How to NOT Burn Out While Using Social Media with Alex Marshall

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Alex Marshall started coaching in February 2020…I think I just heard the collective groan. Alex did too, which is why she turned to social media — specifically Instagram — as a way to gain followers and leads. And while most of her leads still come through social media, in the intervening 3 years since she started coaching, she want on a journey that nearly lead to burnout and leaving social altogether. Today she’s back in a way that works best for her, and we discuss how you, dear creator, can have a healthy relationship with social media too. Plus in the Pro show, we discuss ChatGPT. It was newly hot when we recorded. It was fun listening back given where it is today.

Top Takeaways

  • It’s easy to put too much pressure on yourself when you feel you need to post every single day, or that your whole life is content. But you need to do what’s best for you.
  • It can also feel like you need to be everywhere. Alex recommends picking one platform that does well for you and stick with it for a while. For her it’s Instagram. For me it’s LinkedIn.
  • Don’t be in an all or nothing mindset. It’s OK to miss a day, or a couple. It’s OK to only post in one place. And it’s OK to not share everything you do.

Show Notes

Transcript

Joe Casabona: Alex Marshall started coaching in February 2020. I think I just heard a collective groan. Alex did too, which is why she turned to social media, specifically Instagram as a way to gain followers and leads. And while most of her leads still come through social media, in the intervening three years since she started coaching, she went on a journey that nearly led to burnout and leaving social media altogether. Today, she’s back in a way that works best for her. And we’ll discuss how you deer creator can have a healthy relationship with social media as well.

Plus, in the Pro show, we talk about ChatGPT. It was newly hot when we recorded and it was fun listening back given where it is today. So I’m really excited for you to hear this episode.

Look for these top takeaways. It’s easy to put too much pressure on yourself when you feel you need to post every single day. Alex recommends picking one platform. So keep an eye out for that as well. And don’t be in an all-or-nothing mindset. It’s okay to miss a day or a couple.

Today’s episode is brought to you by TextExpander, Groundhogg, and LearnDash. You’ll hear about them later on in the show. And a quick content warning, there is a bit of salty language in this episode. So if you are listening in public or with the kiddies around, maybe put some headphones in. But that’s it. Let’s get to the intro and then the interview.

[00:01:48] <music>

Intro: Hey everybody, and welcome to How I Built It, the podcast where you get free coaching calls from successful creators. Each week you get actionable advice on how you can build a better content business to increase revenue and establish yourself as an authority. I’m your host Joe Casabona. Now let’s get to it.

[00:02:11] <music>

Joe Casabona: All right, I am here with Alex Marshall of Alex Marshall Coaching, owner and CEO. Nutritionist coach is what we were talking about in the pre-show or at least nutrition coaching is what I wrote down here. We’re going to be talking about social media and burnout, and in the Pro show, we’re going to be talking about ChatGPT and our impressions as we record this in January of 2023.

Alex, how are you today?

Alex Marshall: I am doing great. How are you? I’m fantastic. Thanks for coming on the show. We had an excellent pre-show that I didn’t record, so that’s just for us, about South Park and other things.

Alex Marshall: Oh, man, we covered a lot of bases.

Joe Casabona: We covered a lot.

Alex Marshall: The Dr. Oz.

Joe Casabona: Yeah, Dr. Oz. He was at Wegner’s or whatever however he mispronounced both of those.

Alex Marshall: Oh Wegmans?

Joe Casabona: Wegner’s is what he said. I think it’s Wegmans, Redner’s. What a… well, anyway.

Alex Marshall: Crudités.

Joe Casabona: Yeah crudités, of course. Every day people will want to buy crudités. Anyway, we had a really good pre-show, and it’s a bummer for everybody who wasn’t us. But I’m really excited to talk to you today. We met at Craft & Commerce last year. And I wanted to specify that we are recording this in January 2023. Because who knows, by April when this episode comes out ChatGPT might have taken over the internet and might actually just replace this whole podcast with whatever it wants to replace it with. These are the questions now.

