Episode 48: TikTok Marketing for Therapists — How & Why [featuring Austin Armstrong]
"Use TikTok" is something that a lot of digital marketers and therapist entrepreneurs throw around as a strategy to get potential clients calling and your private practice thriving.
But how the hell do you "use" it?!
In this episode, I talk with Austin Armstrong, digital marketer, public speaker, CEO of Socialty Pro, and TikTok specialist extraordinaire, about...
- how being a great therapist is not the same as being a great business owner
- how marketing is crucial to bring in steady clients
- how TikTok is changing the shape of the mental health world and how it can help you grow your practice
- the best way for therapists to use TikTok and see results
- how giving away "free content" can actually bring more money to your business
- AND MORE
More about Austin:
Austin Armstrong is a lifelong digital marketer, public speaker, and CEO of Socialty Pro, a digital marketing agency specializing in TikTok marketing for businesses and Search Engine Optimization. Austin has posted over 1500 videos on TikTok tripling his own business and thousands more across his clients' accounts. Austin loves helping individuals and companies grow their online presence in order to generate brand awareness, thought leadership, customers, and product sales by getting creative and thinking outside of the box.
Check out Socialty Pro services: Digital marketing and video marketing for therapists and the behavioral health industry. They offer a done-for-you service where they help you outline video topics, coach you on social media, edit your videos, and post and optimize your content across all of your social media platforms so you can just focus on doing what you want to do.
Austin's Website: www.socialtypro.com
BusinessTok Podcast: businesstokpodcast.com
A Thanks to Our Sponsor!
I would also like to thank Hushmail for sponsoring this episode.
As a therapist, how you communicate with clients online is just as important as how you communicate in your sessions. If you use email and web forms, they need to be secure and HIPAA compliant. Hushmail takes the guesswork out of secure communication by providing encrypted email, web forms, and e-signatures all in one HIPAA-compliant package. Are you still using paper forms or sending your clients PDFs that they have to print out and scan back? Online forms will save you a ton of time. With Hush Secure Forms, you can start with a template and customize it to reflect your practice, or use the drag-and-drop form builder to build forms from scratch with fields for e-signatures. Add the forms to your website, or send them through secure email. Hush Secure Forms also include screening forms. They have a Good Faith Estimate template to ensure you’re in compliance with the No Surprises Act. Clients will spend less time in the waiting room and more time getting the care that they need.
Go to try.hushmail.com/allthings and enjoy the first month of your plan for free.
PATRICK CASALE: As a therapist, how you communicate with clients online is just as important as how you communicate in your sessions. If you use email and web forms they need to be secure and HIPAA compliant. Hushmail takes the guesswork out of secure communication by providing encrypted email, web forms, and eSignatures all in one HIPAA-compliant package.
Are you still using paper forms or sending your client's PDFs that they have to print out, fill out, and scan back? Online forms will save you a ton of time, not to mention make things easier for your clients. With Hush Secure Forms you can start with a template and customize it to reflect your practice or use the drag and drop form builder to build forms from scratch with fields for eSignatures, add the forms to your website, or send them through secure email.
Hush Secure Forms also include screening forms such as the PHQ-9 depression screening that delivers a score upon completion. They have a Good Faith Estimate template to ensure you're in compliance with the No Surprises Act. Move your intake, informed consent, health history, and other practice forms to Hush Secure Forms. Your clients will spend less time in the waiting room and more time getting the care that they need.
Go to try.hushmail.com/allthings and enjoy the first month of your plan for free.
Hey, everyone, you are listening to another episode of the All Things Private Practice Podcast. I'm your host Patrick Casale, joined today by Austin Armstrong. He is the CEO and Founder of Socialty Pro, a marketing organization that helps people get brand recognition, grow their businesses, their audiences specializing in TikTok. I know a lot of you therapists and small business owners out there are probably cringing when you hear the word TikTok, are also really intrigued at the same time. And Austin, it's really good to have you on and I'm looking forward to having this conversation.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, Patrick, thank you so much for the opportunity. Hopefully, we expand some thoughts today on the opportunity and potential of TikTok for this industry.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, this will be a interesting conversation coming on the heels of one I just did with a friend of mine that I was just talking to you about before we hit record, and the good, the bad, the ugly, all about TikTok and therapy and marketing. But I know we want to kind of talk just in general about marketing strategy and things that work, things that definitely don't work.
You were mentioning to me that, you know, a lot of therapists in the industry, how they mention to you, they have 10 plus years of schooling, but they have no idea how to run a business, how to market a business. And to be quite honest, most people hear the word marketing and they kind of cringe. They get this feeling of like, "Oh, this feels gross." Or, "This feels sleazy. I feel like a used car salesman."
