Hello there, and welcome back to the Mountain Practice Journeys podcast!
I’m your host, Cindy Norton.
Here in Episode 17 I’m going to talk about how to grow your social media following with authenticity.
Let’s get started.
Podcasts are growing in popularity and there are already so many great private practice podcasts out there. If you join the Trailblazer community via my seasonal newsletter you will receive a free A-Z download that includes a list of my favorite private practice podcasts.
I hope that the Mountain Practice Journeys podcast will earn its spot in your regular podcast listens.
See below for the episode show notes links and transcript…
Episode 17 Show Notes Links
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Episode 17 Transcript
Hello there, and welcome back to the Mountain Practice Journeys podcast! I’m your host, Cindy Norton. Here in Episode 17 I’m going to talk about how to grow your social media following with authenticity.
I know that I mentioned at the end of the last episode that I would be talking about growing your social media following with authenticity AND automation, but I have quite a bit to say about this topic so I’ll be addressing the automation part in a future episode this season.
Let’s get started.
Have you been wanting to start your private practice, but you can’t seem to take that first step? Maybe you’re afraid of failure or lack confidence, or maybe the idea of running your own practice is overwhelming. I’m Cindy Norton, owner of Mountain Practice Journeys and I help therapists and counselors to love the business side of private practice. I’ll share with you practical skills and advice along with a healthy dose of inspiration so that you can be on your way to the practice of your dreams. Put on your hiking boots, and let’s get going.
If you haven’t yet listened to Episode 16, I urge you to do that. In that episode I speak with Raymond Barrett of the Telehealth Certification Institute about how to launch your teletherapy practice in a legally and ethically compliant way.
Before we dig in to today’s topic of growing your social media following with authenticity I first want you to decide if you even want to focus on social media. You may decide that social media is not one of your marketing strategies, and that’s okay. Spend your time doing something else.
I want you to let others know about your practice in ways that feel authentic to you. If you don’t like being on social media, then you don’t have to. Don’t make yourself miserable in your private practice by doing things that you don’t want to do. There are many authentic ways to grow your practice.
One of my missions here at Mountain Practice Journeys is to help therapists to create private practices that they love, and they do that by creating a business that works with their personalities and the lives they want to live.
And that means not doing all the things that you are told to do in order to grow your practice. Sure, there are a lot of great options out there. But they are just that… options. You don’t have to do them all. In fact, as a solo practice owner, you can’t do them all. Pick one or two things to focus on.
So, if you enjoy being on social media, I hope this episode will give you a few tips so that you can make the most out of your time there.
If you are considering social media for your private practice, don’t do what I did when I stated my practice – which was creating an account with all of the platforms. Yep, I signed up with facebook, instagram, twitter, and pinterest.
It was too much and I did not enjoy it at all. I felt like I was always having to create content in different formats for the different accounts. I quickly deleted my twitter and pinterest accounts and only focused on facebook because, at the time, that was my preferred social media platform. I’m now finding that my audience is more engaged on instagram, so I am beginning to focus more of my time and attention there.
I want to provide you with a tip when you are getting started: just focus on one platform at a time. Choose a social media platform that you actually enjoy spending time on.
For the purpose of simplicity I’m going to be referring to instagram for this episode.
Now I’m going to talk about two main aspects of authenticity.
The first is to be sincere and trustworthy. I want to start by addressing the shady practice of follow/unfollow. If you’ve had an instagram account for any amount of time, you have probably been victim to this practice.
You have a new follower and they like a few of your photos, so you follow them back. When you look at their account the next day you notice that they have unfollowed you. You also notice that this account has 11,000 followers, yet only follows 200 accounts.
I think of these as vanity accounts. It seems as though they want to trick people into following them just for the numbers. “Look at me! I have thousands of followers, yet I only follow a few accounts. I must be really important.”
This is very different from the accounts that have thousands of followers because they produce great content and people genuinely find benefit from following the account. Their sentiments are more like, “Wow, I’m so grateful to have thousands of followers who find benefit in what I have to say.”
So the lesson here is to not be vain. Don’t pay attention to the numbers and instead focus on creating meaningful content for your ideal clients. What matters is that you are connecting with people who genuinely find benefit from your content and are engaged. The success of your instagram account is not measured by followers, but by engagement. I’d rather have 100 really engaged followers than 10,000 followers that don’t connect with my content. Now I’ll step down from my soapbox.
So, how can you show your authenticity by being sincere and trustworthy? You can start by only following accounts that you love, accounts that are in your field and your niche, and accounts where your ideal clients may hang out. You’ll also want to genuinely engage with them and their content.
This means that you will actually have to spend some intentional time on instagram. I say intentional time because I want you to set aside a reasonable amount of time to check out your feed, look at the posts, and read the captions. Then find some posts that you truly resonate with and respond with an insightful comment. This is how you build genuine connections – slowly and purposefully over time.
