Two things are true: “The medium is the message,” as McLuhan said, and “Comparison is the thief of joy,” as the old saw (often credited to Teddy Roosevelt) goes.
And the message of most social platforms (like, say, Instagram or TikTok) is comparison. The message is, “Look at me and my stuff.”
They are machines built to compare our lives to each other’s, stealing our joy.
And I find marketers and entrepreneurs fall for it worst.
We think because we “have” to be on these channels that we have to behave the way the channel wants.
We think we have to be “the best” at using them. At manipulating algorithms. At “engaging our communities.” We think what makes us valuable is how good we are at using other people’s tools.
By constantly scrolling, constantly posting, constantly memeing, and constantly comparing ourselves to others—other brands, other businesses, other entrepreneurs.
But when you do what everyone else is doing you’re not doing anything at all. You’re not “engaging your audience,” you’re becoming somebody else’s engagement metric.
Once you let go of comparing yourself to competitors and peers, though, you can start paying more attention to your customers.
Because they’re not comparing your posts to your competitor’s side-by-side. They don’t care what the inside of your house looks like or how often you go on vacation or how cool your office space is.
They care about themselves. Their friends. Their peers. Their competitors.
So how do you help them get what they want?
By caring less about what everyone else does.
And spending more time doing what matters most to your best customers. Which is creating, delivering, and demonstrating value.