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, I get that. I think it's important though, if you go into private practice, or you start any business, you have to grow that business, right? You have to talk about it in one way or the other. And particularly, in this industry, I'm not a therapist, but I have the opinion of working in the space for so long that you almost do a disservice to people online if you're not sharing information to help them. You know, this is a platform where… and regardless of if we talk about TikTok or any platform, if you're creating blog articles, if you're creating YouTube videos, if you're active on social media, this is where a large collection of people are looking. And they're looking for you, and they're looking for help, and they're looking for answers. And it's an opportunity for you to connect with them and share helpful advice.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, well said. And I think that there's a major disconnect in the therapeutic community and profession of, "I want to help but I can also make money simultaneously." So, a lot of people struggle with the mindset that both things can be done as if it's out of alignment with their values.
And in reality, for all of you listening right now, if you're a therapist who's in an agency or a group practice, or going out on your own if you're going to open up a business, and pay taxes, and charge clients, you are a business owner regardless of whether or not you want to call yourself one or not. So, treating your business like a business is something that I preach all the time in my coaching courses to therapists and marketing is a huge component of this. And I think it's one that gets overlooked so often, again, because lack of understanding, the inability to conceptualize how do I do this and make it fun? Or how do I do this and make it helpful?
You know, I think everyone assumes they have to be like, sell, sell, sell, like, beating you over the head with it. But in reality, like you said, you could just be providing really good quality information, which is essentially elevating your brand from people who are in your community who are not doing those things, because COVID has changed the game, right? In terms of a lot of our business structures. A lot of therapists moved online immediately and may never go back into the office. So, how the hell do you get your name out there if you are unable or unwilling to do the marketing and business aspects that make your business continue to stay afloat and grow?
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, well said. I think you've sort of alluded to something there too, this is a very common misconception that marketing and sales are the same thing, when in fact, they're not. Sales are the results of good marketing. And good marketing is sort of just spreading the word about what you do, the services that you offer, how you can individually help people. It's not inherently salesy, and in fact, it shouldn't be if you're only putting out, you know, infomercials, and everything that you post is contact me now, that will never work, right?
Good marketing is building that know, like, and trust factor. They have to see you consistently. And they have to like you based on the personality and information that you put out there. And they have to trust you based on the information and how it resonates with their exact situation or personal experience, which is going to cause them to reach out to you and ultimately, turn into a sale or a patient in this instance.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. That's really well said, and I was laughing while you were saying that because I was thinking about, like, Shake Weight commercials and infomercials. Like, people that are just like QVC shit and like stuff that's always, like, sell, sell, sell, sell, sell.
And I think for a lot of us, like, especially therapists, you know, I'm a therapist and a practice building coach now, but the coaching world really gets the brunt of the, like, people just sliding in your DMs and being like, "Hey, I saw you do this, can I tell you this?" And you're like, "I don't even fucking know who you are. Like, I'm not going to give you my money, my business-like, I just don't believe in that."
So, you're right. It's like putting out valuable content, right? Putting out information to people because you genuinely want to help them with a specific issue or problem area, not understanding that that, in turn, comes back around in terms of sales, or clients, or new phone calls coming into the business because you're providing something for the community or providing something for the people you want to work with. And I do think a lot of people just get that wrong, where they have that association of marketing equals salesy or salesmanship. And that's just not the case.
Like you mentioned, it takes marketing to lead, to sales, it takes marketing to lead, to phone calls. And for all of you out there listening, like, I've had my practice open for six months, I'm not getting any phone calls, I've got a Psychology Today listing and it fucking sucks like everyone else is. You are not getting calls because you're not out in the community, you're not visible, your clients don't know how to find you.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, so true. You just said so many funny things that I resonate with. Like, as an agency owner, I get these DMs constantly on Facebook and LinkedIn, right? Of people just, like, cold messaging me trying to get me to sign up for their thing. It's like, "I have no idea who you are. Why would I give you my money?" First of all.
And like the, yeah, the Psychology Today thing is so funny too. And we can sort of go into some strategies if you want. But another thing, just because you're repurposing the same quote images on your Instagram and Facebook pages from every other business out there, that does not work.
PATRICK CASALE: That is great.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: You're not going to get clients because you're posting quote images on Instagram and Facebook, come on now.
PATRICK CASALE: Right, right. Yeah, exactly, like, this inspirational quote that you took from somebody else that you're repurposing. Yeah, that's great. You might get some likes, you might get some comments, you might get some shares. But that's not going to turn into a conversion. Especially, if it's not original content, it's not helping a problem. It's just there to be, you know, filler content, so to speak.