Alex Marshall: It’s exploding so quickly. I just heard about it in the last couple of weeks. And since then, I’ve seen so many posts about it. So I’m very curious to see what will happen in April.

Joe Casabona: I know. Likewise. But we’ll talk about that more in the Pro show.

Alex Marshall: Mm-hmm.

Joe Casabona: I reached out to you because I thought you were doing a great job on posting stories on social media and really interesting, engaging content. I’m not your target audience, but I still thought it was like… I just followed… Actually, after Craft & Commerce-

Alex Marshall: It’s my dog, to be honest. Did you like seeing my dogs?

Joe Casabona: I liked seeing your dogs. You know, actually fun fact that longtime listeners will know. I am not an animal person. I know. If you want to hang up right now it’s fine.

Alex Marshall: I mean, I considered it.

Joe Casabona: But yeah, really good content.

Alex Marshall: Thank you.

Joe Casabona: I started following a lot of health people inexplicably, not because I wanted to get healthy. Because I got connected with you and then Shante who was a guest on the podcast later last year. So I just followed a bunch of people.

But I feel like I engage with your content more than most because it’s very approachable… You know, like, “Here’s some stuff you could buy at Costco.” Like healthy stuff. Or “Here’s alternatives.” Or “Hey, like you can eat that piece of cake. It’s okay.”

Alex Marshall: Yeah, totally.

Joe Casabona: So I really liked that. So when I pitched you on Instagram, social media selling, you pitched the idea of burnout, which I thought was a great idea, because we’re both in the creative economy and there’s the conventional wisdom of like, post every day and engage every day and be on every platform. And that’s too much.

Alex Marshall: It’s a lot. It’s a lot.

Joe Casabona: So why don’t you tell me kind of your story on that. What were you doing? What social platforms were you on? And when did you realize it was like too much?

Alex Marshall: I started coaching, in general, this business in February of 2020.

Joe Casabona: Nice.

Alex Marshall: Great time. Great time. I quit my job, had no income, and I was trying to make it.

Joe Casabona: Great.

Alex Marshall: So it was definitely very overwhelming. I was pretty much only using Instagram at that time to just post daily… Not even daily, just live pictures. You know, the heavily filtered traditional Instagram back way back when.

Joe Casabona: This is my brunch-

Alex Marshall: Yeah, exactly.

Joe Casabona: …with the moonlight.

Alex Marshall: So that transition into, “Hey, this account is now going to be a huge source of potential income. This is how you are going to almost rely on your business surviving.” A lot of pressure there. And obviously, there’s the email and these other platforms. Like social media was, and still kind of is the tip of the pyramid. That’s where most of my leads come through and everything. So I do very much rely on that.

So there’s a lot of pressure behind it. You know, of course, as a new business owner, some of the first people you follow on Instagram are like, how to grow your business and how to do social media. And very quickly, at least for me, it was very overwhelming because everyone says something different. Like this person says you should post every day, this person says you should post a reel when reels came out later, a reel and a static post every day, and then show up in your stories 15 times. And then this other person says three times a week is fine.

I mean, similarly to the health world that I’m in, this person says carbs are bad, this person says carbs are good, right? So there’s just a lot of conflicting information.

The other thing I find very ironic is a lot of people, the accounts, bigger accounts on social media that talk to you about how to grow your social media following, I feel like that’s such a just cherry-picked niche. Because it’s like, of course, you are going to be able to grow easily on social media when you’re talking about how to grow on social media because everyone on social media wants to know that information. Not everyone on social media wants to know how to shop at Costco, right?

Joe Casabona: Right.

Alex Marshall: So there’s a lot of that comparison of, well, this person… I don’t know if you follow Brock Johnson or his mom or whatever, but they’re huge like how to make your Instagram grow. And he’s like, I posted a reel every day and got like 30,000 followers. It’s like, cool. Well, you’re talking about how to do Instagram. That will apply to every person on Instagram. That’s very different. So there’s a lot of that comparison trap that happens of like, “Well, how come I didn’t get 30,000 followers?” Do you know what I mean?

