Sell Yourself, Not Your Service: 20+ Fixes That May Help You

As we approach 2017 the idea of being successful at "social media" means you have to be skilled in advertising, marketing, networking, reputation management, graphic design, photography, lighting, video production, public relations, pop culture, and so much much more.

I've been helping people get their social media prowesses on for a long long time and I don't know if even I come close to meeting all those skill requirements. What I do know is that if you are out there thinking you can go at it alone don't be afraid to ask for a little help. I met someone the other day in a LinkedIn group chat looking for help. His problem was that he knew he needed to avoid becoming spam, and that he was up against millions of others out there selling there services, but didn't know what to do. I had him send me links to his social media accounts. I took a look and I told him

Sell Yourself...Not Your Service

After that I gave him my analysis. I think many of you can benefit from what I told him. If you benefit from it please consider helping someone you know by passing it on.


Your profile summary reads like a description for someone that's an expert in creating video games vs. a graphic designer. Tell people who you are, what you do, what you've done, and how you can help them. Emphasize that you are a graphic designer - the term book graphic designer doesn't appear anywhere in your summary. Include it.   

Post less about money/costs. Try to avoid the hard sell. People that look for services online are looking for a different/specific experience. Throw all the traditional salesman techniques out. Figure out what your audience is looking for. Give them that experience.

I promise you there is no audience that is looking for the “sell sell sell sell” experience.

Titles are important. Avoid using the word "sell." People see/hear that word and they shut down. You thought I was selling you something and you too put on the breaks. It's a natural reaction. When someone asks you for your rates, that's when you sell.   

Post more. Social media is about sharing. When branding yourself as the "book cover designer" you should be sharing information within your industry that's relevant. Proving you know what your talking about online is determined by what you post and share. Think about how you can gain from every share/post. As time goes on this will become more important. Knowing when, what, and which network to share it with will be critical as you become more successful.

Join groups. This will increase your exposure and help increase your following. Post about things relevant to the groups topic. Help others out when you can, like how I helped you in that group discussion. I've gotten three inquiries from that single post not including yours. Like stuff. Activity is always rewarded. Remember every time you like something your picture/link to your profile goes everywhere that post goes. For example: if you like something that is then shared 10 times, you'll reach farther. Remember think of ways "likes" will benefit you

If you can solve someone’s problem publicly you’ll increase quality leads faster than ever.

Always say happy birthday and congratulate people when LinkedIn gives you the opportunity. Doing so is an instant invitation for a conversation. Building relationships over the long run leads to conversions. It also allows you to categorize your connections as people that are active or those that don't respond, as inactive.

Don’t waste time with inactive users. Target the actives for relationships.

Increase your followers. Getting to the 500+ mark is important. People start judging you the moment they land on your profile. You want people to land on it. You want them to connect with you as well. Reach 500+ and those will increase.   


Tweet more. I tell clients 30% tweets, 60% sharing of others stuff. Just like LinkedIn, think about how each action benefits you.  Increase number of Tweets as your following grows. Take it slow and build up your frequency. Monitor this closely. Too many too soon will be a problem. Knowing and following best practices are critical.   

Avoid having your link in every tweet. Fast track to spamsville is doing this.   

Respond to every mention, DM, acknowledge your following and proactively engage them. The quicker the better.   

Don’t ask them questions. Find creative ways to get them to want to ask you a question. It’s okay to be vague sometimes.

Increase your following. Twitter is the best way to get info out to a mass fast. To avoid becoming spam you need as many followers as possible.   

Along with your account create what I call an "industry account." In your case one that will only retweet stuff on book design and info relevant to your industry. Retweet your tweets to this "industry account" and you'll reach more people, a more targeted audience, and also find that you'll get more retweets.   

Industry accounts are how companies insert themselves into the proverbial “conversation.”


Consider capturing emails with a landing page or offer something to join a newsletter. Direct emailing is a good way to increase leads.   

Google, Bing and all the other search engines reward activity. Increasing your website traffic will increase everything else.   

The posts that you create for LinkedIn, post them as blogs on your webpage as well. This helps with the activity and will give more ways to share the same article but to a different audience. This also helps to avoid you from appearing to be spam.  

Just like LinkedIn, titles are important as well as words used in posts. Sprinkle keywords into posts that you think people search for to find book cover designers. As you progress, search engine optimization will need to be implemented more precisely. Keep that in mind.   

In posts on your website always give an opportunity for your readers to click a link that will lead somewhere else on your site. The longer you keep people on your site is important for many analytics. This of course becomes more important down the road. Getting this right from the start is very helpful.  

Consider Google AdSense. Won't turn you a profit until your able to effectively drive traffic to your website. Having this in place early helps later down the line as well.

Take care of the little things now so you can handle the bigger things as they happen.

Make sure to have social media share buttons on each post.  


They have made it difficult to take advantage of algorithms so I'd say really think about ads. I've seen them work wonders. You control the price etc. Again this will be more effective long term.   

Just like the other networks, sharing is key. Share a lot. Like a lot. If you choose not to pay for ads this is the easiest way to get exposure and gain likes for yourself.   

Use other social media accounts to drive people to your FaceBook.

Lacking ads this is another way to get opportunities to gain likes/exposure.   


Get one. It's about telling stories through pictures. Seems like the best place for a guy that creates covers for stories to be.   

Use same advice for the other networks with Instagram.  


Consider a Quora account. It's another way to establish yourself as an authority on a subject. It's a service that lets you answer questions people have posted online. Solving people's problems publicly helps to establish you as an authority.   

As an artist I think it would be beneficial for you to know how to create stickers for the Line app. A lot of people are using that service worldwide. If done correctly it can also be a way to brand yourself and make a little bit of income as well.   

The transformation from the guy who is selling a service vs. selling himself as an authority isn't gonna happen overnight. It's a marathon, but if you follow simple best practices, stay on message, and are not afraid of new processes anyone can be successful.