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You’ve put in the time and worked to hit the goal you put down on paper and committed to. 


The most challenging and off putting thing about starting a new project, venture, or multi-platform campaign is the exponential effort that goes into achieving growth. You’ll notice I didn’t say maintaining growth, as that is a bit of an oxymoron (and that’s another article for another time). Achieving growth in an exponential sense should be equally tied to the effort that you put into it, right? Right?! 



Unfortunately, the reality of the situation is that most often when we are trying to grow something by double, through our estimations – the effort ends up being 4 times the effort. Growth that doesn’t scale exponentially in a linear fashion is the kiss of death to the growth hacker. Which is why I want to point out two fallacies that might be leading you to put in effort to double, only to find out that it took you 4 times the effort you initially put in to double the thing. (Whatever your thing may be.)


Fallacy #1: Your project, venture, or campaign sum or whole is going to scale at the same rate as one of its parts.




Small scale things can continue sustained growth through the same repeated pattern as they are less complex. For instance, if you use the same hashtags over and over to establish your brand on Instagram and see a double in your following in the next consecutive month while putting in the same consistent effort the float in growth can be attributed to A. A straightforward calculation that you’ve doubled your content and likely your impressions which is a straight line correlation to your double in following. More opportunities to view your content, equates to more “ads” for your brand and thusly the conversion. Most especially if you keep the content highly consistent visually and leverage the same hashtags. B. You should be seeing an even higher growth conversion than just double at the second month with consistent effort due to the network effect of social media sites and content sharing, suggestion, and reco algorithms. Results, as always, may vary – as I can’t know the exact algo that goes into your social experience – it’s too specific and too multi-variate at this point.


Bottom line, don’t measure your entire brand presence as not doubling in size, because you saw your Insta following double and expected the same results everywhere. Your social channels and blog and content delivery channels, as well as your business at large in terms of client testimonials, opportunities in the market, etc. are a number of complex decisions you’re making – some you may not even be aware of.


You cannot measure your true effort to growth ratio unless you break down each decision made and seek a growth doubling move at every turn.

Don’t get caught up in the results of simplistic models. Instagram is a simplistic model, there are a finite number of levers to pull on any given day.  It’s that simple.


Fallacy #2: Effort, any effort, is growth effort.


Honey, no.


One of the things I see more than anything, is the belief that any work, any effort is growth effort. That isn’t true. Even professional marketers are guilty of this offense to growth mechanics. In the beginning when you are simply trying to see what lands with your target demographic and what doesn’t – it’s hugely important to just throw many things (in isolation, or A/B testing format) to see what sticks. However, always know what variability (or the differences between your tested versions) you are leveraging…so that you can always keep tabs on what’s working. When you find out what’s working – do more of that and less of everything else.

A foundational point of growth mechanics is to expend the minimal amount of effort and resource to get the most growth – a classic ROI equation. Of course, with time, the same old tricks and methods may not work. In which case, you need to know when that timing is…. anticipate or detect it…and pivot to test your next growth mechanics lever to pull in the float you seek.


Arbitrarily clicking, uploading, titling and pushing content is the kiss of death to growth…because worst case is you get nothing for your efforts and the absolute best case if that you do realize growth but you have no idea how you engineered it because your efforts were arbitrary, unmeasured, and unplanned.


Author Mischaela Elkins

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