Where’s the line between being relatable and oversharing? Is it different for your marketing overall versus just your business and personal social media? We’ll help you figure it out!
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Michael Reynolds Hey, everyone. Welcome to the Massage Business Blueprint podcast, where we discuss the business side of massage therapy. I am Michael Reynolds.
Allissa Haines And I’m Allissa Haines.
MR And we’re your hosts. Glad you’ve joined us today. Spring is upon us. I’m looking out my window and seeing birds and a little bit of sunshine. What’s the report from your end, Allissa?
AH It’s freezing cold —
MR Of course it is.
AH — (indiscernible) gray, and it’s not raining, but it was raining the last two days, I think — or no, it rained all day yesterday, and it will be raining for a couple more days. So yeah, that’s where I’m at.
MR So here’s my lame suburbia complaint. So we signed Eli up for soccer, my four year old, of course because now we’re like suburbia. And all of the soccer games are getting cancelled because of rain; April’s been so rainy. So I’m hoping it clears up because he actually kind of likes soccer. So that’s the latest exciting news from the party central headquarters over here.
AH Oh, that’s a lot.
MR Four-year old soccer.
AH That’s a lot.
MR When he was in the first game he played, though, he scored two goals within like two minutes of playing. I was so excited.
AH Do either of you — did you guys teach him how to play soccer or —
MR No, we have no clue how to play soccer. (Laughter)
AH (Laughter) I was going to say, like, I know you did tennis and you guys are active people, but I don’t think of either of you as like Sporty Spice.
MR Active would be a stretch. (Laughter) I do play tennis. Not as much lately, but yeah, I do play tennis. But I’ve never played soccer and neither has Ariana. We have no idea what we’re doing. We’re like hey, here’s the ball; go kick it. And apparently he’s good at kicking it.
AH Rock on, kid. Well, good job.
MR He can’t run very fast, which is also a problem.
AH Quality parent — (laughter) that’s adorable.
MR But we’ll see. Anyway, that’s the latest. So with that — yeah, what’s going on in your world? Anything else?
AH So do you really want me to tell people the story of my day?
MR I do because —
MR — it was quite a day for you, and I think you need to share and commiserate with our listeners. So what happened today?
AH Okay, people. So my car has been acting up for quite a while. There’s this thing — engine light and it flashes and then it stops, but it has — it was repaired and then it started again. And literally, last night when it happened, I was like, all right, I’m going to start looking for cars, and I’m going to do some research on some used cars, I’m going to make some decisions, and maybe when I get home from my trip next week I’m going to get serious and get a car in the next couple weeks.
And woke up this morning, went to my networking meeting, the engine light was going berserk, so I’m like, well, I guess I’m going to go look for a car today. So I go to — I drive by a used car place where I wanted to look at some stuff, and I stopped, I looked at a few things, I wrote down some VIN numbers, I went to the bank to get pre-approved to make sure I was going to be all set with my financing because even though I wanted to buy my next car with my cash in pocket, I’m not going to be able to because this one’s dying six months ahead of when I was planning. But okay, it’s fine. I can finance. So I’m at the bank and I fill out what I need to and chat with the lady, and I leave the bank and my car is dead. It’s completely dead in the parking lot of the bank.
So yeah, but by then, the used car guy had called me back and and been like, yeah, I can meet you over there so you can test drive this car in a little bit. And so I literally walked around the corner to where this car place was. I bought a Corolla off of this guy in like 2001 — and test drove my car to my mechanic — well, the car — to my mechanic who checked it out, said it was good to go, felt good about the pricing, gave me some advice on a few things to try on my dead car in the bank parking lot. So I drove back to the dealership, dropped that car off, haggled the price down 300 bucks —
MR Look at you haggling.
AH Right? Haggled it down because, literally — and he was like, well — and I looked and I was like, listen. This is the Blue Book value and you need to replace the front rotors, so this is what’ll work. And he was like, yeah, all right, that’ll do. And so walked back over to my bank where my dead car was, tried the few things my mechanic suggested — it was a no-go. So I called Walt to come get me, and I called a tow truck to come get the car, and while I’m waiting for all of that, the bank calls from like 30 feet away inside to tell me that I’m approved and get all that paperwork going. And then I called the car guy back and was like, can you get the purchase and sale stuff going, and he’s like, sure. And he’s like are you just using that bank around the corner? I’ll walk it over to them this afternoon. So Walt comes to get me, the tow truck comes to tow, I have the car towed home.
And meanwhile while I’m waiting there, since I hadn’t eaten all day, there was a Chinese food restaurant right in that bank parking lot, so I got myself some eggrolls and I — yeah, got home, my car got dropped off. I’ve already cleaned it out, taken the plates off of it, sold it online to some place that comes and picks up cars that are dead, and they’re going to pay me 500 bucks for my car and come pick it up on Friday morning. And yeah — and, oh, I saw an insurance guy at my networking meeting this morning, and I’m ready to change insurance people, so he’s already going on the insurance policy for the new car. So I might even be able to get it all handled by Friday afternoon. But I have clients Thursday and Friday, so we’ll see. And that’s the story of my day.
