There’s nothing wrong with highlighting honors and accolades. Here’s how to do it while avoiding the dreaded humblebrag and the inevitable eyerolls that come with it.

IT’S NOT ALWAYS easy to be publicly proud of our accomplishments, especially when we’re lauded for things that come easily or naturally. Social media has made striking that balance even more complicated. On the one hand, not sharing your hard-earned accolades is an enormous missed opportunity (and you get only one chance, since you need to do it while the news is timely). On the other hand, sharing it poorly can damage your brand, credibility and reputation.

Given that this is Incisal Edge’s annual 40 Under 40 issue, which celebrates the top young dentists in America, it seems like the perfect time to talk about successfully sharing big wins with your online followers by adopting the right tone. I was a 40 Under 40 honoree back in 2014, three years before Merriam-Webster officially added humblebrag to its dictionary. Many social media posts later, I’ve developed some foolproof strategies for avoiding the cringe factor that often accompanies false modesty.

Lead with authenticity. If you’ve been consistently authentic in both your brand and communications, there’s no reason to downplay your success. Humblebragging, by contrast, evinces an inherent lack of sincerity, and there’s no faster way to make others dislike you than by being insincere.

Keep it simple. Speak authentically—there’s that word again—about what the award or honor means to you. Don’t use big, grandiose language.
Instead, be straightforward and modest, and talk plainly, the way you’d talk to a human being standing in front of you.

Let the news speak for itself. If the organization honoring you shares the news on a social platform or a blog, or a media outlet publishes an article about you, your job just got a lot easier. All you need to do in this instance is share the article or post along with a few words expressing gratitude and appreciation for the recognition. Let the original article or post do the work for you.

Choose the right content. Prioritize videos over still photographs and graphics, if possible. Video of you actually accepting an honor can be compelling and moving. If that’s not possible, a brief clip of you speaking directly to the camera and expressing gratitude after the fact adds a nice personal touch, as long as you remember to keep it simple, as noted above.

Think strategically. Awards and honors don’t come along every day. You want to make the most of them when they do. Don’t simply post to get it over with. Think about the days and times when your followers seem most active, and time your post accordingly.

Tag the organization honoring you, as well as any other honorees, both as a means of recognizing them and so they can repost the message.

Be careful what you share. With websites and social media ravenous for content, you may be surprised to find that your honor is shared across multiple social accounts and media outlets. Make sure you know who they are before sharing. Dodgy websites spreading malware, for example, steal and repost all kinds of stories from legitimate websites in the hope of snagging unwitting victims.The same is true of social accounts that may also share offensive mater­ial. A good rule of thumb: If you haven’t heard of it, don’t share from it.

If you’re still grappling with the notion that sharing your success is bragging, remember that your audience follows you because they like you. They’re pulling for you, and they want you to succeed. It may even add to their confidence in having chosen you as a health-care provider. So don’t hesitate to let your followers know about your clinical skills, the ways you give back to the community or anything else you get
recognized for. Keep it simple and be sincere, and you can’t go wrong.

DR. JASON AUERBACH founded Riverside Oral Surgery in New Jersey in 2007. Follow him on Instagram @BloodyToothGuy; his practice is @RiversideOralSurgery.