And, you know, we don't have to go down this rabbit hole right now. I teach therapists how to rewrite their profile pages and their content being really authentic. And I look at some bad fucking profiles. Like, I will walk alongside you, I've got pictures of stacked rocks, I use every acronym under the sun, every license type, every intervention. And I'm like, "Who talks like this?" Like, therapists, you have to realize that 90% of the population does not have a master's degree in clinical mental health therapy or counseling. We don't all talk the same way. We don't use the same jargon. You have to realize that you're doing yourself and your clients a disservice when you can't capture their attention.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, it's so true. I know exactly what image you're talking about, stacked rocks, so…
PATRICK CASALE: I've been getting a lot of, like, hate email, sometimes when I put these episodes out or write about this stuff. And I'm like, "don't be the fucking Applebee's of therapy. Don't use, like, I will walk alongside you. And I've got stacked rocks and A, B, and C." And then, people will message me and be like, "Hey, I've got stacked rocks. Do you think I'm a bad therapist?" I'm like, "No, you're probably a great therapist, you just suck at business." And that's okay. Because that's why we're talking about this because you didn't learn it in grad school.
My grad school almost made private practice and small business ownership taboo to have a conversation about. We would bring it up and it would be like, "Oh, no, nobody does those things and nobody does it successfully, so you should go into an agency job because that's where all the money is." And then, you're like, "What the fuck are you talking about? Like what money exists in that job?" So, it's almost frowned upon. It's almost like, you shouldn't be able to do those things until you earn your stripes or you become this wizard therapist who knows, like, endless amounts of information.
But in reality, it's like, I know great therapists and clinicians who are shit business owners. And I know mediocre therapists who are fantastic business owners. And unfortunately, the ladder is going to stay full long term. And the former, the one that's the fantastic clinician, but doesn't know how to put their content out there or create anything is probably going to fold up shop after six months.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, and I mean, you can build up a great word-of-mouth business, right? And get those reviews online, get your, you know, Google Business Listing reviews, get your Yelp reviews, or the whole nine yards. But the power from this comes from, I like to call it, basically, duplicating yourself or quantifying your expertise. And if you're putting a lot of your expertise, perspectives, and advice out there, not specific clinical advice for a specific, you know, person, of course, you're essentially taking your expertise and putting it out there where people can find it and it works for you 24/7.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, absolutely. And just the realization that, because we're all living in this era of being more maybe nomadic in nature, in terms of career, or not tied down, or working remotely, I always think about the internet and social media as a virtual storefront, so to speak. Like, hey, this is a little bit about what Austin offers, right? Like, let's go into the website, let's go into the social media side, let's get a feel for the voice, the way that they kind of talk about things, like, their thoughts on things.
And if we don't have that consistently, right? Because content creation is also a big part of this, like, the consistency isn't there, then I'm going to probably move on to the next one, right? Because at the end of the day, our attention spans are just so damn short. I know mine is. I keep looking out the window while we're talking.
And I think about it almost as like the equivalency of a restaurant, you want to find out if they're open, you want to call them, you want to see if they have a special, you land on their social media, they haven't updated it in two years. And your immediate reaction is, well, they're probably closed. Like, they clearly aren't in business anymore.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah and if you think about it from like a content consumption perspective, before all of these streaming platforms, Netflix, Hulu, whatever, it was television, and it was scheduled television, right? And we knew what time our favorite television show was on, we knew the season, we knew every Thursday at 7 pm our favorite show was on and we could depend on that, right? And if it didn't come on, it was the end of the world, right? Like, was it canceled? Or is there like an emergency in the world? Is there war right now? Like, what the hell's going on, right?
But we built up that consistency of knowing, and planning ahead, and watching that. And you don't necessarily need… like, this helps with YouTube, but like, TikTok, you don't need to upload a video every day at 3 pm, for instance, but that consistency of whatever that looks like for you is so important, right? Like, you can't just take six months off and think to yourself, like, "Why have my phone calls stopped? Why am I not getting any more form fills on my website?" Well, it's because you haven't put anything out there in months, however long it is. You have to continue to sort of feed the beast, but it gets easier, it gets easier.
PATRICK CASALE: And probably gets to be kind of habitual too once you get into that routine, where it doesn't feel so much like a chore, where you're like dreading having to record or dreading having to create content because I know a lot of people think that way. And there are strategies, and I'm sure you know a lot more than I do in terms of how to ensure that you don't have to sit in your office every day after day creating content.
And you're right, I mean, if you don't show up if you post once a week, and then, you take a month off, and then, you pop back up, and you're like, "Why isn't the phone ringing? Why isn't my website getting more clicks?" Well, it's because you haven't been consistent, right? You're not visible consistently, you're not out in front of the general public consistently.