Joe Casabona: Yeah. It’s like people who say they coach people on how to coach when they’ve never coached anybody. It’s like the same thing. I’m gonna teach you how to be an effective coach. I’ve never done it before, but I’ll teach you.

Alex Marshall: Like, “I know how to do it.” And then on top of that, you have all these other business owners that are like, “Oh, follow my things to make six figures in your first month.” And you’re like, Oh, what? So there’s a lot to wade through.

So for me, I think I was pretty, pretty consistent-ish about posting at first. And it also can be overwhelming because there’s so much stuff that you know and you want to talk about, but getting it out in concisely and digestible and searchable and it has to be all these things so it can apply to the what the algorithm is favoring at the time, it just was a lot.

And then I had other projects come up, I got more clients. I was, I think, subconsciously holding myself to this standard of like, You have to show up on social media. You have to do this thing. You have to launch this product. And that entails all these things and all these different strategies.

It was so much to the point where I was just avoiding doing it. Like I just stopped posting pretty much. I still kind of always show up on my stories with my dogs or sharing funny memes or whatever but actual posting on my feed halted. I think I didn’t post for like two or three months because it was just overwhelming.

Joe Casabona: So let me ask you, did that negatively impact your business?

Alex Marshall: Yes.

Joe Casabona: Okay.

Alex Marshall: Yeah and no. I wouldn’t say I was super negative, but things definitely slowed down. Last year, specifically, like mid to late 2022, I was in this other group program about… It was a very small group program about creating and launching a course. We all kind of created a course together and launched it. Some people didn’t launch at the same time, they pushed it out or whatever. But for the most part, it was that extra accountability.

At that time, that was so time intensive. Like creating a course isn’t super easy. On top of buying a house and moving and some pretty gnarly family issues, people in the hospital, you know, a lot of stuff happening. Like it was just a lot.

Joe Casabona: Right.

Alex Marshall: So I brought on two assistant coaches last year as well. One in February, one few months later, I believe. We all kind of had some clients, but it definitely got to the point where it’s like, Okay, there’s a direct correlation with, I’m not showing up on social media as much and my income is now suffering because of it.

It felt like, you know, this downward spiral of like, “Well, if I don’t post on social media, I’m not gonna get any income, but also I’m so overwhelmed and burnt out with social media. So how am I going to get this income and what am I going to do?” It was just a lot.

And I would put all this pressure on myself of, oh, I have to have this newsletter once a week. At one point, I was like, I want it to be like three times a week. And then I have to post on social media and do these things and show up and also… Your whole life is content basically. Like take a picture of your food and show your groceries. And I would be on Instagram seeing other people do it, and seeing the posts that they were making, they were so simple and I’m like, “Well, shit, that’s so easy. Why am I making this so complicated?”

When reels first kind of were huge and coming out and everyone was lip-synching to songs and training audio, for some reason in my brain, that’s what I had to do. But I’m like, “I don’t want to dance. I don’t want to do the things.” But then I’d see someone do a reel that’s just text over a moving background and that was a reel. And I’m like, Oh shit, that’s so easy. But it still was just so overwhelming for me that I still just didn’t do it.

It got to the point where that pressure I was putting on myself of I have to post and have to post this way and make it be easy, but also it should be entertainment and educational. And it got to the point where I was just like, “You know what, I am just taking social media off of my plate for a while. And if I post, cool, but I’m not going to hold myself to some standard.”

That was immediately a huge relief just by being like, “That is just not going to be a goal for right now. It needs to be again at some point but for right now, my energy and time is occupied elsewhere with very important life things. And my clients of course. Those are always in the priority, like taking care of current clients.

And then from there, I’d be kind of scrolling making breakfast and I’d hear this really funny audio and be like, “I could do this one funny reel about it.” And then I would do it there on the spot and post it. Like there was no strategy to my Instagram at all. Like I would stop what I was doing… Also hashtag ADHD, like that helps. I would stop what I was doing, make a post and then go about my day.

I wish I could say I’m back at this point where I’m posting all the time and consistent and have this whole strategy. But I’m not, at least in January.

