Beyond the Algorithm: Navigating the Mental Health Aspect of Social Media Marketing

Meg Casebolt, author of ‘Social Slowdown’ joins me to discuss the pressures faced by creators and consumers alike.

Long-Term Content Strategies for Lasting Impact on Social Media


The constant need to stay ahead of trends and conform to the algorithm, combined with the distractions and interruptions of social media notifications, can take a toll on focus and productivity. We also explore the addictive nature of social media, the craving for dopamine and novelty experiences, and the surface-level conversations it often promotes.

Real Conversations

In contrast, our love for podcasts stems from their ability to foster deeper conversations, exploration of various topics, and more nuanced perspectives. We feature real stories from content creators and business owners who have reevaluated their social media strategies, discuss the pitfalls of focusing solely on vanity metrics, and the importance of aligning your business model with your desired content and audience behavior.

It is OK to press pause?

Join us as we navigate the ever-changing landscape of social media, question its effectiveness in achieving specific goals, and explore alternative strategies for reaching your target audience. It’s time for a social slowdown on the Endless Coffee Cup podcast!

Podcast Highlights

[00:01:53] Meg’s Facebook group became overrun with bots, freeloaders. Stopped posting, business still thrived. Returned for social connections, not marketing.

[00:05:06] Entrepreneurs face undue pressure on social media.

[00:13:20] Superficial conversations on social media lack nuance, empathy, and depth.

[00:17:56] Long-term content asset strategy generates unlimited value.

[00:19:28] Mental health impact of constant creating & consumption.

[00:26:28] 1 billion Instagram followers, but no sales.

[00:29:40] Social media enables voice but breeds ignorance.

[00:32:29] Podcast coach helps lawyers change careers using SEO.

[00:37:28] People on multiple platforms wasting time differently.

[00:38:23] YouTube as search engine, social metrics matter. Instagram ineffective. LinkedIn more purposeful but not entertaining.

[00:42:44] Business model affects content creation and reach.

Transcript for Social Slowdown

[00:00:00] Matt: Hello and welcome dear listener to another episode of the Endless Coffee Cup podcast. As always, I’m your host, Matt Bailey and I am so looking forward to this episode. I was connected to Meg Casebolt through another member of the Marketing Podcast Network and Meg has a great story and in fact, it’s a book, it’s a podcast, it’s called The Social Slowdown. Meg, welcome to the Endless Coffee Cup today.

[00:00:28] Meg: I am thrilled to be here with you, Matt. Thanks for having me.

[00:00:31] Matt: You’re very welcome. So the reason is you could probably tell from the title Social Slowdown, Meg tell me about the Social Slowdown, but especially, I want to know what inspired you to do this?

[00:00:45] Meg: Well, so the Social Slowdown started when I accidentally forgot to post on social media for about a hundred days.

[00:00:53] Matt: I love it.

[00:00:54] Meg: Which, it happens sometimes. The story behind it is, I started my business in 2013, 2017. I had transitioned into exclusively teaching search engine optimization, SEO. I created this Facebook group that I would do live trainings and I had members ask questions, and I did quarterly challenges.

[00:01:13] Meg: And then I opened the doors in a launch sequence into this paid program. And the system worked really well until the system didn’t work anymore. And I think we’ve all been in that zone of doing these processes. And then the algorithm shifts or the focus of the way that these platforms work changes.

[00:01:33] Meg: Suddenly, instead of having people attend my Facebook Live, maybe not suddenly, slowly, there was this shift that instead of having real people sit and watch my Facebook Lives or ask the questions or sign up for the challenges, the group was mostly bots or it became people who expected me to just give them free advice all the time that was custom to them, but they never wanted to give me any money.

[00:01:58] Meg: So in May of 2021, I went through my regular launch sequence that had worked dozens of times before with a free challenge. And nobody signed up, nobody came, nobody bought. And I was like, why am I wasting my time in this Facebook group? So I decided after looking at the data, ’cause I’m a very data-driven person, I decided to just shut down the Facebook group and go, okay, what am I going to do instead of this?

[00:02:23] Meg: And without having the Facebook group, without having a team member prompt me like, oh, what are we going to post today? And, oh, it’s May, are we going to do a Memorial Day post and a 4th of July post and a national donut day post? And all of that, I don’t know if I can swear all that BS that we put out because we think that we have to without having the team member prompt me, I just went, huh, that sucked. And that was May, and I didn’t post in May, I didn’t post in June and then in July I was like, oh man, I forgot, I was still doing marketing. I was still emailing my list. I was still putting out YouTube videos, I was still putting out blog posts based on the YouTube videos. I was still having coffee chats.

