Calling All Student Entrepreneurs: Tell Us About Your Startup

‘Likes’ Don’t Pay The Bills, Sales Do

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Jan 21, 2017

The conventional wisdom nowadays goes something like this: your real worth is equal to your total Facebook/social media followers. For early stage founders, this metric is quite lucrative, because it is easy and it offers an instant gratification. If you put away a nice picture of you working out of a co-working space, it immediately brings you tons of likes and congratulations, success!

But this, in reality, is a strategy to kill yourself and your company. This does offer a metric of success and we get a hit every time someone likes our page or post, every like feels like a tiny success and we continue to put effort into building something that we don’t control.

Building a social media follower base, or running a successful Facebook page is a difficult feat and of course an important work but not as important as building something real and sustainable and building something that you can control.

The irony of Facebook or any other social media for that matter is that we don’t control our page or followers, the platform that hosts us controls everything. That’s why organic reach of your page continues to decline, engagement seldom goes up without paid boosting and so on.

Noah Kagan, the founder of AppSumo, illustrates this beautifully in response to a question related to the worst advice he got in an interview with Tim Ferriss:

(The worst advice I received is that) “You should prioritize growing your social following (Instagram, FB, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube).”

He then continues:

“Grow things that you can fully control that directly affect sales, like your email list. ‘Likes’ don’t pay the bills. Sales do.”

We can’t entirely ignore the presence and importance of social media given the reach and influence of these platforms which calls for a more strategic investment on these platforms, but we can definitely choose how and where we want to invest our time and effort.


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Ruhul Kader is a technology and business analyst based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. He is also the co-founder and CEO of Future Startup and author of Rethinking Failure: A short guide to living an entrepreneurial life. He writes about internet business, strategy, technology, technology policy, and society. He can be reached at ruhul@futurestartup.com

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