Previously I said to spend a reasonable amount of time because this will be unique to you and your preferences. For some it may be 5 minutes a day, and for others it may be 2 hours a week. But the message here is to intentionally say, “Today I am going to spend 20 minutes on instagram making genuine connections and providing insightful responses.”
The second aspect of authenticity I want to talk about is being yourself. I know that it can sometimes be scary to put your true self out there for others to see. But this is how people connect with you.
And I also understand that, as therapists, we have been advised not to share personal details about ourselves with clients. I do like to challenge that belief a bit. I think it all depends on your clinical approach and how you work with clients.
There is no right or wrong way to share yourself as long as your reasoning is clinically appropriate. There are therapists that work from a foundation of being a blank slate, so they may only share helpful tips on their social media, or they are likely to not have a social media account at all.
There are also therapists that work very collaboratively with their clients and it is helpful in their therapeutic work to be seen as a human being with faults of their own. They will oftentimes share how they struggled in the past and overcame difficulties as a way of demonstrating how they can help their clients.
I say all this to let you know that you can be yourself and share who you are no matter your approach with clients. Even if you are a blank slate therapist, you can share a video of yourself talking about how you work with your clients and the growth that you can facilitate. And if you are a therapist or coach who uses your own personal experience as a way of showing how you can help clients, you may share more about your daily life and how you personally utilize the tools that you teach.
My point is to let yourself be seen on your social media account. Be authentically you and your best fit clients will find you. But only if you are consistently showing up.
I only shared two aspects of authenticity for this episode for the sake of time, but there are many more. However, if you focus on these two you’ll have a great foundation and people will get to see the unique, beautiful you shining through your online profile.
During each episode I’ll be giving you one small take away, action step, or mindset shift. I call these acorns. Listen to episode 0 to get the scoop on what the acorns are all about.
The acorn from this episode is that you don’t have to point and dance on videos if you don’t want to. You don’t have to use social media platforms the way everyone else does. I personally have an aversion to the videos with dancing and pointing. They just aren’t for me.
Don’t get me wrong, I definitely enjoy the dancing and pointing videos of the accounts that I follow because they are fun and have really great content – but I just can’t imaging myself doing that type of content – especially as an introvert and highly sensitive person. It doesn’t fit with my personality and would therefore be inauthentic.
It is one thing to stretch yourself outside of your comfort zone because you want to do something new and you’re only a little hesitant because you’ve never done it before. However, it’s another thing entirely to force yourself to do something that you don’t want to do because it is the new trend and you feel like you have to if you want your business to be successful. That simply isn’t true. And don’t get me started on clubhouse. I don’t need any other shiny objects taking me further away from my path.
And a little side note here: Don’t make fun of me if you see me doing the dancing and pointing videos two years from now when I said that I wouldn’t. I’m pretty certain that you won’t, but I wanted to add this disclaimer because I have been known to be a late adopter of trends – so late that the trends are not cool anymore.
I’ll give you an example of how I’m going to take my own advice from this acorn segment. I’ve never been much for being on video. I prefer producing written content, and it was a stretch for me to do this podcast, but it is something that I have wanted to do for a while. I’m also venturing out of my comfort zone to do more video. But video in a way that fits for me. For example, I recently did an instagram live with my business coach Jane Carter of Jane Carter Coaching where I talked about trusting yourself and simplifying in your business. I also plan to record a few videos for my instagram feed with helpful private practice tips. So I’ll be stretching myself outside of my comfort zone to do more video, but I’ll not be forcing myself to do video in a way that doesn’t feel right for me.
As I outlined in episode 0, I’ll be alternating between a fun fact and ‘what I’m digging’ segment with each new episode.
What I’m digging for this episode is Clearly Clinical. Clearly Clinical offers podcast Continuing Education courses for social workers, psychologists, therapists, clinical counselors, and addiction counselors. I’m coming to the end of my licensure period and I took advantage of a few of the free continuing education courses from Clearly Clinical to meet my hours. It was so easy and convenient. You can either listen to the podcast episode on your favorite podcasting app, or listen to the recording on the Clearly Clinical website, and then take a quiz for your certificate. Clearly Clinical also offers unlimited CE courses for an entire year for only $60.
Visit the link in the show notes for more information.
Thank you so much for joining me today on your private practice journey.
For episode 18 I’ll be chatting with Hanna Woody & Monica LeBlanc of Empowered Enneagram. We’ll be talking about how your enneagram type can help & hinder the growth of your private practice. And the gems that they share can be helpful to everyone even if you don’t know your type. But if you do know your type, you will be nodding in agreement because their assessment is spot on.
And I’ll be continuing this social media discussion in episodes 19 and 20, so be sure to tune in.
There’s no way you can know how much it means to me that you choose to join me here as I share all things related to private practice. Please subscribe so you don’t miss a step. For more information about this episode, please visit the show notes page at mountainpracticejourneys.com/podcast I truly appreciate you Trailblazers. Your mountain is within reach. Journey on.
I Want You To Be Successful In Private Practice!
Happy Climbing, Cindy