Marketing for Shy People: How Social Media Can Help

I’m Holly, a shy copywriter and marketing consultant, and today I’m here to tell you about why you should use social media. Now I’m not going to talk about all the great advertising benefits that it has, because quite frankly, Laura can do that a hell of a lot better than I can. But I am here to talk to you about how social media can be a godsend for people who are shy and scared of marketing. Like me. And probably, also like you.

The problem is that most people, when you really get down to it, are scared of selling things. Selling things requires you to not only believe that you have something great going on, but that others will agree with you. It’s the second part that scares my clients, and me most days. Many successful business people go through their lives terrified that each new stage of their business will be the one where people find out that they really aren’t all that. If you’re a naturally shy person in the first place, this means that marketing can truly seem like an insurmountable task. After all, the combination of talking about yourself and marketing your products can seem daunting, even to the most outgoing among us.

When I work with clients like this, I tell them to head over to Twitter. This doesn’t always go over well, I’m sorry to say. After all, if marketing scares you, why would you want to spend hours a day talking about people about it? Well, the thing is, that’s not really what Twitter does. Social media doesn’t involve the scary part of being social: the awkward forced conversations, the introducing yourself in front of strangers. It doesn’t involved getting judged based on your clothing, or your young face or squeaky voice. As someone who has a young face and a very squeaky voice, I’m grateful for this every day. When it comes down to it, social media is really about building relationships with people who you’d be friends with anyway. Which is why Twitter is so great: you can build relationships in real time, without all of the real life social pressure that you’d feel at a networking event or a party.

If you’re shy, Twitter is really the perfect marketing tool. There’s something magical that happens when you start using Twitter. You meet some people: usually some great people who you’d like to hang out with anyway if you lived in the same area. And then, they find out what you do. Usually, they also find out that you’re pretty good at it, no matter what you think of yourself. And then, they tell other people. Who then tell more people, who you can also become friends with in an enjoyable and stress free way. And before you know it, you’ve got a network of people who really want to market for you. And you never even had to talk yourself or your business up to anyone.

Twitter in particular gets a bad rap sometimes, mostly because there are so many people who want to abuse it and shout over everyone else. But don’t let that turn you off, please. If you start out by looking to develop friends rather than marketing targets, you won’t find those people anyway. And if you do, it’s easy enough to turn them off by refusing to follow them. All it really takes to build a business on Twitter is a kind heart and a willingness to be open to meeting new people. Two months ago, I didn’t have a business. I now have a business that not only breaks even, but flourishes. I’m incredibly honored to say that I owe most of that to random strangers who I now can’t imagine not having in my life. They retweeted my blogs, they told people that I was awesome, and they told me that even when I thought I was a failure, I’d pick myself back up again. And they were right. As a result, I now tell clients that when they get started, the first thing they should do is grab a Twitter account. If they’re really scared, I offer to introduce them around and orient them myself. It’s that important.

If you don’t know how to market, or the idea of marketing seems like an insurmountable task, go check out Twitter. Make a bio, upload and icon, and say hi to someone. I promise, you’ll be amazed at what can happen.


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Holly Jackson is the owner of Cottage Copy, a copywriting and marketing company that specializes in ittybiz marketing. You can find her on Twitter as @copygeniusgirl


  1. Andy Fogarty says:

    Holly – That was very inspiring. Thanks for sharing.

    I think you’re right about most folks being scared (or shy) about selling – especially anyone new to business. I’m still terribly scared about offering new products that I come up with, but I think that’s part of being genuine. That’s why Twitter is so great for shy marketers – Twitter LOVES genuineness.

  2. Here’s the thing…I’m shy… there I said it.

    Of course read some of my stuff and you’ll think I’m some kind of outlandish, schizophrenic with a fettish for stuff and guns. NOT TRUE!

    I’ve always been inwardly shy, and I avoid meeting new people, going out where I’ve got to meet new scary people. Although, once I get started I realize it isn’t really that bad.

    BUT Twitter, wow, I have made so many new friends and contacts with Twitter. My friends who don’t understand it think I’m some kind of freak…but until you get out there you have no idea what a community it is. I love it. And I love all the new people I’ve met. Although I’m hoping I won’t have to meet any of them face to face anytime soon….

  3. Twitter and shyness is a very interesting thought. I’m not shy, but I’m reclusive in my non-patient care time; solitude is how I recharge. I love twitter because I can ‘interact’ with people from the quiet of my home, which is out in the country. It allows me to interact in small increments of time and without going back into town. I have made some friends on twitter that I would never have met otherwise-it’s lovely.

    In addition, I can socialize on twitter for business without feeling like a salesperson. It’s more like sharing news that I’m excited about.

    cynthia bailey md,

  4. Holly you are so right!

    Opening your self up on the web can be very intimadating but sites like twitter make that step so much easier. When I first got started, I was very intimadated about getting in front of a camera and doing videos on youtube. So twitter made much more sense to start with.

    Now that I have gotten used to socialing on the web, via twitter, I have now taken the steps into more agressive marketing.

    Loved your post!

    -Paul Roberson

  5. Thanks for writing this, Holly. I’ve been thinking a lot about how to use social media when I have an aversion to socializing. For me it’s not just shyness–it’s out-and-out introversion. Interacting with people, even in low-key environments like Twitter, email, and blog comments, is taxing for me.

    Anyway, I’ve just signed up for Laura’s Twitter webinar so I am going to see if I can find a way to make Twitter work for me without stressing myself out!

  6. This really struck a chord with me re: being found out to be not ‘all that.’ I think this particular fear, at least for me, is one of the biggest barriers to success.
    .-= Samantha Flick´s last blog ..Bibliotherapy & Procrastination =-.

    • Andy Fogarty says:


      I used to have the same fear and it held me back for way too long. It’s a normal fear.

      Once I finally decided to only focus on helping others instead of worrying about being the “expert” I thought I needed to be, the road to success started to get paved with lightning speed. It’s amazing how the strongest barriers around us are the ones the we built.

      If you’re providing value to your market – you ARE all that.

  7. This is a good topic – utilizing Twitter to reach out to people is certainly a nice stepping stone to building confidence…and having a support group out there is comforting. Thanks.

  8. This is some great stuff – do you mind if I quote you a little for my uni report on social media?

  9. Hi Holly. Your article was just the kick in the pants I needed to get back in the game. I was marketing heavily on Twitter and doing quite well and then someone told me I needed to overcome my shyness and start going face to face or voice to voice with my potential customers. So I scaled back my tweets and started focusing on contacting people in person or via the phone. I realize the benefits of building courage but I also realize that it takes time. I think it makes more sense for me to market in the way that I’m most comfortable with and make the transition gradually as I overcome my shyness, or fear of rejection, or whatever it is that makes me less inclined to deal with potential customers in person or on the phone.

  10. @Holly
    Great guidelines and encouraging words for the introvert. Being an introvert myself, I can see where different methods need to be employed in order to achieve the same results as the extrovert. But, it is possible to succeed, in spite of the common stereotype given to the introvert. We definitely have our strong points. We just need to know how to recognize them and learn how to use them. Social skills will become more natural if you are persistent at practicing them. Social media could be used as a great outlet to build confidence. I also found some other helpful tips at:

  11. Elizabeth says:

    You’re so right! I think shyness is no impediment. It’s easy to be confident in writing. Also, marketing — and shopping! — online is easier than in person. I like tracking down bargains online.