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You Have 1 Million Followers On TikTok - So What?

Let's talk about the "success" metrics that fool you into thinking you've made it.

By Ellen "Jelly" McRaePublished about a year ago 6 min read
Image created on Canva

I'll admit something to you, but only if you promise not to judge, ok?

I look at my follower count way too often than I care to admit. I look at the numbers on TikTok, Pinterest, and even here, studying the ups and downs.

When I see the numbers go up, I can feel that success feeling engulf me. You know the feeling I'm talking about; the professional euphoria that comes from hard work paying off people. 

You're gaining, you're getting more followers, and you're becoming more successful. Right?

Here's the grim reality a lot of us entrepreneurs, creators, and modern business warriors don't want to admit. 

We're fooled by the shiny lights and glossy exterior of fake success metrics. We think we've made it, that we're on the way up because we believe these superficial metrics tell us we are.

In reality, these metrics, stats, whatever you want to call them, don't mean anything.

There's only one metric you can truly rely on, the taboo metric we pretend not to care about.

Screw the compliments

Compliments have this wonderful ability to make you think you're doing well when you're not. They're like the compliments you receive when you were a kid. Well done for taking your first steps, despite falling over. Well done for trying but ultimately failing.

Compliments, in theory, make you think:

  • You're on the right track with an idea, concept, business
  • You have an audience for your product/service/offering
  • You aren't making any mistakes
  • People will buy from you, in whatever capacity you make money
  • You're doing the best of your ability and giving maximum commitment to your business

In reality, those things might not necessarily be true. A compliment:

  • Doesn't mean you're on the right track at all. This complement is one person's opinion, one person's evaluation of how you're doing. Especially if this compliment comes without any deep knowledge of what you're doing, it could be inaccurate.
  • Doesn't mean you have an audience for your offering. A lot of the people complimenting us are often loved ones who aren't our customers. And if they are, they aren't always 100% representative of the bigger market.
  • Doesn't mean you aren't making any mistakes. We know this from any compliment we get. You can be doing one thing well and a thousand things wrong.
  • Doesn't mean people, any people, will buy from you. A compliment doesn't equal money in your pocket.
  • Doesn't mean you're doing the best you could possibly be doing. Sure, you can read it that way. Yet, that's up to interpretation and you know how troublesome those interpretations can be.

The people giving you compliments think they're helping you

Probably the bigger issue with compliments is that the people giving them to you think it's a good thing. 

They're helping you, they're praising you, isn't that what everyone wants?

Isn't a compliment as good as any other form of support? It's hard to argue with, but when you're in business, a compliment is just that; a few words that don't come with any action.

Compliments aren't always truthful; people see you struggling and use compliments to boost your motivation. 

It's not that they're being insincere or trying to fool you. But that can be the result. You read into the compliment too much and sabotage yourself thinking you're doing better than you are.

Likes, Followers, Saves

When dealing with social media, we're taught to measure likes, saves, shares, views, and follower counts.

The more you have of these, the better you're doing. And in classic success trajectory, the more you get of these elements, the more likely you will get more.

The social media programs also deliver their service so that those who gain likes, views, and shares continue to get more. The falsehood perpetuates itself.

Now whilst you might be successful on the chosen social media platform, the more followers and likes you have doesn't mean you're successful in business. 

Here's the reality:

  • Followers are all well and good, but if they aren't customers, buying from you, the more you have doesn't mean anything. The same goes for brand deals. If you're a creator with a million followers but can't get one brand deal, these followers don't mean anything to the bottom line.
  • Likes on your post, and your content, can make you think you're doing something right. But in reality, it might be that one-off piece of content you get right. If it doesn't end up being a consistent thing that converts prospective customers, they're relatively meaningless.
  • Social media is a marketing tool for businesses. You use it to get your name, your business name out there. It's not the business. It's not where you make money. Even for creators. Sure, some platforms might pay you for views and likes, but not enough to live off. In reality, redundant to buy into the hype of social media likes.

Approached by influencers

Something that has started to become a measure of success is how often someone of note takes interest in your business. 

Perhaps it's someone with a million followers on Instagram who likes your picture. Or asks for your product to feature on their feed. 

Even more of a win is when a celebrity stylist contacts you and asks for your products for one of their big clients. Or, if not in the retail space, you're asked to go on television as an expert and talk about your industry.

These are those milestone moments where you feel like you've made it. The rich and powerful have noticed you and they want you to be a part of their world. I get it; this reaction would be my reaction too, if someone did the same thing to me.

Unfortunately, this type of recognition doesn't mean you've made it. Why?

Celebrities have hidden agendas.

Though it seems like they want to represent your business, often notorious people seeking product or clout off you don't want to help you.

They want something from you.

It could be a free product. It could be some inspiration for their next business venture. It could be anything. It's always concerning when someone with money doesn't offer to pay for your products, time, or both. 

They don't value you. 

And when there is no respect for you, you're not really making it.

And celebrity recognition doesn't guarantee sales.

Someone famous, someone of note recognising your business is another metric that doesn't translate into sales. 

Sure, we all hear about celebrities who post about a brand and they go on to sell out. But what we don't hear about is all the times this didn't happen. Or all the time brands didn't get recognised by the celebrity or properly credited in the media.

 Or, if something overshadows this, like a scandal.

Though you might be able to use the clout from this experience, it might be all you get.

Creation confusion

Every time you launch a business, a new product line, a new service, or open a new shop, you feel accomplished. These things take a lot of work. The bigger the launch or the bigger the task, the more accomplished you feel.

And when you compare it to the awe and wonder of people who haven't started a business, impressed with your effort, you feel even better. You feel like you're on top of the world.

I don't want to make you feel bad for having spent all your time getting your products and services ready. 

But realistically, just because you've started the business, you haven't made it. 

You're a success at starting a business, sure. Yet, starting a business doesn't mean you're on top of the success ladder yet.

It's the right step. It's the right direction. Yet, it's not quite there yet.

So what does making it mean?

Everyone has their own version of making it. Success is one of those concepts defined differently as you ask each person.

For you, making it might be the moment you've finished putting out four TikTok videos a day, for a whole year straight. That might be your success.

But let's be real here.

Your business won't grow, survive or allow you to work solely on it if you don't make any money.

Though money doesn't underpin your motivation for starting a business, it is what turns it from a passion project/idea/hobby into a business.

And when you're making money, serving customers, and growing as a business, that's when you've made it.


If you enjoy this article, leave me a tip, follow me or even share my work on your socials! Any support for me would be appreciated 💜


About the Creator

Ellen "Jelly" McRae

I’m here to use my wins and losses in #relationships as your cautionary tale | Writes 1LD; Cautionary tale #romance fiction |

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