Joe Casabona: I mean, I think the moral of the story, right, is you don’t necessarily have to. You need to do what works for you. Because if it doesn’t work for you, then you’re not going to do it. And like you said, you’re going to put so much pressure on yourself.

I had multiple guests in 2021 that were like, “You got to be on Tik Tok.” And I was like, “All right, I got to be on TikTok.” First I would do these cigar walks. So every afternoon, I would go, I would walk because it’s healthy, and then I would smoke a cigar to offset that because I don’t want it to be too much. But then as I finished my cigar, I would sit down in my backyard and I would give a 62nd tip on podcasting.

And that was super great for a while until the day I didn’t take a walk. And people were like, “Well, you gotta batch that.” And I’m Like, Am I gonna get like five different shirts to wear and then record five different…” That’s too much work for me.

And then people like, “Oh, well, you got to do short form video and Twitter and LinkedIn in blah, blah, blah.” And I’m like, You know what, like LinkedIn seems to, in January, seems to be working for me. So I’m going to try LinkedIn for a while. Maybe I’ll repurpose to Twitter. Instagram is really just for me posting my cocktail concoctions and cigars.

Alex Marshall: I love it.

Joe Casabona: It’s for all my vices, I guess. Follow me to follow the vices.

Alex Marshall: I think that’s a really good point, too, about like there’s so many different social media platforms. I didn’t download TikTok until mid-last year, (a) because I knew it would just suck me in. And I was like, “I don’t need another scroll app.” My husband had it for a while and a couple times a week, we would sit down and he would just show me all the funny videos he had found.

Joe Casabona: My friend sends me funny TikToks. He is like my TikTok.

Alex Marshall: That was the extent of my TikTok usage. I downloaded it solely for the purpose that I saw a video on Instagram. And it was that Reading Rainbow filter with the planets and everything and had their face.

Joe Casabona: Oh, yeah, yeah.

Alex Marshall: And I had a really funny idea for that video but the filter was only on TikTok. So I literally downloaded TikTok solely so I could use that filter.

Joe Casabona: That’s awesome.

Alex Marshall: And I do have a TikTok and I’ve posted some things, but it’s like pick one that seems to have the best ROI for you, whether that’s LinkedIn, whether that’s TikTok, whether that’s Facebook, whatever, and go all in on that first and then worry about once you have the bandwidth, the mental bandwidth, to think about repurposing into other things.

You mentioned batching content too and that’s a huge tip. I think for some people, it works. For other people… Like for me, I’ve tried it multiple times and I can’t. I have found that it works better for me to have the idea for the post… I do have a capturing system—I use Notion for that—where if I have an idea for a post, like a status swipe post or whatever, I can capture it, at least, there, jot down any kind of note and then revisit it when I feel like I want to do that post.

But it’s easier for me to be like, “Okay, I have this idea for this post or I know this one I want to do. I’m going to do the caption. I’m gonna do the thing in Canva, post it.” And it seems to be a lot harder for me personally to sit there and make a bunch of Canva graphics for a bunch of posts or a bunch of reels, and then write all the captions. It’s harder for my brain to wrap itself around. Again, I had to take that pressure off of myself to batch. I might try it again one day, but for now, that’s just not what works.

Joe Casabona: I feel the same way. Especially because I do threads or the carousel posts on LinkedIn now, which are, you know, a solid, I don’t know, 300, 200 words, maybe. Like 10 tweeps.

Alex Marshall: I haven’t been on LinkedIn for a while. I’ll probably check mine.

Joe Casabona: I mean, take your own advice and see what works best for you. But LinkedIn has been way better for me than every other social media platform so far.

Alex Marshall: Interesting. I think the big thing to remember is figure out where your clients are, you and go there first.

Joe Casabona: Absolutely.

Alex Marshall: I got one client on LinkedIn, I will say that. Randomly. Like she happened to message me. I thought it was a spammer at first, I almost didn’t respond. But my clients aren’t really on LinkedIn. They’re on Instagram. So that’s where I tend to… And Facebook for the most part too, a Facebook group that I’m in. I don’t put pressure on myself to do TikTok. I can probably find some leads on TikTok if I really tried, but I don’t have space for it right now. So it’s just my zone-out app for the time being.

