On a humid Thursday night in June, I sucked my gut in and shuffled down a narrow aisle of sitting entrepreneurs. I was making my way to the single free chair among the crowd.
Within minutes of settling into the hard, white, plastic seat, the keynote speaker began to address the room.
I barely remember what he said now, but the one thing that did stick with me was the very last line in his speech.
“Courage is not comfortable,” he said. “Remember that.”
It doesn’t matter what you sell—bedazzled cups, baked goods, coaching, or other services, I bet you’ve received the message from somewhere that in order to grow your business, social media marketing is key.
While it sounds cliché, that message isn’t wrong.
Here is interesting data from a 2022 Hootsuite study on the global state of digital trends.
• In 2022, there were over 4.6 billion active social media users across the globe, up 10% from the year before.
• 45% of global internet users turn to social media when researching products or services.
• Almost 60% of global internet users buy something online every single week.
Social media is a virtual mall packed with people.
The beauty for business owners is that you no longer need to spend money renting physical space anywhere to get in front of potential buyers – it’s a low to no-cost channel for exposure.
All you need to do is post.
The only caveat to that is—you need to get over your fear of putting yourself out there to make this work.
I have to admit that I am someone who gets anxious over posting on social media. I’ve experienced negative comments before, and it’s crushed me. While criticism and trolls are my concerns, some people worry about invasion of privacy, and the entitlement followers can impose on you.
Our fears about posting are all valid. But the truth of the matter is this, on the other side of fear is the potential to expand our businesses exponentially.
So how can we get over our fear of posting?
I asked this question to several experts on fear and social media – a Confidence Coach, a Mental Health Therapist, and an experienced Marketer.
Below are the best practical tips that were shared.
It’s okay to feel scared- state your fear out loud
As a Certified Confidence Coach, Executive Public Speaking Coach, and the secret weapon behind many high-profile professionals, Karen Donaldson had a lot to share on getting over the fear of posting.
“First, know that it’s OK to feel scared,” she says. In Karen’s experience, fear typically stems from past negative experiences or a perceived forthcoming negative experience but is often really just thought of as false evidence appearing real.
“Most of the time our emotions [ie. fear] is driven by what-ifs and fictitious negative outcomes,” she says.
To stop fear from driving your decision to not post, Karen suggests speaking your fear out loud.
Hearing yourself state your fear out loud helps to define it as a thought instead of a fact.
Following this, Karen says to also try leaning into facts. For example, try saying out loud “I’m about to do a video and I know what I’m talking about” (fact); instead of saying “I’m scared that I may look and sound stupid” (emotions/fear).
Another mindset trick she shares is to try playing a game of ‘What is the worst thing that can happen?’
“In this situation, the worst thing that would happen is 1. You don’t like how you sound and look 2. You decide not to share it or 3. You ask if it can be deleted or re-done. That’s it. You can handle that consequence. You don’t lose your livelihood, your job, or a loved one,” Karen says.
Finally, Karen advises to prepare, prepare, prepare.
“A lot of nerves can be squelched by preparation. Review your notes and practice. After you do it the first time, it will never be your first time again. You will soon start to develop a level of comfort with posting. Action is the only true killer of fear.”
Imagine that you’re talking to people who are kind and deeply interested
Mental Health Therapist, Salina Mecham points out that some anxiety around posting can come from a business owner’s belief that they need to please everyone.
“Pleasing everyone is an impossible task,” she says. “Just because your post can reach anyone with a phone, your content does not have to be for anyone with a phone.”
To get over this fear, Salina recommends imagining that you’re just sharing your post with people who are kind and deeply interested in what your business is or what it does.
“If you do this, naturally, those who possess those qualities will be drawn to your content. Some people might be rude, but the vast majority of everyone else [who is not interested] will move on, and that’s okay! Assume you’re only speaking to the people who care about your service or product.”
Create clear social media boundaries
Isabel (Isa) Gautschi, a marketer and agency owner shared the importance of creating social media boundaries for yourself before you get started if trolls and negative comments are one of your fears.
“It’s important to remember that you can’t control other people,” she says. “What you can do is get really clear on your own social media boundaries. How do you want to handle criticism or pushback? Do you want to have dialogue or delete & block? You get to choose! These are guests coming into *your* Internet
house [shop]. You make the rules.”
Karen Donaldson adds that you may also want to set boundaries around what type of content you choose to share.
“Decide in advance if you are going to just share information about your business or if you’re going to do that AND [share about] your family or personal life.”
She advises you to only share what you want to.
For those people who are worried about being in front of the camera, that is a boundary and choice you get to make too – there are plenty of social media accounts out there that post content without a person ever being in front of the camera.
Google: Videos You Can Make Without Being on Camera for inspiration.
If growing your business is an important goal to you, be relentless in the pursuit of it. You don’t have to start big. Start small. Set a goal to post once a week just to get comfortable with the practice. Use the tips above to push past your fear.
We are rooting for you.
And when your heart starts to race as you push ‘post’ on each new piece of content remember – courage feels uncomfortable.