I even have this conversation, I own a group practice here in Nashville, with my therapist, if you get too comfortable with their caseloads and they take their foot off the gas of like networking or being visible within the community, and their phone calls start to drop off, and their console requests start to drop off, so it's about going back to basics, right? Because you get comfortable, my caseload's full. All right, I'm not going to do any of the things that worked for me for me to get here. And then, ultimately, it's like, oh shit, connecting with one therapist a week and the community was very helpful, right? Because again, it's like, forefront of our minds psychologically too. It's like, I'm going to think about Zak because Zak has been more visible in the community, in the Facebook groups et cetera. And now it's at the forefront of my mind when I get a phone call from someone. So, consistency is so huge and I think we miss that mark a lot.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, you kind of always want to be on the attack too a little bit rather than playing on the defense. Because if it slows down, it might be harder at times, I don't know your workflow exactly, but it might be harder to build up that momentum again if you've lost a lot of that. A lot of these social media platforms, I know TikTok in particular really thrives off of that consistency. So, if, you know, you find yourself stagnant, or you pull off the gas a little bit because you're happy with everything, and then, you pull back, it's going to take time to build that engine a little bit again.
PATRICK CASALE: Yeah, no, absolutely. That's a great point. One thing that comes up pretty often, I want to know your thoughts on this, is so many people assume that if you're going to be marketing on social media you have to be on all the platforms. And I always caution people against that, because if you're already feeling resistance to saying, like, I want to show up on social media, the odds of you showing up consistently on LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, it feels almost impossible to me if that's already the mentality you're going into it with. What do you think about that? Just feeling like having more intentionality around where you show up.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, I think that's really important, because all of these platforms it's… and like, yeah, TikTok, maybe some of your audience is listening is like, "Oh, my gosh, there's another platform, I already can't keep up with Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, YouTube. Now you're telling me I got to get on TikTok as well?" Focus on what you can consistently commit to, and then, slowly build upon that, right? Because that consistency is really the most important thing.
And like, if you're getting clients from Facebook, you're leveraging Facebook groups, you're leveraging, you know, various networks on their various online communities and that's working for you, great, stick with that consistently, right? And then, maybe build upon it. When that gets to that point that you're comfortable with it, it's second nature, it's like the back of your hand, you know how to do that on autopilot, you don't have to think about it, then add another platform on there. Don't think that you automatically need to do every single platform every single day. It's going to burn yourself out, right? There's only so much time in the day to do this.
Now, I will say that because of the success of TikTok it's never been easier to repurpose your content across all social media. So, short-form vertical video is, as the name implies, a short video, typically, 60 seconds or less in vertical format, like up and down on your phone, that's the format.
Because of the rapid growth and success of Tiktok, all of these other platforms are sort of adopting that same format of content. Instagram supports it with Instagram reels, YouTube supports it with YouTube Shorts, Facebook has reels now, LinkedIn supports vertical video. You can even upload these onto Google My Business if you want and various other platforms.
So, what you can easily do now is once you have this workflow down, and you don't have to start at this point again, but once you get comfortable with it, you can execute one really well-done short-form vertical video and you can post that same exact video to all of your platforms. And it works right now as long as you're actually educating people and communicating helpful advice. Remember, you're not lasting a sales tactic, you're not talking… it's not an infomercial, you're providing genuinely helpful information in this format. We're at a unique space in the digital marketing game, in the social media game where this content works across the board.
Three to five years ago, that really wasn't the case. The general census was that you needed to create unique content for every single platform. But we're in this sort of strange bubble where these vertical videos are working across the board.
PATRICK CASALE: That's a great advice. So, for everyone out there listening and feeling like I just can't do it all, that sounds like a pretty damn easy way to kind of get your stuff out there across the board without really having to recreate, and recreate, and recreate, which I know that sounds like hell for a lot of you, including myself, who does a lot of engagement in general. That's such a great point. And I'm glad that you made that.
I also think about, like, fostering relationships through content that you're putting out there, right? Like, putting content out there and fostering the engagement that comes with it. So, if you've developed a Facebook group, and you have a lot of people who kind of hang on every word that you have, foster those relationships. Like, really engage with the people who are helping push your content higher up the board, so to speak.
I mean, I have a Facebook group for therapists and 99% of my coaching that's been sold has come from the Facebook group that I've created because there are relationships that are built in there and fostered on a genuine like day-to-day basis. So, I think we're so much more likely to invest in people we trust, businesses we trust, et cetera, that we have some sort of relationship with, whether it's direct or indirect.
So, if I say to someone, "Hey, I know this guy does wonderful social media marketing." talking about Austin, and I give that to someone else, that's kind of my reputation, too, right? But you're so much more likely to look your information up if you trust the source that it's coming from. And I think that's what marketing is about, is just allowing people to trust your reputation, your brand, what you're putting out to the world, that you have good intentions about what you're talking about.
And I always follow the 80/20 rule. And I'm sure you're more than familiar with that. But like, we're not sell, sell, sell, sell, sell in my coaching business. It's like free content, free content, free content, lots of resources, "Hey, we're launching this thing."
