a.k.a Why I deleted my Social Media Accounts, My Blog, and the Newsletter Sign-Up Form on My Website. A Guest Post by Natalie Moore, MA, MFT Intern

(A note from Allison: Today I’m featuring a guest blog from Natalie Moore. She’s a therapist in California who has REALLY done a great job using her voice and being seen. She has been a member of the Abundance Practice-Builders Facebook Group and you may have heard her being interviewed on this episode of the Selling the Couch podcast about networking! My favorite topic! I love that we have the same philosophies about networking and yet each of our recent interviews on networking (mine’s here) give different ideas and some different perspectives. Anyway, this blog post from Natalie really hit home for me. I ebb and flow with my work, sometimes kicking ass at my goals to leave work at work and being really present when I’m home and sometimes getting caught up and completing “just one more task” after we put our daughter to bed. I think Natalie’s take is right on. Especially for those of us who want to get it “right.” “Right” is going to look different for everyone. And that’s awesome. So now I present…)

Marketing Your Private Practice a.k.a. Why I Deleted My Social Media Accounts, My Blog, and the Newsletter Sign Up Form on My Website

Truth is, I didn’t have time for all that. In starting up my private practice I wanted to take every bit of advice that was given to me by Allison, Melvin, Kelly, Miranda, Joe, Julie, Debb and Tamara. Turns out, I don’t have 24-hours-a-day to be updating every social media account, having 5 meetings a week, seeing clients, going to and planning events and doing all of my necessary self-care to ensure I’m doing my best work. It’s simply unrealistic.

In trying to do as much as I possibly could to promote my private practice, I had taken on WAY too much. I got to a point where my calendar was full of commitments that I was too exhausted to attend, much less have the energy to contribute anything of value to the conversations there. I had fallen short on more than a few goals I had set for myself months ago, and had a to-do list that was growing instead of getting shorter. I finally realized that if you have 1,000 plates spinning in the air, a few are bound to drop.

In my effort to do “everything right” for my practice, I’d fallen into a trap of taking on far too much. Which is quite easy to do these days. If you listen to all of the private practice consultants’ (mind you, very well-intentioned) advice and execute it, you “should” be:

1. Maintaining and updating the six major social media sites daily with different content on each one, responding to friend/follow requests, answering comments, etc. on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest and Google+.

2. Meeting with doctors, teachers, other therapists, people in health/wellness fields and various other potential referral sources.

3. Attending trainings and events.

4. Giving talks.

5. Meeting with guidance counselors at local schools.

6. Putting up flyers at local businesses near your office.

7. Blogging original content once a week and posting blogs onto the 6 social media sites.

8. Securing and executing media interviews.

9. Optimizing SEO by updating website often.

10. Writing, designing and disseminating a monthly newsletter with original content.

…all of this, while juggling your private practice clients, possibly a second job to cover expenses and some folks raising families.

PHEW! That’s a whole lot of stuff.

Here’s the good news:
You don’t need to be doing all of this.
It’s just TOO MUCH.
What you need to do is pick a few areas in which you REALLY shine and devote more time and energy in those areas, and forget the rest. Do you love writing? Speaking publicly? Meeting one-on-one with people? Pick the few activities you truly enjoy and excel at, and let those be your areas of focus.
Let’s be honest – who has the time, energy or interest in doing all of the ten marketing strategies I listed above? No one, unless you don’t sleep or have hired a social media manager. So instead of doing ten things poorly, and being disappointed in yourself, why not cut back and do three things really well, and feel proud of the headway you’ve made?
Still think you can juggle six accounts, a blog and a newsletter? Okay, think of it this way: what’s better? Having several social media presences, with a few hundred followers on each account, posting average content once a week, getting moderate interaction on each site and having little time to respond promptly to posts? Or having one social media account with a thousand or more followers, posting top-notch content daily, with high rates of interaction and the ability to respond rapidly and meaningfully to people who comment on your posts? I believe that the latter offers more of a return on time investment than the former, without the nagging stress of wondering “how long ago was my last tweet?!” and questioning if you’re still relevant.
I was accustomed to that social media-induced anxiety and I’d had enough. I clicked “delete” on all six of my accounts that had over 3,000 followers/friends between them. It was an act of liberation. Now that I’ve freed myself from the obligations of social media accounts, blogging and newsletter-ing, I have restored peace and balance to my life. I can focus on the areas that really fulfill me and get me clients: focusing on real relationships, public speaking and writing editorials for other people’s audiences.
[Insert deep breath here]
Now’s it’s your turn. It’s the time to take an honest inventory of what’s been working for you and what’s been weighing you down.
Does speaking in a 140-character limit on Twitter about the field you’re most passionate about make your stomach churn, or challenge you to speak in aphorisms?
Does conveying the work you do in therapy through imagery on Instagram make you feel like a phony, or does it satisfy your graphic design fix?
Are you morally opposed to social media in general due to its tendency to feed the ego, or do you enjoy adding a layer of depth to a scene that’s otherwise laden with selfies?
My motive here is not to convince you to add or remove any specific element to your marketing strategy, but to get you to ask yourself which aspects of it reflect you accurately and which ones feel inauthentic to you.
Take some time to reflect on this. Which marketing campaigns have felt like a total chore, and which ones seem like something you’d like to do anyway? Open up your calendar and see what you’re excited about doing for your practice and give yourself permission to delete the rest.
We got into private practice so we could have balance and enjoy our work. Why not take the opportunity to start enjoying it today? There’s no one stopping you.
Namaste,
Natalie

Natalie Moore, M.A., MFT Intern is a holistic psychotherapist in private practice in Pasadena, Ca. She incorporates mindfulness and somatic practices into her work to help clients restore peace and balance to their lives. Natalie specializes in working with survivors of trauma, young adults living with anxiety and children with AD/HD. You can learn more about her practice at awakentheself.com

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