Joe Casabona: Absolutely. I agree wholeheartedly there. Oh, yeah, batching doesn’t really… It takes a lot of energy for me to do one post. I have other stuff to do.

Alex Marshall: Yeah. I do follow a couple people that are open about their strategy with batching. That’s just all they do in one day. They give themselves a hold… Like, they’ll do some admin type stuff, too but for the most part, it’s like that day is the Canva creation day, the next day, she’ll go in and add all the captions, that kind of stuff.

And I’ve noticed too because you mentioned like, “Oh, am I supposed to change shirts and stuff like that?” she does not. If you can go through a thread and see like these definitely were recorded on the same day at the same time.

Joe Casabona: Oh, oh, I see.

Alex Marshall: But as a consumer, I don’t care at all.

Joe Casabona: Right. Who cares?

Alex Marshall: So like catching yourself in that where it’s like we can care, but do the people consuming the content know or notice or care? And having that-

Joe Casabona: If they notice it means they’re watching all your videos, right? Maybe that’s a good thing.

Alex Marshall: Yeah, right? So it was interesting and kind of flattering for me too at the beginning, when you were like, Oh, your content… you seem like you’ve got it all together and you’re doing the things. It’s a good kind of reality check for me because I’m all up in my head about like, “I’m not posting enough. People can tell that I’m not posting enough or consistently.” But you, the consumer, are like, “Hey, I love your shit.” And I’m like, “Oh, I guess it’s not as big as I thought I guess.”

[00:22:08] <music>

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[00:25:58] <music>

Joe Casabona: Thank you for sharing that story because I think it really resonates. Because you’re right, there’s ‘be everywhere’ mentality, there’s the ‘be consistent every day’ mentality. I had Marley Majcher on the show. She has a book called, But Are You Making Money? But Are You Making Money? I think is what it’s called. It was Episode 301. She talks about like, do the things that make you money.

Like me posting on Twitter, one time it builds my mailing list by like 40 people. So like, great. Some of those people became customers. But the thing that works for me is like webinar, pitch at the end; or guest presentation, pitch at the end. LinkedIn seems to be making good connections with me. So those are the things that I’ll keep doing.

Like you said, I don’t know that people who are serious about turning their podcast into a business are on TikTok. But on LinkedIn where there are a bunch of marketing people and the podcasting is growing, that’s probably where my people are.

Alex Marshall: Yeah. I think his name is Khe Hy. He was one of the main speakers at Craft & Commerce.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. Khe Hy I think.

Alex Marshall: I loved his talk about the 10k Work or whatever where it’s like… And I’ve heard this from other business coaches say it in different ways. It’s like, do the things that are going to move the needle. And it’s that same type of thing about like, where are you getting the best ROI for your actions?

For me, the newsletters, not really. So I put them to the backburner a little bit. And it’s like I know the Instagram content is where a lot of… Like I’ll have people on discovery calls that I have with potential clients that are like, “I loved your post on like blah, blah, blah from like two months ago.” And I’m like, “Oh, I forgot about that one.”

Like, I did a post on [neum? 00:28:12] that is consistently… I just reposted it, which that’s the other thing. Like, repurpose your shit. Even if you posted it last year… I literally just went through, changed the graphics and the branding to match current stuff, copy-pasted the entire caption, maybe changed a couple things, changed call to action, and reposted it, and it again took off and did really well. So that was a huge one for me too where it’s like, just repost it. People don’t care because you’re always getting new people into your audience that probably didn’t scroll back that far.

Joe Casabona: That’s the same thing with newsletters too. I worry about sending the same thing too many times in newsletter and I’m like, “Getting new people. I sent this six months ago, people probably forgot. They need to hear it again.”

Alex Marshall: What do you think about like open rates? I mean, if you have a 30% open rate, maybe someone in the 70% didn’t see it the first time.

Joe Casabona: Right. Right.

Alex Marshall: And same thing with your Instagram stories. I have like 2,100 followers at this time. I think I’m lucky to go over 200 people on my story views.