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Oh, yeah, that's the Gary Vaynerchuk mentality, jab, jab, jab, right? Hook. Give, give, give, ask.
PATRICK CASALE: Right, because who the hell wants to get like email blast after email blast of like, "Hey, I have this offer, hey, I'm selling this, hey, join my mastermind, hey, join my…" You know, it's like, "Okay, fuck off." I would unsubscribe from my own stuff if that was, you know, the email I was seeing every day of my life.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, totally agree. It's sort of a mindset shift with marketing too, to give out really high-quality advice, and information, and content for free over and over again. But the results that it yields are phenomenal. And it's because most people don't do that. They have that opposite mentality of sale, sale, sale, right? But when you're consistently just putting out free, awesome content that just genuinely helps people, especially, in this industry, right? Talking about, you know, life problems, relationship problems, substance abuse, and addiction problems, right? You're putting out really helpful information. This is a video that they can take and sort of, you know, consume, and think about it, and there was no call to action in that video necessarily, right? This is just a piece of information that they stumbled across. And it's resonated with them. And it's helped. It's made them think a little bit. That's what gets the wheels start ticking when you do that over and over again, they trust you, right? They have liked your messaging, it's really resonated with them.
And then, over time you throw in there, like, "Hey, I'm accepting new clients, right? Or, "Hey, get my 10 free tips for dealing with a narcissist eBook." Right? Because you've talked about this and that's applicable to their situation in real life. They're like, "Okay, this person has communicated really fantastic information with me, I want to give them my email because I trust them, or I'm going to reach out to them because the information that they say is really in alignment with my personal experience."
PATRICK CASALE: Really well said. Yeah, absolutely. So, again, everyone that's listening to the marketing strategy, it is about giving away content, it's about giving away really good solid content.
I mean, we live in a world right now where there's so many struggles. As therapists and helpers, you could make content about any of this. You know, 10 tips to deal with COVID fatigue, 10 tips to deal with adopting a new Shih Tzu during COVID, and then, they turn out to be socially awkward Gremlins and ruin your life. Like, you can have any of these conversations. And it's really helpful for people because it's relatable and those are the struggles that they're having.
So, it can be how to manage anxiety and substance use when you feel like you've been trapped inside. You know there's so many ways to put out information and content, and make it your own, make it unique, make it authentic to your voice because we aren't going to repurpose content. It's not like we're stealing content from each other. But most of our ideas are not individualized or unique and like we just created them out of thin air, right?
So, I'm a private practice coach, there are other private practice coaches, we all do things differently. So, just remembering that you just put your spin on it, your take, take a subject or a couple of topics and just say, let me talk about these things for a minute or two and see what comes up.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, that is such an important thing too, because that's such a mental block that I run into where somebody thinks that they're not the absolute best, they're not the forefront leader in that particular industry or it's been said a bunch of times, they don't think that they can add anything new to it. That is a mind block that is totally wrong, to put it bluntly, right?
As you said, information is said over and over and over again. All people want is a voice that resonates with them. They communicate different, we're all unique individual people, we learn differently, we think about things that we're taught differently, we apply things differently, and maybe somebody has heard that same information over and over again. But this time, because you said it, and you used a different word, a different adjective, or a different tone of voice, something clicked. And that's what really matters, is your unique perspective. You don't want to emulate somebody else, right? Because that's not authentic to you. You need to be authentic to yourself with this information. That's the power here.
PATRICK CASALE: Love that, absolutely love that. And what we're really talking about there is the imposter syndrome and perfectionism that comes up when we feel like, "I don't have anything to add, my voice isn't unique, somebody's already done this, somebody's done it better." And then, we convince ourselves that we shouldn't even try.
And I know for myself, and I'll name it a million times, I've done it on the podcast and my coaching, I prevented myself from starting this podcast, this coaching brand that I've created two years ago for years because other big-name coaches live in my same city. And I was like, "Well, why would anyone hire me if they can hire them?" And again, comes back to voice, and perspective, and the way we talk about things, even if we're talking about the same things, myself and the other private practice coaches in the world are not teaching anything new.
Private practice startup is private practice startup, getting your EIN, your NPI, figuring out insurance stuff, like, all of that is the same, you can Google that. But it's about voice, and presence, and how people show up.
So, remember that when you're getting caught in that headspace, that perfectionism, that I need to be the expert role, you just need to try. You need to put some imperfect action into place and just put it out to the world. It doesn't have to be a fine, polished product at first, just put it out to the world to get out of your own way.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, I want to bring up an exact example here, if I may.
