Fake it til you make it – The Vanity of Social Media

The phrase used in the headline is something you not only hear, but see too often in business. Hell, even life. Personally, I like to conduct myself in transparency and honesty. It is pretty ironic for me to say that given my line of work.

I run a digital marketing company known as Do It All Marketing. We help people grow their business and brand through social media advertising. The reason I see that as ironic is because social media is the cesspool for “fake it til you make it.”

In a world of influencers and social media wannabes, I see it far too often and I can smell the bullshit from a mile away. I see people talk about how their business is booming when it isn’t. I see people who get caught up in the dopamine of likes on FB so they go as far as to buy them for their business to seem more important.

It doesn’t have to be that way either. If people want to judge you because you posted something that five people gave a thumbs up to, who cares? I know people who have a business that isn’t a sexy product to consumers, but they’re prosperous financially. They don’t need 125 likes on a Facebook post to validate that. I also know people who fit the latter. They have a business that is mildly successful, but take a peak on Facebook and you’d think they were millionaires.

As someone who works in the scope of social media marketing, it’s not easy to do. Some businesses and blogs are easier to sell than others.

People are so infatuated with titles and cliches, yet those same people don’t practice what they preach.

Based on some of the posts, some people make it seem like they’re Jeff Bezos (not really, but you get the point). Our society measures people by financial wealth and other superficial categories that shouldn’t matter. I shared a post to my FB and Instagram page for the business a few months back that said I was raised to treat the CEO and Janitor with the same respect. I believe that ten fold. Not only do I believe it, I do it.

I saw another post recently from someone who works in food service. The post talked about respect toward servers. I believe you can tell a lot about someone by how they treat a server or retail employee.

Again, people love titles.

If someone asks what I do, I normally say I run a social media marketing agency. It’s open for interpretation. That could mean manage or own. I also have Digital Marketing Strategist as my job title on social platforms.

Because I don’t pry myself off as the owner to those I meet sometimes for my business, I can feel them looking down their nose.

It is unfortunate. Again, it all comes with the territory of feeling high and mighty with fake it til you make it type of people.

No matter how little or how much money I make, I do my best to be honest with everyone I meet. Being that my main role over the last 4-5 years, even prior to running Do It All, has been sales, I’ve learned to read people better than I did prior to that.

It’s easy to sniff the bullshit. It’s even easier to push yourself on social for validity. There are some truths to running a business and conversations I have had with other friends who have done it.

There are days where the sky feels like it is going to fall. Do It All is attempting to build to a place of financial comfort.

Unfortunately, covid has took the wind from our sales a few months ago. We almost hit a benchmark that we set out to be at in 12 months of operation under the name. Only to be pushed further behind the 8-ball because some of our clients could not afford to keep us. No fault of their own.

In any business, attrition is always a battle. It is easy to get in your own head when a client may move on. You feel like the sky is about to fall. But then it doesn’t and you think “well shit, that was an overreaction.”

For many business owners I see on FB, you would never guess that based on the posts you see. To be fair, some have established businesses and they probably don’t have those same fears and stresses. For those who have relatively new businesses, I promise you that fear is there.

Those are conversations you rarely have or see among many business owners. Again, vanity.

Some things are better left unsaid in business. I won’t sit here and tell you how much money I make annually, how much our business is bringing in nor what our number is to break even or what our operating cost is.

However, I won’t stoop to the level of putting something out there that is false. That is not me. I am an open book.

Part of my day to day is selling our services to potential clients, it has happened more often than not where I can’t get a straight answer nor can I get an answer at all. You deal with the runaround.

The runaround comes from a number of reasons.

People by nature don’t want to look unsuccessful or like failures to followers. So fear of appearance is one. Another reason I often get the runaround plays off the last point, they can’t afford it.

Then there are people who have a hard time saying no. This is one of my biggest peeves in business. Just be honest. You don’t have to give me details, but don’t blow sunshine up only to ghost.

I am currently dealing with a situation like that at the moment. Instead of straightforwardness, it becomes guessing games.

Business doesn’t have to be that way. Unfortunately for many of the ones who ghost, if it were the other way around and they were wanting money from me, I would have them on the phone in two minutes.

I don’t expect people or potential clients to bend over backwards and go out of their way for me. I do my best to respect others so I do appreciate when it is reciprocated.

Because I sell marketing, it is not a clear cut and dry product as if I was selling retail items. I understand that it can be a very confusing investment.

I also don’t take the approach of making it more confusing for business owners. I tell them what we can do and I let them know it is an investment and if they expect us to push a magic button and money will come to let me know when they find that. It doesn’t exist. If it did, everyone would jump on that.

Social Media Marketing is an ever evolving industry that we have to stay on top of. That is part of the reason people hire us. We have to worry about how winds of change every time Facebook is sued. Again, transparency is everything, especially in this field. I don’t want to mislead so I don’t expect people to mislead me in return.

I have been doing this since November of 2018. I was doing social media for another company before launching my own after some unforeseen circumstances. I have learned there is plenty of misleading in business and it sucks. Just be honest. People have committed and then began ducking once it came time to pay. People went in with unrealistic expectations despite us explaining what to expect and as a result, we lost clients. It is part of the nature and game.

In this particular case that led me to writing this, I see people rant about supporting local businesses, but you can never reach them, especially in times like these. Again, this isn’t me being entitled. It is me wanting honesty in business, especially from those that you know personally.

I can accept no for an answer. I can accept honestly always. I have met with potential clients who either couldn’t afford it or saw value in spending elsewhere and I can always accept that.

I had one client say they were going to spend their money in better ways based on what we charge. This particular client felt the money they spent with us each month could be better served taking potential partners out to nice dinners a few times per month.

What they were saying made sense and I appreciated that. Fortunately, we found a solution to help them solve the issue they brought to us. We just shifted gears for them and were able to adapt. Without transparency and honesty, that doesn’t happen.

Our longest tenured client was supposed to sign on at a particular time and couldn’t due to an unforeseen circumstance. No harm, no foul. That business has been a client and a damn good one ever since. Again, transparency and honesty.

As for transparency…

If the marketing company fails tomorrow, it is what it is. It doesn’t mean I am a failure. It doesn’t mean I am worthless. Not everything works out. If it did, stress wouldn’t be an issue for anyone.

I won’t put the dollar amount on my annual income, but it’s enough to be comfortable financially and pay my bills. However, I wish I could live where I didn’t have to budget every dollar. I still drive my 2009 Corolla because I would rather not have a car note for now and put myself in more of a bind for money. I wish all weeks were smooth, but they’re not. I wish my business was making more than it is so myself and my partners earned more. But I also understand it is a process.

I love writing blogs and creating videos, but I have only made a grand total of $10.78 for it and average about 1,700 views each month. Until someone decides to sponsor Hotard Huddle, it won’t give me any added financial security anytime soon. But I love writing and podcasting so I do it for that reason alone right now. I am an open book. I just wish more people were much of the same.

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