Joe Casabona: So you can feel like you’re repetitive and posting about this thing you’re launching every day but like nine-tenths of the people in your audience didn’t see it yesterday. So maybe like five extra people will see it today or something, right?

Joe Casabona: Yeah.

Alex Marshall: So it’s just that kind of stuff where it’s like calling you on your own beliefs. And the same type of thing I do with clients wading through all this nutrition advice, like what their 75 hard and there’s all these things, figure out the aspects… Try not to be in this all-or-nothing mindset where it’s like you either have to post every day or I don’t post at all. Because that’s where I was at.

I feel like I can’t post every day, it’s I’m just going to shut down and not post at all. But it’s finding that middle ground. It’s saying, Okay, I like what this person says about posting and that frequency. I don’t like how they say it needs to be every day. I like what this person says about this part of batching but not like… So it’s like, pick out the things that apply to you the individual and what works for you.

Because the other thing to remember too is that Instagram growth account, that’s their job. A lot of times my clients they compare themselves to this other influencer about health and fitness. And it’s like that person doesn’t have kids. This is their job. And you have three children, you have two jobs and you have a husband or spouse to feed basically.

Joe Casabona: To be present for.

Alex Marshall: Totally different circumstances. And it’s not fair to compare yourself there. So it’s like the person who’s telling you to post on Instagram every day, that’s their job is to post on Instagram every day. There’s a lot of people that this social media thing maybe is a side gig and they don’t have the bandwidth to post every day. So there’s a lot of that I think that comes up.

And just having that awareness to like take a step back and really think about, like, where is this pressure and belief coming from? Am I putting this pressure on myself? Or is this a legitimate like if I don’t do this something bad will actually happen? Or is that just a story that your brain has come up with that you’re believing now?

Joe Casabona: Right. I love that. Because what it is is… That was too many “is”. I’m sorry. What this is is people are saying this works for me therefore it will absolutely work for you.

Alex Marshall: Which never works in any contest. Ever.

Joe Casabona: The first business I started out of college I met with… I was like in this business incubator and so I got to meet with all the established businesses. And one guy I met with said, “If you want to be successful, you need to wear a suit every day.” And I’m like, “What year is it?” I wore a sweat suit the next day. Like, “Here’s the suit.”

Alex Marshall: It’s a suit. It’s in the name.

Joe Casabona: I need to be comfortable. I’m not meeting with the President. And then the next guy I met with was like, “You know, you just gotta bang on the phones all day and all night and call people.” And I’m like, “Are you aware that email exists? Are you aware that that exists today?”

Alex Marshall: That’s a thing, yeah.

Joe Casabona: “The thing that worked for you in 1980 is not going to work for me today in 2010.” Just do the thing that works best for you. This is the takeaway, right?

Alex Marshall: Mm-hmm. And I think-

Joe Casabona: Oh, yeah, go ahead.

Alex Marshall: I was just gonna say, set your own expectations and make sure they’re realistic for you and your circumstances. I think that was the biggest thing for me is that I was putting all this pressure on myself. Like, yes, it was coming from the other people I was following. But I then crafted this belief and this expectation for myself without really considering or taking into account like 90% of my brain space was occupied with some really heavy life shit, like really heavy stuff.

Like I said, once I just made that decision of like, “I’m taking this off of my plate. If I post, cool. If I don’t, that’s okay, too,” I like immediately felt this wave of like, Okay, I can breathe a little bit.

Joe Casabona: It really sounds like as soon as you took that pressure off yourself, you started coming up with fresh ideas. Like, you know, the cooking breakfast when you saw the reel, and then you did one right there. You can’t do that when you’re in a state of burnout or near burnout, right? Because you’re just thinking like, Oh, this doesn’t matter or I can’t even give myself the energy to do this.

Alex Marshall: It’s not going to be perfect and it’s not going to be every day so why even bother?

Joe Casabona: Yeah, why even bother? Exactly.