PATRICK CASALE: Sure.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: One of my clients, he's a therapist, and there's a lot of different things that he could talk about, right? He's really an expert in LGBT-affirming therapy. And he could talk about addiction counseling, he can talk about marriage and family counseling, and relationship coaching, and whatnot. But he's also an expert in narcissism. And there's a lot of narcissism experts out there, really big-name players across the board.
But what we found out really quickly is that how he communicates information about narcissism really resonated with people. His tone of voice, we use background music to sort of enhance that a little bit. But, like, he just hit the nail on the head. And honestly, he's going through a little bit of imposter syndrome, because he didn't think that this was something that would click with so many people. He has about 90,000 followers on TikTok right now. And he has a caseload waiting list. And he's now trying to grow his private practice into a group practice and build referral relationships because it worked a little too well.
But this is not something that he considered himself really as an expert in, even though that he is, but he doesn't consider himself that way, because there's people that have built their entire careers around this one particular vertical, right? But it really has worked with him. And that's why we've sort of done like 60, 70% content around narcissism. And yes, of course, we're still promoting the other services and expertise that he talks about and things that he can help people with. But this is what really connected with a lot of people and has worked with him.
So, sometimes, it might not even be your particular area of focus, it might be something that you don't expect, but you can still help people out with that information.
PATRICK CASALE: That's such a great example for everyone that's listening to hear and just absorb. And I can relate wholeheartedly. I mean, during COVID I started talking about imposter syndrome that I have every day of my life on Facebook Lives, and nobody was watching. Maybe my grandma was watching, and was like, "Hey, nice furniture." Or something, I'm like, "Shit, get out of here." But I was nervous. I was like naming the experience, right? Like, I'm nervous about this.
Then I would do webinars for therapists for free. Talk about imposter syndrome, what it feels like, how it shows up, how to manage it. First time I did one was 100 therapists, I forgot to hit record. That was major imposter syndrome. Then I ended up speaking at a conference in California this fall about imposter syndrome, having major imposter syndrome. This stuff doesn't go away. Everyone that's listening out there, I just want you to hear that. It doesn't go away. But you take back some of the power, and the pain, and the paralyzation by literally just naming it, by naming it and talking about how you're experiencing it.
So, this example about the narcissism, that's a wonderful example to say, yeah, I don't know everything, right? Like, I'm not the, "Expert of all experts." But people like the way I'm relaying this information, they find it relatable. And that's what I found with my imposter syndrome stuff is like, I have imposter syndrome all the fucking time. That doesn't make me the expert in it, but because I'm able to talk about it and name it, and people can identify, I've been, "Crowned." The imposter syndrome expert in the therapy world.
And I think that if you don't try though if you all don't try to take a chance, or just start talking about stuff that you're passionate about, not going through that fine-tuning, I've got to find the perfect thing to start out with, I can't do a TikTok video until I have the absolute perfect user name or name for the video, like, get out of your own ways. Those are our own roadblocks that we create and social media marketing is just about capturing your personality.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, I love that man. So well said. That's such a common entrepreneur thing in general, the imposter syndrome, right? Like, every day, like, who am I to do this? [INDISCERNIBLE 00:30:53} I have 300,000 followers on TikTok, and I just think about that for a second sometimes I'm like, "What?" [CROSSTALK 00:31:07].
PATRICK CASALE: Like, what are they following me for? I don't have anything to offer them?
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: No, I'm just talking about digital marketing stuff. Why? Why are all these… I'm just a nobody, right? But it helps people and [CROSSTALK 00:31:13] in every industry.
PATRICK CASALE: And they're going to relate to your messaging and how you approach the messaging, right? Because I can already get the sense this is the first time you and have met. But there's some humility there. People pick up on that when we can talk about things, but we're doing it from a place of humility, I will admit when I'm feeling insecure, or anxious, or overwhelmed, or having the imposter syndrome situation.
When I start my coaching programs for therapists to start their businesses, I'm sitting there looking at 30 faces from all over the country and I'm thinking, "Why the fuck did they hire me? I don't know what I'm doing." Or like, I've definitely been a therapist sitting across from a client as they've been explaining their story, and I'm thinking in my head, "This person really needs to call a therapist. Oh, shit. I am a therapist." Like, that humility is important with this stuff. And it allows us to at least not let the imposter syndrome dictate and control.
But you're so right. I mean, 300,000 followers on your end, and I'm sure that will continue to grow. Any of us who have followings, even if it's one person, you're still self-conscious about what you're putting out there, right? Like, there's always room for criticism and feedback. And it creates a lot of vulnerability being seen by other people. And as human beings, we want to be liked. We don't want to be, like, torn down by any means.
