5 powerful mindset shifts for entrepreneurs who overthink social media

Jodie Cook examines how social media can become a blocker for so many entrepreneurs and offers up some tried-and-tested tips to take the pain out of posting.

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Being an entrepreneur is a different role to what it used to be. Before, there were fewer things to navigate. Deals were done, relationships were made, money changed hands. Now, there’s more expected of you. It’s not enough to run your company, you have to share about how you’re doing it. You have to inspire and teach others.

Maybe that’s something you don’t feel comfortable doing. Maybe you shy away from the limelight. But the limelight holds gains. The more people who feel like they know, like and trust you, the more you amass an audience and make sales while you aren’t even in the room.

The main thing that stops entrepreneurs showing up online is fear. Fear of ridicule, fear of failure, fear of what people might think. They’re terrified to say the wrong thing and get laughed at, trolled or cancelled.

If you’re overthinking showing up online, here are five mindset shifts to get over yourself and step into a brand new role that you love to own.

1. Follow the “thank you” rule

Whenever you write a social media post for sending, apply this rule: could someone feasibly thank you for that post? Would they appreciate you sharing, because it inspired them, made them think differently or motivated them into action? Would they be able to feel genuinely grateful that they followed you? Look down your feed, run each post through that reframe and notice how much of what you’ve already sent fits the pattern.

If something doesn’t follow the rule, just don’t post it. Rewrite past posts in a more value-adding way. You’ll avoid overthinking because you’ll know that everything you’re sharing will help someone else. You’ll remember it’s less about you and more about them. You’ll stop feeling like you need to find things to brag about, and just look to help.

2. Remove the emotion

Entrepreneurs are often very good at seeing things objectively, except their own social media presence. When they’re looking at their accounts or purchasing stock, they can see the numbers for what they are, but when it’s engagement, impressions or number of followers, suddenly it’s emotional. Unlike your Google Analytics or bank balance, your Twitter feed is public, and you might be fooled into thinking that other people care.

It’s easy to receive no retweets and see it as a measure of self-worth or lose a follower and question your existence. It’s easy to get your ego wrapped up in metrics and think you’re only as good as your last LinkedIn post. But it’s not true. Separate from the emotion, get some distance, and study what you’re doing as if it was someone else.

3. Focus on progress, not lack of progress

Every social media account starts with zero followers and then grows from there. Sometimes the growth is exponential and sometimes it trickles slowly, and you don’t notice the progress until months later. Believing that you should be further ahead by now is not helpful, all you can do is the best you can with what you have. Creators who stick with it see results because results compound over time.

Focus on the progress you’re making not the progress you’re lacking. Do this by tracking everything. Track inputs: what you produce, what you learn, and your output in terms of threads, carousels and posts. Track outputs: your engagement, impressions and follower numbers over time. If inputs are improving but outputs aren’t, get a second opinion and change up your pattern.

4. Find the game in the challenge

If you’ve lost your mojo for building your brand online, chances are you’ve forgotten it’s a game. Just as winning clients, getting reviews and enjoying life at the same time is all a choice, showing up online is something you get to do, not have to do. You can stop at any time, but you might as well play. Play on your terms by aligning your actions with what really drives you and gamify what you do online.

Some people like to have an enemy, an account whose results they try to beat. Some simply compete with themselves. Others search for the 80/20, or nerd out on the algorithm. Whatever lights you up and inspires you to keep going is the route you should try. While you’re following the thank you rule and separating your self-worth from your social media metrics, don’t forget to have some fun.

5. Create your own path

Scroll, compare, repeat. Subconsciously, that’s what we’re doing every time we log on. Are they more successful than me? Are they making more money? Are they smarter, better looking, and attracting more opportunities? Even if you’re the most self-confident person in the world, being shown reams of perfectly crafted posts and gorgeous selfies can make you question everything. You might decide it’s not worth the hassle. You might log out and quit.

But the truth is very different from first glance. Everyone is actually in the same boat: playing the game, trying new things, experimenting on different platforms to grow their business. Very few have a tried-and-tested strategy. And what’s more important is that it doesn’t matter. What other people are doing does not concern you. See collaboration, not competition. Your path is the one to follow, so put the blinkers on and stick to your game. If you flit between strategies, you’ll confuse everyone, most of all yourself.

Final thoughts

Make every post add value to the people you want to reach, remove the emotion from the metrics and focus on making progress and playing the game. Approach it with a beginner’s mind and find a way to make showing up online feel less like a painful chore. Study what others are doing to be inspired and get ideas, not to compare yourself unfavourably. Stop overthinking your online presence and just get on with your success.

Want to read more about social media for SMEs?

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Jodie Cook - business journalist

Jodie Cook started her first business at 22, straight after completing a business management degree and one-year graduate scheme. As she built her social media agency over a ten year period, she started writing for Forbes on the topic of entrepreneurs. In 2021 Jodie sold the agency for seven figures. Since selling, Jodie has written a book, “Ten Year Career”, created courses for entrepreneurs, and mentored start up business owners on accelerator programs. In 2023 she founded Coachvox AI – a platform for creating AI coaches, where you can train an AI version of you to coach, mentor and answer questions just like you would.

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