September 24, 2022

Why People Fail On Social Media

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In this week’s issue, I want to break down the failure of many people to grow successfully on social media.

While my newsletter is intended to be about Solopreneurship, it’s hard to build a one-person business without some channel for acquiring customers.

Social media is one of the best to master because you can gain attention and then slowly de-platform prospects and customers to something you own - like an email list.

But none of that can happen if you can’t master social media. And mastering social media doesn’t mean doing what you see other popular accounts doing.

So today, I’m going to break down:

  • The 3 most common mistakes I see people making
  • 3 examples of me making those same mistakes early on
  • What I’d recommend people do instead when they are starting out

Mistake #1: Being Clever

You’re not Naval. You’re not Sahil Lavingia. You’re not Jack Butcher.

So copying clever accounts like this straight out of the gate is a recipe for failure.

Even if you really are clever, it’s hard to gain a strong following when you haven’t given anyone a real reason to follow you yet.

Here’s an example of me trying to be clever back on Twitter back in 2020:

Is what I wrote true? Sure.

But nobody cared because nobody knew who I was at that time.

I thought I was being hip and clever in my own little world, but nobody else did.

I think I could probably write this Tweet today and get hundreds of engagements. But that’s only because I’ve made a name for myself over the last year.

Don’t aim be clever when you start.

Mistake #2: Taking the Wrong Tone

I’ve seen quite a few accounts on Twitter trying to gain traction by taking polarizing tones.

Everything from wildly aggressive, to overly inspirational, to trying to sound like an expert in something they aren’t.

For consumers, it’s really easy to see when someone is desperate for that kind of attention, so it doesn’t quite “hit” the way you expect it to.

Here’s an example of me taking two tones in one tweet:

  • Tone 1: Listen to me, the expert with 3,000 Twitter followers! (cringe)
  • Tone 2: Suddenly, I become a motivational speaker in the second part (double cringe)

Trying to be an expert in “personal branding” when you’re getting 6 engagements is pretty embarrassing.

Saying things like, “Tell your story, what are you waiting for?” feels super hokey.

Instead, try being genuinely helpful, open, and curious without trying too hard.

People are attracted to accounts that feel real and genuine.

Mistake #3: Using Too Many Platitudes

The last type of social media content that never really works is platitudes.

If you’re not familiar with what a platitude is, here’s a definition:

A platitude is a trite, meaningless, or prosaic statement, often used as a thought-terminating cliché

Basically, I’m using platitude to mean, content that adds zero value.

Here’s a perfect example of me using a platitude back in 2019:

This whole Tweet is worthless.

Everyone knows you can’t hack consistency, and so the reader is left learning absolutely nothing and getting zero value from reading it.

Go back and review your social media content from the past few months. How often do you write or record something that has very little value inside of it?

Instead, Here’s What Worked For Me:

Back on October 25th, 2021, I made a commitment to start Tweeting every single day. I started with about 7k followers.

Rather than be clever, take a hokey tone, or write meaningless platitudes, I took a very different approach the second time around.

Here’s what worked really well:

Educational content:

Content that was short but helpful. Breaking a huge process down into 280 characters or less.


Taking a strategy or tactic that feels complex and tearing it down into a more digestible piece of information that people can understand.

Success threads:

Sharing a successful accomplishment of mine and then going deep into how I did it using a Twitter thread.

As you can see, there is a drastic difference between how I was writing on social media in 2019 and 2020, and how I write today.


  • Don’t be clever
  • Don’t try overly hard with tone
  • Don’t use meaningless platitudes
  • Do share helpful tips
  • Do make complex things simple
  • Do share your success and how you did it

Whenever you're ready, there are 3 ways I can help you:

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