We often set unrealistic expectations when measuring success of social media marketing. That little (or big) number smack bang at the top of your Instagram page can be hard to ignore, especially for those trying to kick start their digital journey. What’s worse, you begin comparing to similar pages, who’s influencer filled profile and 500k followers looks very attractive.

Hitting that 6-digit follower figure before the end of the year should be pretty straight forward right?….Not quite. Ambition is hugely important, but when you set blown out, unrealistic goals and don’t quite hit the mark, it will just make you feel like you have failed. Let me tell you that you definitely haven’t!

Navigating the forever changing digital environment is confusing enough, so I am here to talk real with you today and set some things straight. By ditching these unrealistic expectations you’ll be able to put a tick next to more goals and develop a strong and sustainable online community. This will make your social media marketing journey way more enjoyable.

Expectation: “I have an amazing product; catchy content and I post regularly. I don’t need to do anything else and my followers will grow!

Social media platforms are literally platforms made for socialising, so don’t forget to engage with your community! If you’re looking to grow your presence, being social is so important. Not only it helps with your algorithm, but it humanises your brand too, so you won’t look like a robot just posting pretty pics each day. By really taking the time to engage with your followers, you’ll form new relationships both biz related and personal and you’ll chat to people globally! You’ll gain online confidence and your community will gain confidence in you.

Don’t be afraid to double-tap those pics, comment on stories, reply to the dm’s and respond to comments.

Expectation: “They have a huge number of followers, so they must be successful”

I’m not going to sit here and say numbers aren’t important, because they are. Especially to social media marketers. From number of followers, to like count and engagement, we heavily base success of campaigns on these vanity metrics.

There’s no doubt that followers are important, but there’s an age-old phrase… ‘quality over quantity’. You may be sitting at 100k followers, but if they aren’t interested in your product, then they are no good for your business. You need an audience who genuinely cares about your product or service. Building this online community takes a lot of time, well-thought out content and lots of communication. It’s also important to be yourself, as people can gauge if someone is or isn’t being genuine.

Expectation: I have a new business and I need to join every single social network immediately. As long as I am reaching as many people as possible, it won’t hurt right?

This is a very simple mistake that people tend to oversee. Just because there are loads of platforms that are free to use, it doesn’t mean you should open an account on every channel.

You need to think strategically about where your desired audiences are active and choose your channels accordingly. For example, if you’re selling a tanning moisturiser, there’s no point opening up a LinkedIn account. Unless of course Mr Hiring Manager from Companies Incorporated is needing a little summer glow before his Thursday webinar.

Having an open account with your logo on it that has one single post from 2015 is going to look a little untidy. By all means, give those channels a go but if it’s not working, move on. Focus your time on the areas that are going to grow your business.

Expectation: “I will reach 500k followers by the end of the month if my content is creative and sharable”

Sound familiar? I’m sure you have heard your fair share of unrealistic expectations from clients. I have received plenty over the years. The idea of ‘going viral’ or dramatically growing follower numbers in a short period of time is often thought to be an easy task.Something I always say to clients to give them perspective is, “Well if it is so easily done, why isn’t everyone’s content going viral or why doesn’t everyone have 100K engaged followers?” The answer is: IT’S NOT. As simple as it is, good things take time!

Viral posts are a right time, right place, right pic kind of fluke. You can’t plan these sorts of things. What you can plan is a well thought out social media strategy that includes setting SMART goals, creating relevant, eye capturing content and a lot of hard work.

So hopefully by setting these few things straight, your social media marketing journey will be a little easier!

Thanks for reading lovely’s.

x Teneal