Depending on context and audience the same type of content may succeed or fail.

How do you know which type of content works on a specific platform?

You don’t know. You don’t know unless you become a power user yourself.

It’s a constant game of trial and error and often it’s not even your fault that something gets overlooked.

  • The algorithm may be tweaked to your disadvantage
  • the time of day may be wrong
  • or the competition for the scarce attention has been won by the latest scare.

One thing is certain though. You can’t find out just by promoting your own content. Catch 22.

Especially when solely buying your way into people’s feeds you won’t discover what they truly want.

To assess what content performs on each platform let it be shared there naturally.

6. You gain no authority over time and throughout different social media sites

My contributions on some social sites made me so well known on social media in general that I get recognized at other sites too.

Even without a network of friends people vote for me because they trust me (and read my shares in the first place).

This works the other way as well. You might change your user name but you can’t change your website URL too often.

Some people will recognize you because they know you from elsewhere and vote you either up, down or ignore you depending on your reputation.

7. I’ll ignore you

Many people assume that just because I do SEO and they have a crappy SEO site I have to befriend and like them.

When you display solely selfish behavior by promoting your own crappy sites over and over I will ignore you.

I will even report you as spam in some more serious cases. It works the other way too.

Think twice before bothering me as an “best Seo expert” with 1000 dofollow sites.

When I see a new user who contributes great content from day one I will eagerly check him out an visit his site. There I will pick up some good content and share it myself.

In SEO 2.0 we frown upon self promotion anyway as it reminds us of the dark ages of SEO 1.0 and low quality mass submission to social sites.

SEO 2.0 works without self promotion. It’s also called “social SEO” for a reason!

Are You Into Selfish Media?

It’s not selfish media! It’s social media. Thus you fail when you’re selfish.

You can only succeed being social, whether you want to succeed

  • for a cause
  • out of ambition
  • or for marketing purposes.

Self submission is almost as bad as blog suicide!

It’s also one of the main reasons old school SEOs fail on social media.

* Creative Commons image by Lee Haywood