So, everyone that's listening, there's a starting point to this. Austin didn't start with 300,000 followers on TikTok. I only started a podcast 15 weeks ago, like, but you have to put the one foot in front of the other, even if it's just a baby step, that's it. It really comes down to just that imperfect action, build the plane as you fly it, so to speak. Like, you're allowed to just put the idea out there, and then, figure out how to do it. It doesn't have to be perfected before you can put it out to the world.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, so well said, and one thing, in particular, to pay attention to with that following is that, pay more attention to the positive responses that you get. Because one thing that we see pretty often is that you might get 100 positive comments, but you get one negative one. And it seems all of those 100 people just like go away for a moment, and you feel like you've done something wrong because this one person is very loud, right? This is just a troll, in most cases. This is somebody who's personally insecure and is sitting in wherever their environment is, taking the time to, "This therapist is wrong because my personal anecdotal evidence proves differently." And like, that's a part of the game. So, take note of that, too no matter how many followers you have, you have 10 followers, you have 10 million followers, focus more on the people that you're actually making a positive impact in their lives and less so on these trolls and negative comments because most of the time they're coming from a place of insecurity.
PATRICK CASALE: So well said. We really fall into that insecurity comparison trap in social media and I know that that's the other side of this. And it's one of these necessary evils, so to speak, where it's like, we do need social media for a lot of reasons, especially, as entrepreneurs, but there are going to be some painful things that come with it too. One of which is actually what Austin just named is that sometimes people are going to just say things just to say things to tear you down. And if you can't focus on the fact that 99.9% of your following is positive, that you can only hyper-focus on the negative, it can be quite destructive in a lot of ways personally and professionally.
I'm actually thinking of the, I don't know if you ever watched South Park, but there was an episode where they're in like this World of Warcraft, and there's a guy in there, like-
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah.
PATRICK CASALE: …just down in his basement, like, eating pizza, and just like playing the game.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: It's awesome.
PATRICK CASALE: But you're so, so right. And also, at the end of the day, everyone, as you're following grows, the potential for people to not like what you have to say grows. I mean, that's just the reality. As your reputation continues to increase, as you continue to become more visible, in front and center, and in front of more people, not everyone's going to agree with your messaging, not everyone's going to like what you have to say. And that is okay, we do not exist in an echo chamber.
And for social media marketing, sometimes, you're going to get some feedback that you don't agree with, and that's also okay. So, I don't want to say tough skin, but ultimately, just realizing that if you get 99 emails that are positive, and one negative, and you only focus on the negative, that's an issue, and that's something you will need to work through as well.
And I can't say that I'm not guilty of that. Several of my Facebook friends who listen to this podcast know I definitely screenshot some hater emails where I'm like, "What the fuck is this?" And they're like, "Listen, dude. You got like 500 positive ones, it's okay, it's fine, it's going to be okay."
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, I love the people that challenge like, doctors, and scientists, and psychologists, right? With no experience whatsoever. And, like, I work a lot in the drug and alcohol treatment space, substance abuse space, so we'll do a video on like, generally, what alcohol withdrawal symptoms are like or what the timeline is like, right? And then, you'll get somebody in the comments like, "I drank for 20 years, and quit cold turkey, and had no experience. You're weak if you can't do that."
And it's like, "Oh, my… What?" You're basing your own personal experience on the rest of the world? Do you not understand how people are different, people are biologically different, people handle things differently, physically, emotionally, everybody is a unique individual, including you as the strange commenter, or a same thing, like, they'll say something like, "My brother went through this, my sister went through this, and you know, they didn't need therapy, so you're a quack." Or something like that, right? And it's just the nature of the game, the more people that you reach, the more haters that you're going to get.
And there's lots of strategies to, you know, work through that. If it really taxes you emotionally, you can just either turn off comments, I don't necessarily recommend this, but you can, if it gets to a certain point, you can always just not read the comments. I do recommend engaging with people regularly. But if it does get to that point emotionally for you, you can just not respond to the comments and just put out genuinely helpful information over and over again and play with that.
One thing I like to do, and this is easier said than done, sometimes, of course, emotionally. But I feel empathy for somebody that I know is an obvious troll, and I use it to my favor a little bit. So, what I'll do is when they post something like, "BS, you're full of shit, you don't know what you're talking about?" I'll ask him a question. I'll respond with a question. And so, what I'm doing is, I'm increasing my engagement on that post, right? So, I stir the conversation, and I get them to come back, and they're angrily typing up a response, right? Meanwhile, my videos playing in background over and over again. They came back to my video, they're engaging with it. I do this constantly. It works phenomenal. Like, "Well, why do you feel that way? What is that based on?" Like, "Tell me more, tell me more about your experience, right?" It's just [CROSSTALK 00:38:29]-
PATRICK CASALE: It's a very therapeutic, savvy approach right there to just continue reflecting that back to them and asking open-ended questions. Curiosity is important. I like that strategy quite a bit.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Sometimes you get them to turn around too. Like, if you leave a meaningful thought and question, sometimes, like, hours later they'll come back and I've seen them post something like, "I'm sorry, I wasn't in the right emotional state. I was drinking. It was an emotional response. I saw it, I had an emotional response, you're right, I'm sorry." And they back off a little bit. And you can do this with trouble sometimes.
