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Are you a therapist seeking to expand your online audience? Would you like to learn some tips on how to connect with people over social media? What does it take to build a successful platform on Instagram?
In this podcast episode, Joe Sanok speaks about Instagram for therapists with Whitney Goodman.
When you’re in private practice it can be tough to find the time to review your marketing efforts and make improvements where needed.
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Meet Whitney Goodman
Whitney Goodman is the radically honest psychotherapist behind the hugely popular Instagram account @sitwithwhit and the owner of The Collaborative – a co-working space for wellness professionals in Miami, Florida. She helps individuals and couples heal past wounds and create the life they’ve always wanted.
Whitney is on a quest to make finding a therapist easy.
She rejects the idea that a therapist should be a blank slate and believes that authenticity and emotional expression are the keys to living a full life.
Visit her website and connect with her on Instagram.
In This Podcast
- Whitney’s Instagram process
- Data tracking with Instagram
- Step by step Instagram guide for therapists
Whitney’s Instagram process
Engagement is a huge part of Instagram. I tell people like ‘you can have the best content out there, but if nobody knows you exist, it doesn’t matter.
Whitney makes notes on her phone throughout the day of thoughts she has or ideas that would work well on her Instagram, compiling them in one convenient place that is easy to open up and write down information that has potential.
Creating graphics with Canva
Once she has enough notes on her phone or has picked one for the day, she uses Canva on her computer to create a graphic containing information or snippets of wisdom from the notes. The graphics are usually in the forms of a couple of lines of text, a comparative list, or charts. In the caption, Whitney often uses a call-to-act to encourage followers to try therapy or interact with a new service.
Whitney recommends posting at least five times a week, from Monday to Friday once a day. Posting often in small bits instead of one big clump of posts encourages better follower-interaction because you will pop onto people’s feeds more frequently. Whitney also recommends setting some time aside to interact with people through Instagram; 15 minutes in the morning and again at night.
Data tracking with Instagram
Spending time to comment on posts, share, and like them will build traction between you and your followers. You can also conduct valuable customer research through your platform by setting up polls in your stories to see what your followers are interested in. Asking them questions will enable you to tailor specific services and courses to their needs, and thus expanding your following.
Interaction with clinicians
When you work with Instagram you will naturally be part of a circle of other therapists. By commenting, liking, and sharing their posts, you and other clinicians can begin working together and supporting one another by encouraging followers to check their pages out too.
Step by step Instagram guide for therapists
There’s a lot more therapists on Instagram right now, it’s a little bit harder to uniquely position yourself, but I think we all talking about really similar things. You just have to find a different way to say it.
- Be clear about your brand: Having an idea about your ideal client, who your target audience is, and having a strategy to connect with them will be beneficial. Think about the colors and fonts you want to use to brand yourself.
- Instagram is an investment of time: You have to be dedicated and strategic about how much time you spend on it. Try to do a little every day consistently.
- Put your own unique spin on it: Find a style of sharing information that is unique to you. This will help you stand out and be remembered.
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Meet Joe Sanok
Joe Sanok helps counselors to create thriving practices that are the envy of other counselors. He has helped counselors to grow their businesses by 50-500% and is proud of all the private practice owners that are growing their income, influence, and impact on the world. Click here to explore consulting with Joe.
Thanks For Listening!
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How would you like to fall into cash this month? Every year, my friends over at Brighter Vision kick off the fall season with a month-long digital conference event they call Fall Into Cash. For the entire month of September, they’re teaming up with the top brands, consultants, and coaches in the mental health industry to provide you with the best advice, tools, content, podcasts, and giveaways, all centered around one main theme, helping you grow your practice and make more money. Plus, in celebration of the fifth anniversary of Fall Into Cash, they’re also offering $100 off any new website package through the end of this month. That’s right, any new website package. For more information, and to take advantage of this great offer, head over to www.brightervision.com/joe. Again, that’s www.brightervision.com/joe.