Alex Marshall: It’s finding that middle ground that allows you to have that creativity and have that little moment of like, “Oh, this would be a really good idea.” And giving myself permission to do it on the spot even though it’s not what your plan was. Something’s better than nothing.

Joe Casabona: If it resonates with people… Something’s better than nothing. Or just like what you said. Well, what you say in your social media posts about like… I think this was you. Like, just because you have cake at dinner, it doesn’t mean your diet’s gone forever. Just next meal is the next time you have the opportunity to make a good choice or whatever.

Alex Marshall: Yeah, totally.

Joe Casabona: So I really like that. Set your own expectations and make sure they work for you and your circumstances. And serve your audience, right? Like if you manage those expectations, your audience is not going to care, like I said.

Can I tell you? I bought videobombed my YouTube channel the other day. I uploaded a bunch of videos two weeks prior. They’re all my old courses that I’m no longer selling. And I purposely waited two weeks that they wouldn’t show up on the subscriber tab. So like I had them unlisted and then I made them public. And that’s what triggers listing on the subscriber tab. So anybody who is subscribed to me on YouTube saw like 40 videos without thumbnails. Just like frames from the video. And I was like, “I’m really sorry.” But you know what? Most people were like, “Hey, glad to see you’re back on YouTube.”

Alex Marshall: Like, they don’t care. That’s the thing.

Joe Casabona: I got like 10 unsubscribes. But those are probably people who forgot I existed and they’re like, “Oh, I don’t care about this guy anymore.

Alex Marshall: Or bots.

Joe Casabona: Or bots. Yeah, exactly.

Alex Marshall: The other thing too, really quick, is like, again, with those expectations, (a) I can… And I’ve seen this from other people too that have much larger audiences on Instagram. But you can do polls in your Instagram stories. And I asked my people, I was like, “Do you guys prefer reels, like the really short reels or do you prefer the longer educational reels? Or do you prefer a swipe post with a really long caption or swipe post?” Like an overwhelming majority said they like the swipe post with a really short caption.

So that in and of itself, it’s like, well, it’s frustrating because Instagram’s obviously pushing reels. They’re trying to be TikTok. So that’s what they will push out. But my audience like the static posts. So that took some pressure off of me. I made that decision of like, Okay, well, I’m not really going to pressure myself to make reels then because I want to cater to my specific audience, and this is what they said they like.” So that was helpful.

And then the other thing again about those static posts, I can get really in my head about, like, I have to make it pretty and have all these graphics and has to like have all these things. And then I’ll see someone else where it’s literally just their posts are a solid color background with white text on it. And that’s it. And they do phenomenally well. Or they’ll post it just like a tweet, where it’s like-

Joe Casabona: That’s me. That’s my post.

Alex Marshall: …where am I overcomplicating? And putting this pressure on myself to show up a certain way when it really doesn’t matter? There might be two or three people that are like, I love the really pretty graphic ones. But for the most part, they care about what’s actually in the post.

Joe Casabona: Right, the actual content.

Alex Marshall: Like, who cares if it’s got pretty backgrounds or a frickin black and white? Literally no-

Joe Casabona: Look at Craigslist. Craigslist is still one of the most popular websites on the internet and it still looks like it did in 1990.

Alex Marshall: Seriously. Yeah, exactly. Same thing with Twitter too. That hasn’t really… I mean, I’m not on Twitter, but it hasn’t really changed. It’s still just text.

Joe Casabona: Yeah. There’s some pictures now. But yeah, exactly. Well, we’re coming up on time and I want to ask you two questions to close things out. The first is you said you get a lot of leads from social media. What does that look like? Do people like slide into your DMS and you schedule a call? How does that usually work?

Alex Marshall: It kind of varies. Sometimes on Facebook in that group that I’m in, I have full permission to solicit my services, which is nice.

Joe Casabona: Nice.

Alex Marshall: So we can do that, drop links in there. Otherwise, I have the link in my bio thing, the linktr.ee. Sometimes people… like I don’t hear from it at all from them and I’ll just like get an email that they applied for something.

Joe Casabona: Nice.

