Seth Donlin on How to Be Vulnerable in Your Marketing | MP 66

MP Episode 66: Seth Donlin on How to Be Vulnerable in Your Marketing | Practice of the Practice Podcast | Podcast Shownotes | Marketing advice for clinicians

How can leaders and business owners authentically incorporate storytelling into their marketing through social media posts? What are some shared mindsets that successful and impactful leaders and speakers have? Are there some marketing mistakes that you can avoid on social media?

In this podcast episode, Sam Carvalho speaks with Seth Donlin about How to Be Vulnerable in Your Marketing.

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Meet Seth Donlin

Seth Donlin | How to be vulnerable in your marketing Interpersonal and strategic communications expert Seth McM. Donlin helps entrepreneurs and high performing business and non-profit professionals improve their communication and leadership skills. A longtime student of the martial arts, a fan of mud runs and obstacle racing, a lover of books, video games and the Boston Red Sox, Seth lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with his wife and young daughter, who he is raising to one day be President of the United States … or owner of a really authentic Irish Pub. Either would be fine with him.

Visit his website.

In This Podcast

  1. How leaders can build rapport with their audience and teams
  2. What mistakes do people make when trying to connect to their audience over social media?
  3. How can people incorporate storytelling into their social media posts?
  4. Key mindsets in speakers and leaders
  5. Seth’s advice to private practice owners

How Leaders Can Build Rapport With Their Audience and Teams

There are three main things a leader needs to keep in mind:

  • Maintaining a service mindset – the job as the leader is to support the team, guide and encourage their development, instead of them fluffing up the leader’s ego.
  • Practice active listening skills – being open to receiving feedback from the team. Trusting and listening to what people have to say.
  • Leading communication and leadership with vulnerability – what people need is someone they can relate to. They must feel empowered to be their best selves by the space the leader creates. This is created by being open and vulnerable about mistakes and successes.

It’s not the leader’s job to be this champion, this mythical figure that can never do any wrong and always has all the answers and can never be defeated – people don’t relate to that because that’s just not realistic, that’s not human. (Seth)

What Marketing Mistakes Do People Make When Trying to Connect to Their Audience Over Social Media?

Being overly “professional” over social media: on a platform such as LinkedIn, even though it is a space for professionals to meet it does not have to be “professional” so much so that it is dry, no smiling, no friendliness.

If you look at what gets the best response on LinkedIn, it is when people loosen up a little bit. People want to do business with other people, they don’t want to do business with a faceless organization. They also don’t want to do business with some proper, never-puts-a-toe-out-of-line entity. (Seth)

Falling into a social rut with their content: when people get more authentic and more vulnerable with their audience and start connecting on an emotional level to the needs of their audience, they can build higher-quality content than simply working at a more surface level.

Within the world of private practice that is very real and evident because people are seeking out counseling because they are depressed or because they are dealing with some kind of emotional trauma. (Sam)

People respond to the honesty and the attempt that leaders make to trying to connect to the struggles that the audience or ideal client faces. When done in a respectful and authentic way, you can connect with your ideal client even before the counseling has started in this way.

How Can People Incorporate Storytelling Into Their Marketing Through Social Media Posts

  1. Take the plunge: accept that it is something you should do, even if it is a little scary to you.
  2. Understand that there is a difference between personal and private: not everything that is personal has to be kept private.
  3. Plan for it: you can prepare to be authentic because authentic means being who you are, and you can put effort and time into this.

When you are communicating with your audience you want to give them the best side of you. You don’t want to pretend to be someone that you’re not but you want to give them the best side of you and that takes preparation [because] we’re not always at our best. (Seth)

Key Mindsets in Speakers and Leaders

There is a willingness to try things and fail. Successful people have a growth mindset. Therefore, they see failure simply as another lesson that they can learn from, ultimately helping them become better leaders as they’re open to mistakes and gather wisdom from them.

They’re vulnerable in the sense that they give snippets of their lives and are vulnerable with their stories, with their struggles and they can draw on their experiences without feeling like they are losing face by being personal and authentic.

They have service mindsets and care for their audience and the teams that they lead. They take the focus off of themselves and direct the attention onto the needs of the audience that they are trying to serve.

Seth’s Advice to Private Practice Owners

It’s a huge world out there with a ton of people that really need your help and we all have something to give to the world. Maintain an abundance mindset.

Useful Links:

Meet Sam Carvalho

Samantha Carvalho DesignSamantha Carvalho is a graphic designer with over six years of experience in both design and marketing. She loves working with a variety of clients on design-intensive tasks and is always up for a challenge!

Sam has been working with Practice of the Practice since 2016 and has helped over 100 therapist entrepreneurs take their practices to the next level by enhancing their visual branding.

Follow Sam on Instagram to see some of her work.

To work with Sam, head on over to

Thanks For Listening!

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