This is the Practice of the Practice podcast with Joe Sanok, session 490.
Well, today’s episode is part of a series all with Killin’It Camp speakers. So, this year Killin’It Camp is going to be completely online. We have over twenty speakers, we have it all getting recorded – assuming the technology doesn’t act silly on us – and we have some killer deals from TherapyNotes, Brighter Vision, and other folks during Killin’It Camp. So in early October, we’re going to be having Killin’It Camp and you can come live to those. Or if you get a ticket and you want to just pop in, pop out, though they’ll all get recorded for you as well. And so for only $95 you can get access to all of these speakers, all of the recordings, all the bonuses, gotta head on over to killinitcamp.com. These are just a couple of the speakers that I’m having here on the podcast, but we’re having over twenty speakers; it’s gonna be amazing. We have three tracks – one track is called Pillars of Practice. These are short-form, TED Talk type talks that are twenty-five minutes long; they’re on very clear, particular things of private practice. The other types are fifty-five minutes long, and those are How to Scale a Practice. So that’s gonna be all-around group practices, and expanding, and scaling your practice. And then we also have the Multiple Streams of Income track. And the thing about this is you don’t have to choose between the tracks. We’ve set it up that only one session is going at a time. We have one login that you can pop in, pop out, wherever you can catch the talks, so we really want it to be accessible to you. Again, it’s only $95. So head on over to killinitcamp.com, and you can learn all about the speakers that will be there. We can’t wait for this. So without any further ado, here we go.
Today on the Practice of the Practice podcast, we have Whitney Goodman. Whitney is the radically honest psychotherapist behind the hugely popular Instagram account, @sitwithwhit, and the owner of The Collaborative, a coworking space for wellness professionals in Miami, Florida. She helps individuals and couples heal past wounds and create the life they’ve always wanted. Whitney, welcome to the Practice of the Practice podcast. [WHITNEY]:
Thank you so much for having me. [JOE]:
Yeah, I was just saying before I got going that oftentimes we’ll get applications for Killin’It Camp or other things where people say, I’m an expert in this area, and then I’ll look at their Instagram and be like, okay, how much of an Instagram Expert are you? And I think just right now you have 254,000 followers on Instagram. I’m like, holy cow, Whitney. Well done. [WHITNEY]:
Thank you. I appreciate that. [JOE]:
Well, take us through how that Instagram account has developed for you. Did it kind of just take off from the beginning, or did it take some time to really crack the code? Like, how did that happen? [WHITNEY]:
Sure. So I started my account in 2018. And I was really just doing it as like a fun way to get some extra clients. I had just started my private practice and was like, this could be cool to do. I initially started working with a company that had me do like all these photos and just this big investment. And about, I don’t know, a couple of months in, I realized this isn’t working; I need to try something else. And so if you look back in my account, you’ll see there was like this shift where I started moving into text-based content and doing like graphics, and writing things. And that was when I noticed that the account started to take off. And I really looked at it then, I was like, oh, this is a really big business opportunity. And I started to dedicate a lot more time to the account at that point. And then, over the years, it’s just started to grow. I always tell people, like, getting to the first ten thousand followers is the hardest and then from there, it will continue to grow just because you have so many people looking at it. [JOE]:
Yeah, I see. Like, when I looked at it, I was like, wow, that’s a lot of text. And I think that might be something that makes it stand out. Because, like this one says that I just clicked on, a list of some things… some of the most unhelpful things you can say when someone’s in pain. And then there’s probably fifteen statements with it, almost where you need to zoom in on it, but I mean, you have eight thousand forty-eight likes on that one. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, exactly. People really like the ability I think to just find short bits of content that way, and that’s a great thing about Instagram is they can save them, go back to it later. The list format is very popular. [JOE]:
Yeah, so maybe take us through some of the typical, text-based formats you use in Instagram. Do you have kind of a rotation of the types of posts that you do? [WHITNEY]:
I honestly don’t. I’m very much an impulsive Instagrammer. So when I put up a text post, I’m doing it right then in the moment, always. I do have two other accounts that I plan out pretty extensively how I’m going to do the content, because that’s like for my practice, but with these I find – on my @sitwithwhit account – I’m usually doing lists. I’m talking about like, I might just put up a short quote of something that I thought of. I also do like the symptoms of certain things. I’m big on charts and tables as well. So kind of like comparing codependency versus healthy relying on someone, and showing people like these two extremes of things can be really helpful in that form. [JOE]:
So are you creating this in Instagram or in Canva, or somewhere like that? Like, where are you creating the actual images for it? [WHITNEY]:
I do everything in Canva. Canva is my best friend. [JOE]:
Oh yeah, my nine-year-old and five-year-old love Canva. We’ve recently started allowing them to kind of do some creativity on there, especially during a pandemic, for some art slash marketing things. It’s so intuitive, and there’s so many cool features on it. [WHITNEY]:
That’s so funny. That’s awesome. [JOE]:
Yeah, it’s always unicorn-based or mermaid-based but, you know, they’re learning the platform so someday I can outsource things to them. [WHITNEY]:
Exactly. There you go. That’s good in-house labor. [JOE]:
So take us through your process. So you have an idea, you’re like, okay, I just had a client and I want to compare narcissism to like, just healthy standing up for yourself. And so maybe you have this idea and then what do you do, typically? [WHITNEY]:
So I keep everything in the notes section on my phone, because throughout the day, I will just get random thoughts. And then when I have a second to sit down and do it, I’ll go there and look at some things. And then typically I try to think of what is the easiest, streamlined way to present this information. Because what I tell people on Instagram, you have, like, one second to capture somebody’s attention, and so it needs to be really captivating. So I try to condense it down either into just a couple of lines, a list, or a chart; usually, those are the three formats. And then I write the caption. And in my captions, I try to always do some type of call to action. I launched an online store recently or to encourage people to get therapy, whatever it is. [JOE]:
And then are you doing this on Canva, the images on your computer and then transferring it to your phone? Or are you doing it like on your phone and then just doing…? Like, how do you actually do it on Canva? [WHITNEY]:
Sure, I usually make them on my computer just because it’s way easier. And then again, I will drag it into the notes on my iPhone. And that way, I have the caption and the picture there. And it’s honestly a great way to backup your information too – like, God forbid anything ever happened to Instagram – I have every post I’ve ever done with the caption all there in my notes section as well. [JOE]:
And is that, in that note, is that where you have your initial brainstorm as well and then put it into Canva? [WHITNEY]:
Typically, I’ll start with the brainstorm there, then I do the Canva, and then I kind of get rid of the brainstorm and just keep the post. Exactly. [JOE]:
Gotcha. That’s a great idea for a backup. And I forgot that, on your computer, that notes integrates with your phone if you have it connected. [WHITNEY]:
I’m like, ah. That’s a great workflow. I’m glad I asked. So then, when you first started getting going, and you noticed that the text-based images were really taking off, how did you double down on that? How did you kind of amplify it? Because oftentimes, it’s like, you’re trying a bunch of different things and then you’re like, whoa, this thing works. What did it look like for you to then say, ooh, I’m going to keep doing more of the text? Were there workflows, or like, schedules that you set for yourself, or was it just kind of inspiration based? [WHITNEY]:
I had a definite goal. And I still try to stick to this, of posting at least five posts a week – so usually Monday through Friday – and then engagement is a huge part of Instagram. I tell people like you can have the best content out there but if nobody knows you exist, it doesn’t matter. So I had a pretty strict engagement schedule where every morning for fifteen minutes, and every night for fifteen minutes, I would sit there and like other people’s posts, comment on them, share things, do all of that. And I did that really consistently until I got to about ten thousand followers. And now I don’t need to do it as much because everything gets shared organically. [JOE]:
