How hard is it for you to brag about your accomplishments? Do you find yourself cringing when it's time to post on social media about your latest accolade? Do you hesitate?
If you're confused about confidence versus competence, chances are, I have the podcast for you. This week, I spoke to Meredith Fineman, founder of Finepoint, a communications and professional development company that empowers leadership through public relations tactics. Basically, Fineman teaches leaders how to brag better.
We talk a lot on this podcast about how to do just that, and how social media can be both the biggest help and the biggest hindrance to learning how to talk about your career. Take a listen.
An Entrepreneurial Spirit
Fineman was always an entrepreneur pioneering into uncharted territories. In college, she had a side job as a nightclub promoter in Manhattan, which, at the time, was unheard of for women. It was this spirit that led her to move to South America and begin her career at Young & Rubicam.
After moving back to The US, she started a blog called "50 First JDates." It was groundbreaking because it came before online dating and dating apps were the norm, and as such it lead to various book and TV show offers. Wanting to be known for her professional achievements rather than her personal life, Fineman turned them all down.
Working at the time for a digital agency, Fineman was an influential blogger tasked with leading strategic outreach efforts. There, she learned to rely less on her contacts and rolodex and acquire the skill of forming new relationships. In 2011, she left the agency and founded FinePoint.
An Innovative Company
FinePoint is a boutique firm, unique in its kind. Beginning as a social media company, it evolved into digital public relations company, which is how it's functioned for three and a half years.
Fineman's company was the go-to for individual representation, which exposed her to the missing link between a company's online persona and brand voice. She also noticed an ongoing trend at networking events and in meetings with high-level clients: women were uncomfortable promoting themselves. She then decided to take FinePoint in a new direction - empowering established leaders and rising stars with the tools they need to tell their stories.
"What I do is important for confidence and how you carry yourself," Fineman explains. "But it's also extremely important for companies and bottom lines."
The Importance of Self-Promotion
Fineman is fascinated with celebrity entrepreneurs, because funding is higher for those who are charismatic and well-known, understand the press and have a voice.
"I didn't think it was fair," she explains, "that the benefits associated with that be reserved for those to whom it comes naturally."
There is a very fine line between bragging and self-promotion, but she has yet to encounter a woman who didn't feel like they can improve in this area.
"We're in a really entrepreneurial economy," Fineman explains. "Everybody has to be their own best PR person.
"A lot of that is rooted in understanding that it's okay to talk about yourself."
Social Media : A Necessary Evil and Talking About Oneself
Fineman thinks social media can sometimes leads to comparisons and become a negative metric of success. Women shouldn't base their accomplishments on how many followers or likes they have. Social media's a great tool, but it should always be used with caution.
Fineman recommends her clients follow a personal brand triangle - before posting, they should figure out if the content falls into an overarching theme of three things that define them and their voice.
A pet peeve of Fineman's on social media is when people say "shameless plug." When a negative connotation is attached to an accomplishment, it makes others less excited for a person's achievement.
People should be excited and proud of what they've done, and this is exactly what Fineman hopes to achieve by teaching leaders how to brag.
Enjoy, and check back here for more episodes of the All the Social Ladies podcast on Social Media Today.