[00:03:07] Meg: I was still going on podcasts. I just wasn’t posting on Facebook and LinkedIn and Instagram, which were my three platforms. It just didn’t occur to me for six weeks and then I went nothing has changed. I still am getting leads, I’m still supporting my clients, I’m still doing a lot of my work for my hammock in my backyard, why am I stressing so much about this?

[00:03:31] Meg: Why am I dealing with this anxiety and this feeling of not being enough and this constant like mental pressure to perform if I can get the same results without doing all of those things?

[00:03:47] Meg: In September, I did go back to social media. It wasn’t ’cause I was like, oh, my business is pulling apart. It was because I missed the human interaction that was happening on the platform. I missed my friendships, I missed knowing what was happening with those people. But it wasn’t for my business. It was for my social connections versus my marketing skills.

[00:04:08] Matt: Absolutely. And this is why I wanted you on the show because I think there are so many people in your position, any entrepreneur, any business owner we can talk about marketing managers separately, but a solo business owner, a solo entrepreneur. There’s the pressure of running the business and then there’s the, and I like to call it the assumed pressure of being on social media.

[00:04:34] Matt: That it’s a highly assumptive, I have to be there, I have to be posting, I have to do this and that kind of pressure, I think especially the past few years has become unreal.

[00:04:46] Meg: Can I tell you a term that I learned while I was researching this? It’s called agoraphobia. It is the fear of being forgotten or ignored of not being recognized and I think that’s actually what we’re dealing with this. It’s not even like FOMO. It’s the Agoraphobia of the fear of being forgotten.

[00:05:06] Meg: If we’re not showing up and we’re not performing and we’re not getting the likes and we’re not being seen and shared and engaged with, what if they forget about me?

[00:05:14] Matt: It’s amazing. Absolutely. It’s the fear of missing out, but I love that’s so much more fun to say.

[00:05:21] Meg: I thought it was agoraphobia, right?

[00:05:23] Matt: I know that.

[00:05:24] Meg: I think we should probably name the episode with that as the key words. That way we can rank for it, there we go.

[00:05:31] Matt: And you’re thinking like an SEO too?

[00:05:33] Meg: Always, so that was the other part of the experience for me is I started to post less on social media and to talk about in my email, in my YouTube channel, in my blog post to say I’m not doing this as often and then I started having people come out of the woodwork and say, but how are you still marketing?

[00:05:55] Meg: And so I was having the content marketing, I was still doing relationship marketing and those two pieces filled in the gaps for my business and I was able to teach people how to do that for their businesses. And then I started the podcast to say, who else is doing this? Who else has made some of these shifts?

[00:06:12] Meg: Maybe not necessarily leaving social media entirely. I’m still on social media. I just use it for romance novel recommendations, not for business networking.

[00:06:21] Matt: I get it because that message is a message of liberation.

[00:06:27] Matt: When you hear someone else say, I am not doing the rat race, I am not doing it purposefully or accidentally, I love that, it makes other people feel free. I remember back in the day, this was when Twitter had first come out.

[00:06:44] Matt: I was all over it and I am all in the analytics. And I think after the first year and a half I’m like, okay, what have these 18 months done? And I was looking at the data, seeing okay, increased page views and that’s about it.

[00:07:01] Meg: And if we look at your increased paid views, we probably saw a decreased time spent on page. We probably saw an increased bounce rate. It’s not just the page views, there’s always more to it than just who’s clicking through.

[00:07:14] Matt: Yeah. And it was single page views. So the bounce rate of anything that came from Twitter was high. The single page view, to get anyone from Twitter. And then I started digging in and seeing, it’s not just Twitter it’s a single page visit. And one of my analysts made it so that if it was less than five seconds, it didn’t even count. And all of a sudden it it went down even further.

[00:07:39] Matt: And I saw, yeah, it creates a lot of sugar, but there’s no substance to it. I couldn’t track any conversions or anything like that. And so I’m like I’m done with Twitter. But it was, you need that justification, I feel like in order to breathe and say, okay, I don’t need that. We have that assumption first but that justification is what we ultimately need to feel good about it.

[00:08:05] Meg: And I think there are benefits, there are some unspoken benefits, some untrackable, some invisible benefits. If you were in journalism, if you were a thought leader, if you were trying to connect with a specific community that was already on that platform, there are absolutely some ways that you can utilize a platform like Twitter in order to grow your brand awareness in order to amplify your voice.