And so when you were doing that, it was more to just get more traffic to you and to just be out there and kind of really engaged with other people’s posts. [WHITNEY]:
Exactly. Yeah, because there’s a bit like if you see somebody comment on a post, something interesting, you’re going to click on their name and go to their page and find out about them. So a lot of it, it’s sort of like creating backlinks for yourself throughout Instagram. [JOE]:
Yeah. And how did you track the ROI on your time for this? Once you got to say ten thousand and you’re like, okay, I have a decent-sized audience here, what were some ways that you said, yeah, this is now financially worth it or was it just I want to build an audience and we’ll see if the finances come, like, how do you track the actual ROI on that time? [WHITNEY]:
Sure. I started noticing clients coming in through Instagram relatively quickly. And I, like probably a lot of therapists, track where all my referrals come in from. And I was noticing, wow, a lot of these people are finding me that way. Also, I was connecting with a lot of other clinicians who were then sending me clients, especially out of state therapists that didn’t know anybody else in Miami. Whenever they heard somebody in Florida, they were sending the client to me. [JOE]:
Yeah, and I imagine when you also have that many great resources to just be able to be like, okay, this lady, you got to follow her because you’re therapeutic. The therapists are probably referring people to your Instagram too, to say she’s putting out good content that I as a therapist don’t have to create either. [WHITNEY]:
Exactly. And that’s another thing, is that you’re going to be… your posts, like, my posts get used by other therapists in session. They’ll tell me, I use other therapists’ posts. It’s a great way to build credibility and build trust with people. [JOE]:
Yeah, so then you start to get more clients. Has there been a point where you started to monetize the channel directly or has it mostly been just for your own kind of clinical work? [WHITNEY]:
I have monetized Instagram, like, my traffic through Instagram to my online store, it makes up about fifty to sixty percent of my income now, I would say. I am seeing a lot less clients and doing a lot more of like webinars, courses, workbooks, that type of thing. And I’ve done no paid marketing for that. I use Instagram and my email list exclusively. [JOE]:
Wow. And so, when you were first developing that store, how did you figure out your first couple of products, first things that you wanted to launch to people? [WHITNEY]:
Sure. So I had launched a course on trauma, about a year ago, that was just kind of an introductory thing. I noticed a lot of my clients didn’t know a lot about trauma or how it manifested, and I was getting a lot of questions about that. That’s how I decide. Before I’m going to sell something, I always test it out and make sure that people want it. And I do that by first creating a post about it, maybe doing an email, I pull people all the time and say, hey, would you want this? And if I get a lot of people that say yes, then I make it. So I’ve never really made something just on the fly. I usually do it because there’s data backing it up. [JOE]:
Yeah. And so how do you kind of sort through all that data? I know a lot of folks want to do that but they’re like, I don’t even know how to figure out if something’s gonna fly, it’s gonna work. What are some of the techniques you do to kind of parse out the things that would actually be a good fit? [WHITNEY]:
Instagram analytics is a great tool. So if I see that a post has gotten saved thousands of times and people are sharing it, that’s a pretty good sign to me that somebody is going to pay for more on that. Also just looking at in your comments, what are people asking about? Or just straight-up asking people in your Instagram stories, would you like a course on attachment styles? And looking at the votes. You might get five hundred people that say yes, and that’s pretty good, you know, to sell a course for twenty bucks. [JOE]:
Yeah, for sure. So when you think forward of kind of having this level of audience, what’s next on the map for you? [WHITNEY]:
It’s pretty crazy. I’m excited about what’s ahead. I’m hoping to do a lot more media-oriented stuff. And I think that’s what Instagram has given me, is a much bigger platform to access things, like, possibly a book, or a podcast, or this more large scale type of mental health care. [JOE]:
Yeah, yeah. What do you think your audience wants to see you do? [WHITNEY]:
I don’t know. I’m thinking a podcast is maybe in my future. I like podcasting. [JOE]:
So do I. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah, exactly. So that’s definitely ahead. And I love writing; that’s also why I’ve loved Instagram. It fits my talent, which I think is like, what’s the most important thing about social media? I don’t like making videos, some people love it. So you have to figure out what you enjoy as well. [JOE]:
Yeah, man, I would just rather do podcasting and videos all day long than have to try to figure out Instagram, as you can see by my lack of gigantic followers on Instagram. It’s like, we put out enough to say okay, here’s what we’re doing or I’ll take some pictures here and there. But I just love the medium of podcasting and video, like, professionally and all that. [WHITNEY]:
Yeah. But that’s what I think matters the most, is that you feel like you’re skilled at it and you enjoy it. [JOE]:
Yeah. Now if we went… say you were consulting with someone that was… they have a practice, maybe they have some big ideas that they’re launching, and they say, I think Instagram really should be an arm of this. What would be maybe the first three to five steps you would give them to start getting that going to get to that ten thousand followers? [WHITNEY]:
I would first say be very, very clear about your brand. Some people go into it without a strategy. So no, like, who’s my ideal client? Who am I trying to target? What’s my strategy? Colors, font, all of that is great to figure out. And then second, really knowing that Instagram is an investment of time. You have to be really dedicated and strategic about how much you invest. And then also trying to put your own unique spin on it. There’s a lot more therapists on Instagram right now. It’s a little bit harder to uniquely position yourself, but I think we’re all talking about really similar things. You just have to find a different way to say it. [JOE]:
Oh, that’s so awesome. Well, the last question I always ask is if every private practitioner in the world were listening right now, what would you want them to know? [WHITNEY]:
That anything is possible in our field. I think I got a lot of messages around scarcity and only being able to see clients when I first started as a clinician. And I’ve only been doing this for five years, and there’s a lot of opportunities if you’re just willing to step outside the lines. [JOE]:
That’s such good advice. I feel like so often we just get in, like, what we were taught in grad school and there’s so much more out there that we can be doing. Well, Whitney is going to be one of our speakers at Killin’It Camp. She’s gonna be talking specifically about Instagram for therapists. And so if this sounds like something that you’re thinking, wow, I want more clients, I want to be able to level up, or maybe even make half my income off of Instagram and products through that, you’re definitely going to want to come to her session. We have over twenty high caliber speakers just like Whitney that are going to be speaking at Killin’It Camp. For part of that $95 fee, you’re actually going to get access to the entire ecourse, which is all the recordings of all three days. So if you have to leave and go do sessions, or lunch, or whatever you have to do to not be in the live event, you’ll still get access to all of those talks as well, assuming our technology doesn’t go awry, which we hope it doesn’t. So make sure you sign up over at killinitcamp.com. It’s only $95. You’re going to get access to three days of amazing content with people like Whitney. Whitney, thank you so much for being on the Practice of the Practice podcast. [WHITNEY]:
Of course. Thank you so much for having me.
So, so awesome. Thank you so much for just hanging out with us and signing up for Killin’It Camp. This is going to be an amazing year despite having this COVID thing and social distancing and online stuff going. We’re still gonna have an exciting time together at Killin’It Camp. Make sure you get your ticket; it’s only $95 over at www.killinitcamp.com. Also, thank you so much Brighter Vision for being our sponsor. Make sure you head on over to www.brightervision.com, use promo code JOE, you’re going to get a discount that way. Thank you so much for letting me into your ears and into your brain. Have an amazing day.
Special thanks to the band Silence is Sexy for your intro music; we really like it. This podcast is designed to provide accurate, authoritative information in regard to the subject matter covered. It is given with the understanding that neither the host, the publisher, or the guests are rendering legal, accounting, clinical or other professional information. If you want a professional, you should find one.