Alex Marshall: And I’m like, “Oh, okay, cool.” Other times, they’ll send me a message and be like, Hey, what’s up with this package? Or how can I work with you or whatever. I will say too yesterday I was out running some errands and I went to a smoothie shop and they had a little business card holder thing there, and I was like, “I have some business cards with me. So I dropped them in there.” Not even an hour later, shit you not, someone called me and they’re like, “I saw your card at the smoothie shop and I want to know more about your coaching.” And I was like, “What?”

Joe Casabona: What? That’s amazing.

Alex Marshall: So don’t underestimate business cards. Still in 2022, don’t underestimate it.

Joe Casabona: I love that.

Alex Marshall: I got another client from a business card at a Chiropractor office one time too. You just never know. So it varies to answer your question. And if someone’s listening and they are like, “I want to know about this person,” don’t… I always say my DMs are open. I don’t have like 100,000 followers where I have to really moderate my DMs. So like, “Bring it on.”

Joe Casabona: Awesome. I love that. All right. And my final question here is, where are you at now? I usually say like, what do you recommend for people to get started? But I think we covered that really well. So where are you at now with your social media stuff? Are you kind of doing that as you think of it? Is there some sort of strategy right now?

Alex Marshall: For the most part is as it comes to me. Like I said, I do have a way to capture ideas in Notion. Sometimes I might go in and do that post. But for the most part, it is kind of spurred in the moment, or it’s like, “Oh, I’ve had this idea in my head for a couple of days, and I’ve had it listed, I want to do this post now.”

I am getting ready to launch a group program again. So my content will be a little bit more focused towards that. And I did buy for Black Friday some templates for that.

Joe Casabona: Nice.

Alex Marshall: So I’ll kind of explore those, see if I can tweak them. And then I think I’m really going to try to leverage that ChatGPT to try to help at least get something started and then kind of tweak it.

Joe Casabona: Awesome. Love that. I’ll share one tip that’s working for me right now. I’m in like a little co-working meeting every morning at 8:30 Eastern time, and we all just kind of like work on our LinkedIn posts right there. Like we just kind of do it in the morning. And that’s how we start our day and then we move on to other stuff. That’s been working for me.

So I think I’m gonna try to do that. Just like first thing I do when I get to my office is like work on LinkedIn post, it’s out of the way, and then it’s whatever.

Alex Marshall: I like that. I’ve tried to do that kind of like body doubling co-working. We’ve talked about it with my coaches and we’ve tried. We did one and we just ended up bullshitting most of the time.

Joe Casabona: Luckily there’s somebody in our group who keeps me in line because it’s definitely like Joe’s the problem here.

Alex Marshall: The Taylor Swift songs: Hi, I’m the problem.

Joe Casabona: Yeah, exactly. Hi, it’s me. I’m the problem. It’s me.

Alex Marshall: I love it.

Joe Casabona: Awesome. Well, Alex, this has been amazing. If people want to learn more about you, especially your coaching services, where can they find more?

Alex Marshall: Best place to just go through and totally stalk, all the things is definitely Instagram. That’s where I post most of the things. It’s @Alexnmarshall, N as in Nicole. You’ll probably link it in show notes.

Joe Casabona: I will. That’s my next feel.

Alex Marshall: Perfect.

Alex Marshall: From there, like I said, you can slide into my DMs. I have a bunch of highlights about different things. Of course, I have a highlight for my dogs, and all that fun stuff. That’s the best place to find me.

Joe Casabona: Awesome. Well, I will link to that and everything we talked about in the show notes, which you can find over at howibuilt.it/308. Alex, thanks so much for joining us today. I really appreciate it.

Alex Marshall: Thanks for having me.

Joe Casabona: And thank you for listening. Thanks to this week’s sponsors. They are Gap Scouts, Groundhogg, and LearnDash. If you want to hear how Alex and I are using ChatGPT, you can sign up for How I Built It Pro over and howibuilt.it/pro. That’s it. Howibuilt.it/pro. It’s five bucks a month. That’s less than the coffee I paid for at the coffee shop today. So check it out, good content, ad-free. And until next time, get out there and build something.

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