MR Nice. You were incredibly productive in the face of adversity.
AH I have such a headache.
MR (Laughter) I just saw that, earlier, you bought a 2016 Ford Focus hatchback, it looks like.
AH Yes. With only 30,000 miles on it.
MR I know.
AH So I feel —
MR Nice. That’s a good deal. Yeah.
AH It’s in beautiful shape. It’s off of a 3-year lease it was on. So it’s had one person using it. It’s immaculate except for the front rotors are a little rusty because it’s been sitting for a little while.
MR And I will say that’s the best time to — or the best kind of range to buy — 2 to 3 years old. It’s lost most of its value and it’s a good buy. So that’s great.
AH Yeah, so I feel good about it. And I’m psyched because I have the money in the bank to pay for the first year of insurance so I’m not going to have to parse that out monthly, which I hate having a monthly insurance payment. So I’m not thrilled about having a car payment, but I will pay it off in half the term of the loan. So I’m just — Walt had to remind me. It’s not a big deal if you have to finance this car. Your interest is low, your credit is good, you can pay it off in half the time, it’s okay that this happened, buy a quality car.
So I feel really good about it. It’s not — everything is progress, not perfection. So I feel good that even though this was such a weirdo debacle day, everything’s turned out okay. I’m getting everything I need. We’re fine. And I have enough in the bank to make this all happen. So that’s the story of triumph. I feel like that was enough of a podcast episode. (Laughter)
MR I was going to say, contrary to popular belief, that’s actually not our podcast topic today. (Laughter) How to buy a new car when your car dies. We actually have a bonus topic, which is what our main topic was going to be. Shall we jump into that?
AH For the love of God, yes.
MR And congrats on your new car. I am happy for you.
AH Thank you. I don’t have it yet, so no celebrating until I got keys in my hand.
MR Potential new car. So our topic is actually how much should I share on social media as a massage therapist. This is actually from a listener question, I believe.
AH Yeah. Well, first, you should share all the details about getting your new car. No.
MR (Laughter) All over Facebook.
AH This was a delightful listener/reader who asked the question — and I’m not going to read her full question because some of it’s a little personal, but I’m going to give you the gist. “All the business advice, podcasts, and articles are always saying to be authentic, show yourself, be real, be vulnerable. However, how do you feel about that as therapists? On one hand, a stronger connection is created when there’s shared vulnerability. On the other hand, how do I maintain boundaries?”
So this is a wonderful question. I love it. It’s thought out and it’s mindful of boundaries. I am also a fan of keeping your marketing real and simple and a little bit more personal, but that doesn’t have to mean all the details of the intimate workings of your life. For example — and I’m just going to use the example of depression. So if you are a person — if you are a therapist who has experienced depression, there are times when — especially if you’re targeting people with depression, this can be an opportunity to be clear and honest in your marketing, but you’ve got to be careful. So you can make reference to your own depression, your own experience with that, without getting deeply into detail and being weird about it or too specific about it.
So an example would be to say something like — and I say “say something like this” which I mean, like, actually when you’re talking to people or in the web — in the copy on your website, whatever, on your brochure, in your bio, you could say something like after my own experience with depression, I have a deeper understanding of how important quality collaborative care is. I think massage should be part of your care — could be part of your care. And that’s it. After my own experience with depression, I have a deeper understanding. That’s it.
An example of oversharing in that context would be when I had depression, I couldn’t get out of bed for three weeks, I was sleeping on a pile of takeout containers, there were smells coming from my apartment, my neighbors called the police to do a wellness check, and that was my rock bottom. That would be oversharing. You don’t need to give deep detail to resonate with people in that market.
So you can be clear and simple. If you would feel comfortable saying it to a stranger or shouting it from the rooftops, you’re probably fine. If you would feel comfortable with a client or potential client saying oh, I saw in your bio that you had your own experience with depression, that’s great. If you would not feel comfortable with something like a client saying, oh, my God, you were in bed for three weeks and you were sleeping on a pile of takeout containers? If you would not want to have a conversation about that, you should definitely not say that in public, you shouldn’t say that in your marketing, you shouldn’t be sharing that with clients. That’s kind of — the intimate details of your own health issue or your own experience in something in the world don’t necessarily need to be shared with clients.
You can be honest without saying more, without oversharing. And there’s some options here too. If you say something like after my own experience with depression, et cetera, et cetera, you might find that people question you about it or ask for more information. You can, again, be clear and be a useful resource without going overboard. So you could reply, yeah, I struggled mostly with isolation, but my therapist helped me find a really good support group. Do you need some help finding resources? You can say I struggled mostly with isolation, or one of my triggers was food, or whatever. You don’t have to say — like, here’s an example of oversharing and getting into too much detail, something like, oh, yeah, my dog’s death brought up all my childhood traumatic experiences, it took heavy medication and hypnotherapy to just be able to function, and it turns out whenever I see a black dog, I freak out. Tell me all about your issues. That would be a bit much. That would be more.
