The plethora of social media outlets sure makes it easy to toot your horn these days. And most of us have done it--including me.

You’ve seen the tweets and posts. “Just got off a quick call with Richard Branson; he said he loved my book” or “Feeling humbled to be included on this list of the top 1,000 accounting bloggers.”

The thing is, even though there will always be people that are impressed by your self-promotional messages, an even greater number of people will be turned off by them. At the same time, social media is the perfect venue to get the word out to your customers and contacts. So, what’s a person to do?
One of the most effective ways to promote yourself is to promote others.
I’ve used this tactic consistently and authentically for years. Let me talk about the word “authentically.” In no way am I suggesting this as a corny, slimy way to gain exposure. This is an intentional practice, done in the spirit of sharing and referring, and just happens to pay dividends.

The idea behind reverse self-promotion is that you point out the success of others, give public testament to a great product or service, or share the promotional efforts of members of your networks as much as you share your own successes and offers. Not sure how to start? It’s easy.

• Write a blog post reviewing a great product and then @ mention the tool provider in your tweet. They’ll retweet and expand the audience your post reaches.

• Pick up on the promotional efforts of members of your network and share them.

• Thank people whose content you dig or whose webinar you attended.

• Write an unsolicited testimonial and send it to a company that makes a tool you love. Here’s an example.

• Create content, such as an eBook, offer it to a blogger or site you love, and let them co-brand it (or vice versa). Here’s an example.

There are so many reasons that promoting others makes sense.
• It’s a good thing to do.
• It makes you feel good.
• It activates the law of reciprocity.
• It creates influence and authority.
• It reins in blatant self-promotion.
• It makes sharing easier.

While I am advocating this approach as a standard marketing tactic, it can’t be overstated that if your efforts along these lines are insincere and only driven by the hope that you’ll get something, you will not only be ineffective, but you may actually damage your outreach efforts.

Look for ways to promote others as a full 50 percent of your social network activity, and you will find your own exposure and opportunities growing at a rate unmatched by any other practice.