As the founders of a community of more than 6,000 social media managers, there’s one topic we see come up time and time again – Imposter Syndrome.
It’s a nasty condition that wears you down, makes you question your worth, and stops you from growing your business. And no one is immune.
In this blog, we look at what Imposter Syndrome means, how it might feel to you, and share top tips from successful social media managers who have already made it a thing of the past.
What is Imposter Syndrome?
Imposter Syndrome strikes when you convince yourself that you’ve achieved your success through luck rather than talent.
You might feel like a fraud and worry a ‘real expert’ will call you out. Or it could stop you from promoting yourself online for fear of not being taken seriously.
To combat this, you push yourself to work harder, enroll in endless courses, and believe that once you have that final piece of knowledge you’ll feel ‘ready.’ (Spoiler: You won’t).
Imposter Syndrome is actually incredibly common – especially amongst high achievers – but, of course, that doesn’t make it any easier for you to live with.
So, are you ready for the good news? You can beat it.
What does Imposter Syndrome feel like?
Imposter Syndrome shows up in different ways for different people but there are a lot of common symptoms.
They include; anxiety, low self-esteem, overthinking, lack of confidence, negative self-talk, doubting yourself, indecision, comparisonitis, and worrying about the future.
Examples of Imposter Syndrome. How many apply to you?
☐ You believe other social media managers know more than you
☐ You’re addicted to courses, webinars, and free downloads
☐ You feel like you’re winging it while everyone else is smashing it
☐ You’re happy to pitch for work, then stress you can’t deliver
☐ You feel undervalued and under-appreciated by clients
☐ You undercharge because you don’t think you’re worth more
☐ You’re scared to put yourself out there and rarely post on your own socials
Try this free online Imposter Syndrome test to see how you score.
How social media managers can beat Imposter Syndrome
The first step to overcoming Imposter Syndrome is to acknowledge you have it! Because the problem isn’t actually a lack of talent or knowledge, it’s a lack of self-belief.
Once you accept it, you can start to do something about it.
Here are some of our favourite Imposter Syndrome busting tips and tricks.
#1 Create a success folder
Whenever someone pays you a compliment, commends your work or writes you a brilliant testimonial, put it in a success folder. Add all your wins (no matter how small) and impressive stats. Every time you have a wobble, look at your folder to remind yourself of your achievements and the great things people have said about you. When you stop focussing on the negative stuff and start celebrating the positives, it’s amazing how quickly your mindset will change.
#2 Do more of what you love
For some people, Imposter Syndrome hits when they’re doing things they don’t really enjoy. Think about it, have you ever felt like a fraud when you’ve been completely immersed in something you love (even if you’re not that good at it?). No, we thought not. Pinpoint which aspects of your job cause you the most anxiety and make you feel like an imposter. Can you outsource those tasks or create services that play to your strengths?
#3 Stop doom-scrolling
Look, this concept isn’t new but it’s worth repeating. Unfollow any social media accounts that make you feel bad about yourself – especially other social media managers. We’ve always held the view that you shouldn’t follow other social media managers anyway because they aren’t your potential clients. But, wasting your time comparing yourself to others is pointless. Put that energy into creating cracking content that speaks to your ideal audience.
#4 Activate the 10% rule
Did you know you only need to know 10% more about a topic than someone else for them to consider you an expert? Think about that. 10%. We’re willing to guess your ideal clients’ social media knowledge is nowhere near as up-to-date as yours. So, the next time you worry that the information you’re sharing on your socials is too simple or obvious, think again. Remember you’re posting to attract new clients – not impress other social media managers. As long as you’re in tune with your audience’s level of understanding you’ll be winning.
#5 Be clear on your dream client
Imposter Syndrome often happens when you feel underpaid and undervalued by your clients. It’s a vicious cycle that stops you from charging your worth and finding clients who do appreciate your skills. Getting clear on who you want to work with – and proactively market your services to attract them is the first step.
More tips on beating Imposter Syndrome – from the social media managers who’ve already done it
We asked the members of our Inner Hub membership to share their top tips on beating Imposter Syndrome. This is what they said:
‘Keep up to date with case studies & ask for client feedback. I like to read back what I’ve achieved and read the lovely things clients say.’
‘Remembering that you only need a 10% edge. This always calms me down! But I love the case studies point too – I have a template for this now and make one after each client to send out to prospects and reflect back on.’
‘For me, I had to stop following other SMM’s on social media! I kept comparing myself to them which just ate away at my confidence.’
‘Collaboration over competition. In other words, ask for help and support others. You might think someone knows more than you but they might be lacking areas of knowledge too, so you can support each other.’
‘Embrace it. Use it to drive you; to help your decision-making; to understand that you’re unique and that this is part of it. We strive to be the best when really we should concentrate on not being the worst.’
‘Run your own socials well, if they bring you leads you can run other people's ’
‘Force yourself to feel the fear and do it anyway don’t let it hold you back, the more you do it the easier it gets.’
‘Go back and look over the proposals you've sent. You believed you could do it when you wrote them and nothing* will have changed. (*apart from maybe every Instagram feature depending on when they were sent . But then everyone is in your boat there!)’