Growing a platform and follower numbers has been (and still is) a big focus for many people. People come to me with their spreadsheets (and expectations) tracking how many followers they gain and lose on a weekly basis, measuring their success (and their worth) based on that. This includes comparing themselves to other people’s follower numbers and feeling that they are not succeeding because they feel they *should* have X thousands because Doris over there does.
Firstly, we don’t know how anyone else achieved their follower numbers. Follow bots, click farms, big advertising budgets, influencer friends and so many factors can help create big follower numbers. One thing I would love to see change in this new age of social media is people shifting valuing their worth based on follower or viewer numbers to the value they are providing for people.
This is the world that we still live in though, from event promoters to publishers, follower numbers still mean something, and can be make or break in getting a gig or a contract. It makes me sad when someone comes to me who is very talented at what they do, but not very talented at social media, and feel they are unable to take things to the next level of success – unless they make social media work for them.
Even well-respected authors with big platforms don’t always get the kind of numbers that are expected of them. I was watching an Instagram Live with Danielle la Porte recently where only sixty-five people were watching live, and I was surprised, and realised I was making a judgment based on the number of viewers she had. Now, I doubt Danielle La Porte is going to let something like that stop her from showing up consistently, but you just don’t know.
Measuring our success on social media in this way has become second nature to most of us and it can be very interesting and useful at times. Insights (which we get for free on Facebook Pages and Instagram Business accounts) are a great tool to help you see what kind of impact your content is having and with whom.
I am not saying don’t measure or watch for trends around engagement with your content – but start to look at ways you can measure your results in a way that doesn’t affect yourself worth and doesn’t stop you from trying new things if something isn’t working.
Look also to if someone left you a comment to tell you how much that helped them… If someone reached out to you personally and shared a similar story or insight?
The measuring of numbers can (due to expectations and that social media ego of ours) get in the way of creating consistency. When we measure our success based on likes and shares, and we aren’t getting a lot of those, we can get despondent and feel like we are failing, which can stop us from creating and from sharing. We get tired of not getting the results we expected, so we give up and stop.
You never know who you are helping, what connections you are creating, what magic you are manifesting – irrespective of the likes, shares and comments!
I find that when I share something, particularly something a little vulnerable, that I find myself checking, checking again, almost as an impulse – particularly in the first ten minutes after posting – to see how many likes, comments, views it has. And I find myself questioning the value of the sharing when it doesn’t set the internet alight!
However, I have personally gotten much better with this by bringing awareness to it. Simply taking a breath and noticing my pattern of behaviour and choosing to back away from the mobile phone and allowing the share to do its magic in the ethers.
It is in the sharing consistently and learning to adapt (iterate) based on the responses (or lack of) that we grow. So rather than needing it to be perfect, use your social media platforms as a play-mat to practice getting in touch with who you are, what you do and with your message.