Why Your Social Media Expectations Are Too Damn High

marketing on social media meme

It always amazes me the expectations that people have about marketing on social media. They believe that just a little bit of effort (and zero dollars spent) will net them incredible results and generate tens of thousands of dollars instantly.

If you’re one of these people and believe any of the following, allow me to recalibrate your expectations.

1. Marketing on Social Media Will Make Me an Overnight Success

First, get the idea of “overnight success” out of your head. There’s no such thing. Every business that seems to pop up out of nowhere actually worked really hard — likely for years — to get to that level of success.

Don’t devalue the hard work that goes into any aspect of growing a business.

Social media is about slow growth and traction. You can’t barge into a party and throw your business cards in the air and expect that everyone there will then become a customer.

It’s the same with social media.

You’ve got to put in effort building a reputation for yourself and connecting with more and more people. That takes time.

2. People Should Care About My Brand (Without Giving Them Reason)

marketing on social media

“Why isn’t anyone retweeting me?” you whine. Well, I ask you: what are you doing to give them a reason to want to retweet you, follow you, or otherwise interact with you on social media?

People are selfish, and they’re also skeptical about brands. They’re not eager to do your marketing for you without it being of interest or value to them.

So your buy-one-get-one-free offer? There’s not a lot of reason to share it… unless doing so could get a shopper an extra $5 off an order.

Likewise, if you share blog posts on social channels, make sure they’re highly relevant, well-written, and of interest to your followers, and then you’ll have no problem getting people to pay attention to what you’re sharing.

3. I Should Have Attracted Thousands of Followers by Now. What Gives?

There’s this impatience about the number of followers a brand has, and it makes me laugh because getting followers actually attracts a lot of work.

Are you putting it in? Are you taking the time to follow people that fit the demographic you’re looking for, sharing and liking their content, and responding to their comments online? If not, why would people flock to your profiles?

Again, it starts with value. The more aligned you are in what you share on social media with what your audience wants, the more followers you will attract.

But know that you’ll need to follow people yourself to get on their radars, and you’ll need to continually engage them to stay in their faces. Make sure, too, that you regularly update your social media content so that they see the value in following you.

Look, marketing on social media isn’t a foolproof way to get rich. But it is one more channel you can use to connect with your audience and provide value to them in the form of content, news, advice, and promotions.

What have you learned in marketing on social media that you can share?

About the Author

Susan Guillory

Susan is the president of Egg Marketing & Communications, a content marketing and social media firm. She’s written three business books, and blogs about small business on sites including Forbes, AllBusiness, The Marketing Eggspert Blog, and Tweak Your Biz. Follow her on Twitter @eggmarketing.


  1. says

    Hi Susan, great piece. SO many people do not realize it takes a lot of time and effort. And adding some advertising dollars to your social media can certainly help. But many think of social media as “Free”. It certainly is not when it comes to Facebook.
    All social media if you are trying to generate revenue must have a marketing budget.
    It’s been free for so long now that it’s taken for granted.

  2. says

    Hi Susan! Love your article! I work with local businesses on their social media presence and a lot of times they really do think that once they start using this “social media voodoo magic” that they’re all the sudden going to have a massive influx of business! Don’t get me wrong, with the right systems in place, one can certaily make a relatively large impact in a small amount of time, but as you mentioned in the article, it’s more about gaining momentum and getting traction that builds on itself as a result of repeatedly showing up and engaging with the audience and posting quality content.

    Awesome article Susan, I look forward to reading more 🙂

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