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Imposter Syndrome and Social Media

Natalie Sherman

In the ever-changing world of social media, it can be difficult to keep up. It seems as though every day a new platform is trending or a new fancy feature has been released. The digital world moves at a million miles per hour and so businesses can be hesitant when it comes to posting and investing in social media. 

In this blog, we’re talking about imposter syndrome and social media by interviewing two leading business experts. Our founder Natalie Sherman who was named the UK’s number one marketing adviser in 2019. And the author of the Amazon bestseller, SMASH IT: The Art of Getting What YOU Want, Alison Edgar MBE.
Alison is a huge advocate for social media. Having credited it as being integral to her business’s growth. She shares her thoughts on what holds most entrepreneurs back and why so many people can be hesitant to open up their business to the social media world. So let’s jump in.
 

 

Despite social media being a worldwide phenomenon. Why do you think a high number of businesses owners are reluctant to put time and effort into building their digital presence? 

Alison: I think it’s the same thing that stops people from doing anything. Self-doubt and a lack of self-confidence, which ultimately stems from Impostor Syndrome. This is something that a lot of us will suffer from at one point or another in life. However, it is something that seems particularly prevalent amongst entrepreneurs, specifically in women.  

Natalie: I agree with Alison. I’ve spoken to many potential clients who are reluctant to invest in social media marketing and a large part of that stems from a fear that they are putting themselves out there for all to see. In addition to this, it’s clear that a lot of business owners fear social media because they lack the skills and understanding to do it themselves. It’s constantly changing so it can be daunting. That’s why I will always encourage entrepreneurs to invest in expert advice and training.  

 

We are hearing the words “impostor syndrome” more and more in the media. Alison, this is something you have spoken about a lot in your content including both your books: Secrets of Successful Sales and SMASH IT. Can you tell us more about impostor syndrome and how it manifests itself? 

Alison: Absolutely. Impostor Syndrome is something I have written around a lot, having experienced it first had myself. It is a term used when individuals struggle to internalise their own accomplishments, feeling like a fake or fraud, often crediting their successes down to luck or timing. They have a persistent fear that someone will expose them. And consistently compare themselves to others thinking that those around them are more intelligent or more skilled than themselves. These thoughts then hold them back from putting themselves out there and smashing their goals.  

Natalie: Like Alison, this is something I have also experienced in the early days of setting up Naturally Social. It was actually attending one of Alison’s seminars that helped me to recognise what Impostor Syndrome was and work through it. Social media is a massive community, you’re putting yourself in front of more people than you could imagine. It’s reasonable that someone would be afraid to do this, especially if you’re already suffering from Impostor Syndrome.  

Alison: Exactly. It’s as Natalie says, we all know that when we go on social media, we are putting ourselves on display to the world. When someone is fearful of being exposed as a fraud, they want to minimise the chances of this happening as much as possible. Therefore, they’re not going to start posting selfies all over Facebook and Instagram because they fear what the reaction of others will be.  

"The digital world moves at a million miles per hour and if you’re a business owner with one hundred billion other things to do it’s easy to let social media fall by the wayside."

 What impact does this have on our lives and more specifically our businesses?  

Natalie: Impostor Syndrome impacts all aspects of life but in terms of business. I think the biggest issue is that it prevents so many entrepreneurs from scaling up. Social media is a goldmine if you use it correctly, everyone is expected to be online and if you’re not your customers will begin to questions ‘why?’.
The first thing we all do when we hear of a new company is check out their socials. If they’re nowhere to be found then we don’t trust them. Having a digital presence is imperative in today’s society. Imposter syndrome and social media can mean you’re not participating and so you’re missing out on what could be a huge area of potential growth for your business. 
 

Alison: Social Media has always been an integral part of my business strategy. I agree with Natalie, impostor thoughts fill your head with self-doubt and make you feel like you’re not good enough. This stops so many promising entrepreneurs from growing their businesses and reaching their full potential.
It’s the same with business as it is in life. Impostor Syndrome holds us back and stops us from going after what we really want. When I first started my business, I thought everyone was better than me and was ready to let my ambitions of becoming a successful business owner dwindle away, until Bing! I had that lightbulb moment, won my first client and realised that the only person doubting me was me.
 

Natalie: My experience was very similar to Alison’s.  I almost gave up on Naturally Social and even started applying for other jobs. I even got offered a job, but luckily for me, they withdrew the offer knowing that I would never fully be able to commit.
This is when I stumbled across Alison’s sales workshop and learned about Impostor Syndrome which changed everything. As Alison said, it’s like having that lightbulb moment where suddenly everything makes sense. 
 

Okay, so now we know what it is but what can we do to overcome it?  

Natalie: Alison is probably more of an expert on this than me but one of the things I did was invest in myself. I realised the parts of being a business owner that really scared me and what I felt I wasn’t good at. So I invested in workshops and courses to boost my skills which in turn built my confidence.  

Alison: There are lots of different things you can do to work through Impostor Syndrome. A lot of which I talk about in my book SMASH IT: The Art of Getting What YOU Want. However, I think the key thing to remember is that it’s a marathon and not a sprint. Those little negative voices won’t disappear overnight, it takes time. As a business owner, one of the things that I always recommend is looking back at the work you’ve done and reading client reviews. More often than not, these will be positive and help squash those thoughts of not being good enough because usually. You’re the only one that thinks that. Not that your opinion of yourself should rely on those around you, but sometimes this is a good place to start.  

Natalie: With imposter syndrome and social media, most people are scared of the judgement they will receive online. But actually, online communities and the business community, in particular, is incredibly helpful and supportive. We often only hear about the trolls and negativity surrounding social media, we don’t hear about how it brings communities of people together and produces positive results.  

You’ve both given some great advice and have been extremely open about your own experience with impostor syndrome. What would your final piece of advice be to business owners who still aren’t taking full advantage of social media?  

Alison: Firstly, I would suggest trying to pinpoint where the fear of social media is coming from and work on why you’re letting this hold you back. Secondly, I would suggest getting help from a social media expert. They will help you navigate the do’s and don’ts and give you that little bit of extra confidence so you don’t feel like you’re going at it alone.  

Natalie: The online world can often feel a little overwhelming to begin with but as I have already said, if you are a business owner there is no way you can avoid it. My advice is very similar to Alison’s. Figure out what scares you the most about social media and go from there. If it’s the fear of judgment from others, work on those impostor thoughts and find ways to overcome them, easier said than done, I know. If it’s a fear of the technology itself, then invest in training with professionals who can help get you started. Trust me, you wouldn’t be the first and you definitely won’t be the last to avoid social media because you don’t know how it works and you’re scared to hit the wrong button.   

For more information on social media support and training speak with Natalie and her team at Naturally Social. For tips and tricks to battle Impostor Syndrome and other expert business advice visit alisonedgar.com.  

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