So you can — and it’s okay to say — you know, if someone’s pushing you for more information, if you’ve said I had some experience with depression and someone’s like, oh, well, tell me more about that, it’s okay to say, so the details of my depression are going to be different from yours and I think that’s best discussed with a proper mental health provider. And you can gently deflect without being rude and move along into the part where you give them resources that would be useful to them.
So this reader, once I replied to her, had some good follow-up questions, and I’d like to hit those. But first, I would like to cover our halftime sponsor. Michael, who’s our halftime sponsor?
MR Our halftime sponsor is Acuity, our favorite online scheduling software for massage therapists.
AH It sure is.
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AH Yay. Michael, what do you have to say about that potential oversharing boundary issues?
MR I think your guidelines are just right. I do like people that share actually. Chris Brogan is one that — I think you and I both like Chris Brogan. And in addition to just his general content, he’s pretty open about depression and kind of like how he deals with it. And he — he does something similar to what you said. He doesn’t overshare, but he really kind of opens up and says hey, I’m a famous business guy that charges a ton of money for speaking on big stages and I seem kind of famous and successful, but I do struggle with depression and here’s kind of how I deal with it. I think that really humanizes your business brand as well as your personality.
I think people want to connect with people and we want to feel like we’re kind of in this together, and everybody struggles with something. So I think it’s okay and even a good thing sometimes to share a little bit of personal stuff that you’re struggling with because it can help you connect with people.
AH And, I mean, it’s like, when we’re talking about manual therapy — massage-related things, so many people came into massage because they benefited from it after an injury or an illness. So we see a lot of that in massage therapist bios. You can mention that it was after your knee surgery in college when you met some physical therapists and you got some massage and you got good results. You can do that fine without detailing how the rehab was so brutal that you cried in front of all your physical therapists. You can share things without oversharing.
But the follow-up question from our friend is related. It says, “Do you think it’s ever okay to overshare” — and that’s in quotes — “via other platforms where my clients might have access, such as separate but public Instagram account or on someone’s podcast, but that don’t have anything to do with your business? Or do you feel like that being a massage therapist obligates you to shield those personal weird parts of you from the public?”
So my guideline here is — you know, a lot of us live in the communities we work in. So I — this is a tricky one. And I definitely am someone who mixes the personal and the professional even in my work stuff. So you’ll see pictures of the kids and various community things happening that aren’t related to massage in my business Instagram. So you’ll see that because I’m active in my community and I’m active with my clientele, and that’s just kind of how I roll.
However, you don’t want to be sharing stuff that you don’t want people asking about. So let’s say you’ve got a friend who’s — okay, let’s do this. Let’s say you’ve got a local friend/colleague who is a financial advisor and they’re starting a podcast, and you go on their podcast and you talk about your own financial mess how you got deeply into debt because of a gambling problem and how you — it wrecked your first marriage and one of your kids doesn’t talk to you anymore from it. Do you want your clients knowing those things? If they happened upon this podcast that’s, maybe, popular or if this was an article in a local newspaper or something, how would you feel about clients and potential clients having that information? Would you feel comfortable with them asking you about it? Would you feel comfortable with giving details about your family life that clients might know. Like if your kid’s in high school and you say something about how your kid doesn’t talk to you, is that going to affect your kid’s friends and people who know all of you? So don’t share anything you don’t want people asking about.
And I will also give this caveat because I’m a bit of a prude, if you’re involved in something that could degrade your credibility as far as a provider of nonsexual touch, be mindful. If you’re super into S&M and you’re part of an S&M community, rock on. You might not want to do interviews about that while concurrently running a business of nonsexual touch that’s regulated and licensed and whatever. So you don’t want to do anything that could damage your credibility in that way. I used a sexual reference because I wanted to kind of demonstrate that, but it could be other things too. If you — I’m trying to think about some other things you could do that would damage you, but off the top of my head, I can’t. So that’s how I feel about that. Don’t be sharing in public forums anything you wouldn’t want clients and potential clients to mention, anything that would make you feel embarrassed in the massage room if someone asked you about it. That’s my general guideline. And don’t do anything that would damage your credibility or make someone question your intentions in the massage room.
And that’s what I think about that. And I know that’s a really vague answer, but context is everything, so you’d have to see what the context involves there. And if anybody has more specific questions, you’re welcome to email us at email@example.com, tell me exactly what you’re thinking that you’re concerned could be some kind of oversharing or conflict with your business reputation, and I’ll be delighted to tell you exactly what I think. What do you got, Michael?
MR Nice. I could not agree more. So I think you’re good.
MR Yeah. (Laughter)
MR I got nothing. Well said. I think you covered it very well, so.
AH All right, then we’re done.
MR So we’ll bring it home. All right, well, let’s bring it home then. So thanks everybody for joining us today. We appreciate you being a listener. You can find us online at massagebusinessblueprint.com. If you have a topic you want us to bring up in a future episode, you know the email address by now: firstname.lastname@example.org because we keep it simple here. Thanks again for joining us today, and we will see you next time.