PATRICK CASALE: Some good free advice right there in case any of you are concerned about suffering the slings and arrows, so to speak. And at the end of the day, I know we are human beings, we like positive reinforcement and validation, but you're not doing it for that for the most part, you're doing it just to get your message across and to make sure that you show up visibly, and consistently, and we're not, you know, immune to it.
I certainly look at my podcast downloads every Monday when it comes out and I'm like, "Oh shit, this is doing really well." Or like, "Why Isn't it doing well?" But at the end of the day that doesn't define who you are. If you're thinking about starting your social media accounts and starting to do some marketing, and some messaging, just really try hard to work through some of that, because it can be a little bit more like pulling the lever of a slot machine with that quick dopamine rush over, and over, and over again.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Oh, yeah.
PATRICK CASALE: This is such a helpful conversation. Honestly, I'd like to make this like a two- or three-part conversation, because there's so much that people that are listening could learn from this. I really appreciate all the insight, because we've had marketing professionals on before, but again, different perspectives, right? Like, your perspective and approach, especially, because you do work with people in the industry is going to be very different from people who don't know the industry at all. And for any of you that are listening and looking for social media marketing, I do think it's important that the person who's doing your marketing knows your ideal clientele and the people that you're trying to market to, because that makes a significant difference instead of someone that, you know, maybe they're used to just marketing restaurant industry stuff. Like, just be really aware, be really intentional about who you're hiring.
I see these questions in my Facebook group, and all the other ferret therapists Facebook groups all the time, "Who's got the name of social media marketers? Who has social media content planners that they like?" And I just want everyone to really think about who you're hiring and why. And don't always make it about the price point. Like, obviously, that matters. But marketing is about return on investment, too. You're not always going to see that in the short term, you're most likely going to see it in the long term. So, having to take that perspective as well.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, very important. Organic marketing, in particular, takes time sometimes. This is not advertising, it's not paid advertising, where you are targeting a specific person, and you have your cost per click. And as soon as you turn it off, the leads cut off, right? This is a much more long-term back-end strategy, which is really powerful, because when you build it out the right way it pays dividends, basically, forever for you.
Now, circling back to the beginning, yes, of course, it'll taper off if you don't continue to stay consistent with it. But it will generate you leads consistently if done right for a very long time.
PATRICK CASALE: Very well said. And that's a great way to end on a very positive note. I hope everyone that's listened can get a lot out of this conversation, because I think this is really informative, and also, paints a different light in terms of how you can view marketing, and networking, and social media management in general. So, Austin, I just want to thank you, and yeah, please tell the audience where they can find more of what you offer in case they do want to look you up if they want to hire you to do some of this stuff for them.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, Patrick, firstly, thank you so much for having me on. It was a pleasure, it was an awesome conversation. You can get a hold of me. My website is socialtypro.com. You can follow me on TikTok if you like @socialtypro, and I have a TikTok checklist if anybody's interested in that. It's free, it's a downloadable in exchange for an email address full transparency. That's socialtypro.com/tiktok-checklist. Maybe it'll be in the show notes, I don't know. But that'll give you really good pointers and a head start on how you can leverage your expertise, and market yourself, and everything that you do, and genuinely help people on TikTok.
PATRICK CASALE: Fantastic. And for everyone listening, everything that Austin just said will be in the show notes, so don't worry about any of that. Check out his free download, check out his TikTok account, and just follow some more really fantastic content. And what's the podcast name that you have too so we can [CROSSTALK 00:43:15] as well.
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: Yeah, yeah, yeah, thanks for mentioning that. It's a new podcast. So, it's going to be called Businesstok, all one-word, Businesstok. That should be dropping end of March. And I'm going to be interviewing business owners that are actually leveraging TikTok to generate business and sales. It's not just a vanity metric podcast. It's a tactical business podcast from businesses in every different industry, including therapists and substance abuse treatment centers, and in the behavioral health space.
PATRICK CASALE: Very cool. That sounds awesome. So, I imagine that it's going to be businesstok, T-O-K?
AUSTIN ARMSTRONG: T-O-K, yes, Businesstok, T-O-K.
PATRICK CASALE: Very, very cool. So, everyone, keep an eye out for that at the end of March. And yeah, really fantastic conversation. If you want to find more of me go to allthingspractice.com where you can find private practice coaching, retreats, podcast episodes, and all sorts of free resources including the free private practice startup guide. If you're on Facebook, join the All Things Private Practice Facebook group, the All Things Private Practice Podcast, listen, download, subscribe, and share, and we will see you next week.
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