How Social Media Can Help You Trust Yourself

The experts are wrong when they say fear is one of the biggest obstacles between you and your business success.

Well, at least they’re only half right: lack of self-trust is the other half of the equation. During one of my past lives as a youth program coordinator, one of my favorite things was facilitating workshops for middle school students. (Not a group a lot of people enjoyed.) I actually appreciated the awkwardness and attitude they spewed off as they navigated that murky space between childhood and full-blown adolescence. And as a budding entrepreneur building a consulting gig on the side (to supplement my measly nonprofit salary), I could relate to the vulnerability of learning a new role and feeling like everyone’s eyes were on you as you were practicing in public view.

After a recent laser coaching session with Laura, I suddenly remembered a warm up activity I had led for them and I reflected how it was connected to social media, marketing and trust. Here’s the set up: each person is given a note card with an animal group on it. The point of the game is to find your tribe. The rules are you can’t use words, only your animal sounds to achieve this. After the first few seconds of awkwardness, the possibility of winning a prize pushes them past their awkwardness. The team that wins is usually the one with the loudest, unabashed barks or moos.

What’s this have to do with social media?

The other day, Laura and I were talking. She asked how often I was re-sending links to my content. My reply: “Once.” When she suggested I re-send links to the same content at least once a week to catch tweeps who may have missed the first round, I quickly responded: “Oh! I’ll do that when I finish re-designing my website. I don’t want too much traffic right now.” Laura’s response: “That’s exactly why I put together a program on ending website shame!”

I was busted. I didn’t trust what I had was good enough and as a result was half-stepping with my marketing. (Can you relate?) I realized I was doing the equivalent of letting out a little croak and still hoping to find my tribe. I wasn’t playing the social media game full out.

I was letting my fears win out:

  • I’m not ready.
  • I’m not good enough.
  • I don’t know my niche yet.
  • I haven’t fine tuned my USP.
  • What if no one likes my stuff?
  • Worse yet, what if they laugh at me?

Sounds kind of like an awkward teenager, right? Action is the easiest way to disarm your fears and move through this awkward stage. And it’s fueled by the trust that if you own the particular card you’ve been dealt, sound off as loud as you can, you will find your tribe and maybe even win a prize.

Some suggestions for using social media to build your self-trust

I don’t know what my niche is. If you feel you can’t make your mark on social media until you’ve nailed your niche…or target market…or ideal client…or whatever you call it, you’re in good company. Finding a niche is often talked about like finding the Holy Grail. In my experience it’s been more like dancing with a new partner. You may have to give it a couple rounds before you get in sync. You can use social media to explore and test out your niche:

  • search for blogs that cater to niches that you are interested in and interact with the writers and fellow commentors
  • search for new friends to follow on twitter by putting in keyword describing your niche in the “Find People” tool and connect with them
  • look for meet up groups, forums or ezines that cater to your niche interests, then join them and interact

Doing this, you’ll quickly discover what’s jiving and what’s off.

I’m not ready, not good enough or any derivative of this. Another great thing about social media, is that it’s a great place to get feedback. If you view people’s response as judgment, you’ll be missing a great opportunity to build your trust in the value of what you offer.

  • research popular blogs in your niche interest and notice what topics they talk about
  • notice what blogs posts receive lots of comments or get re-tweeted the most and create content continuing the conversation or adding your own unique spin
  • share helpful tools, articles or blog post from other writers
  • lead from your strengths and create content on material that you feel most confident talking about
  • share what’s unique about you…if you’re a indy-film fanatic share clips of your favorite clips or pictures of your latest crochet creation

What if no one likes me?
Social media is a great tool for discovering what people want.

  • ask questions at the end of your posts, in your comments on other people’s blog, or in your updates to discover what people want or need or would like to learn about a particular topic
  • start a discussion on a social media portal

Use social media as the tool it is, to shout our your unique call and see who responds. You may be pleasantly surprised and discover there’s a whole tribe who’s been trying to find you too.

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Ije UdeIje Ude writes about navigating the ups and downs of creative entrepreneurship at


  1. Oh, I love this post! I found myself smiling and nodding my head in acknowledgment while reading it! Thank you SO much for giving so many wonderful suggestions for getting over my online adolescent awkwardness! Take wonderful care, Stacey

  2. Love this post! Thank you for sharing. I also found myself agreeing with your checklist and your reply…no I’m not ready. The tips you shared are great and I will be utilizing a few. Just the shake I needed.

  3. Love Ije and I love this post. She speaks so clearly about the fears and doubts that we all share. Thanks Ije and Laura.

  4. Oh fantastic; you get right to the core of some of the issues here. Thanks for being so honest and for sharing the solutions we all need to ‘feel the fear’

  5. thank you all for the great feedback!

    even though i love connecting with people, i resisted social media for a long time. for all the reasons i listed in the post, but also because i felt it would just create superficial or “fake” relationships with people. laura’s work gave me the incentive to dip my toe in slowly and the prize of connecting for REAL with really great folks has pushed me to pump it up!

    i’m glad to hear that sharing my experience is helpful! let me know how things go for you when you start implementing some of the tips:-)

  6. These are some great tips!

    I have been embracing many of these lately(finding people and groups, reaching out, interacting) and they definitely work.

    Finding your niche seems to be a matter of maneuvering through your industry until you land on the sweet spot between what you have to offer and the people that need what you have to offer.

    Thanks for the post :)

  7. Omar Alam says:

    I think finding your niche or where you can easily and effortlessly deliver content that is useful probably takes the most time. Usually seems like what you were so sure and amped up about doing isn’t what you truly settle into. Most of the time for the better.

    Still, engaging, connecting, developing your brand, should be given as much time as needed. Everyone has something to bring to the table and share with the world and if you can make a business out if it, then there is nothing sweeter.

    Good post!

  8. @Bret: thanks for sharing! that’s so true about finding your niche. i think so many people give up because it’s usually talked about as something you get right and figure out in your head. would love to hear more about your experience of doing the dance! i’m glad you enjoyed the post:-)

    @Omar: i LOVE the look of your blog! you really embrace the process you talk about by sharing what you’ve got to offer and asking people what they want. i’d love to hear how your business unfolds for you. thanks for sharing!

  9. Great post. I wonder where we will be 5 years from now with respect to social media. It is almost becoming unnecessary to physically interact with people anymore. Sort of takes the human factor out of it.

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  11. I have watched Gwyneth Paltrow in a video and her book has beautiful title. She is too expert in cooking.Maja recently posted..Good Features of Fantastic Sams

  12. Sounds a lot better, I found after changing my bio to what it is now, I had a slight increase in followers as they had an idea of what I was doing etc., rather than those pesky lists of keywords