[00:08:32] Meg: But not expect the clickthroughs, not expect the conversion metrics on the other end. You have to have other marketing strategies in place to get yourself paid because Twitter’s not going to pay you and your landlord’s not going to take retweets for your rent.

[00:08:50] Meg: It can be a way to especially Twitter in particular can be a way to expand your reach if there’s a specific community, can be a way to get in front of people who already follow you, but it’s not necessarily a discovery tool and it’s not a conversion tool. It’s meant for nurturing people who already know who you are.

[00:09:06] Matt: And it’s a news medium by and large. People click on it because they want that article, that specific article at that time. Even then, I think the read rates of articles.

[00:09:17] Meg: If you’re on Twitter, then you’re getting used to what, a 280 characters now up from 140. So for you to go through and read a 2000 word blog post when your brain has now gotten accustomed to these quick solutions to everything and things move where every tweet is, it’s gone in 18 minutes or less if that is what we have conditioned our brains to react to, then how can we expect people to go read long form content off a short form medium.

[00:09:45] Matt: well on that subject, so when you weren’t posting on social media, did you notice how you approached your traditional, and I’m going to call it traditional, how you approached your core marketing differently when you didn’t have the pressure to post regularly?

[00:10:03] Meg: I gave myself permission to expand my thoughts a little more, for sure. And to say my approach to content marketing is still very search optimized for obvious reasons, because that’s what I teach. But to give myself permission to say I’m going to answer this question in as much times as it takes for me to answer this question and this YouTube video based, I find the keyword and then the YouTube video might be five minutes, it might be 20 minutes.

[00:10:28] Meg: But how am I making sure that I am meeting the intent of the person who needs this information? And not limiting myself to at the time it was IG TV, but now it’s even shorter. How can I get this into a 60 second reel? I can’t, I cannot make a compelling argument in 60 seconds or less.

[00:10:50] Meg: Maybe if I joined the debate team in high school, maybe I could have been that persuasive, but I’m just not that concise. was it Mark Twain who was like, I’m sorry, this letter is long. I didn’t have the time to make it short. That’s me. I always have a long answer to things.

[00:11:05] Matt: And that is a core principle of journalism. When I was in school, I would write an article and my teacher was like, great, say the same thing, half as many words. It’s ah because it takes time to do that. And that is so funny ’cause that was my same justification that, especially with Twitter with 140 characters, I’m like, I cannot possibly talk for that short of a time or put a thought in that there’s history, there’s context, there’s so many things that go into it and to just make a statement.

[00:11:36] Matt: And I’ve noticed that as well on some recent LinkedIn content. People have been posting these, I don’t know what it is, but it’s like a multi slide type of thing, and it’s like in order to condense everything in there, you’re making statements that are unsupported. You don’t have context and the advice you’re giving and it was SEO advice and I’m reading some of these, I’m going, yeah, but okay, for some, but you’re reading these statements,

[00:12:06] Matt: I’m like, completely out of context. They lack so much and it sounds so surface. And I think that’s what you are getting to is, when you don’t have that long form availability, that’s what it results in.

[00:12:22] Meg: Yeah, it’s all very surface level conversations. There’s not a lot of because you have to come out and say something definitive, you don’t have room for nuance. You don’t have room for multiple perspectives. You don’t have room for empathy of somebody who feels something differently than you do because you have to come out and say something that’s memorable that somebody would want to like or share.

[00:12:42] Meg: So we don’t have the room for depth and for context like you’re saying. And that’s one of the reasons, and I’m sure you’ve found this too, given how long you’ve had this podcast. That’s one of the reasons I love the podcast because you can have solo episodes where you go into more detail about what is my thought leadership on this.

[00:12:59] Meg: You can have conversations with different people with different perspectives, and you can talk for Endless coffee cups. You can talk forever on these different topics and be able to link through and say Meg said this, but John said this and you should go listen to this episode.

[00:13:15] Meg: And so I started interviewing people for my podcast, Social Slowdown podcast ’cause I wanted to have these deeper conversations where we could get into some of it. And then I thought, now I want to turn this into a book. And I had to do even more of that processing and synthesis and that’s where I had to get really clear on the messaging because then I had the context of, okay, I can’t just do endless hour long conversations. I have to get this down to 40,000 words.

[00:13:39] Meg: What is everything that I believe in a hundred pages on a Google Doc? How do I do that? And giving yourself the need to distill.

[00:13:50] Meg: And to really process and think through what’s the most important message here? With blowing out the context of, I want to include so much of these conversations, it’s just journalism’s very and I wouldn’t even call it journal. I’m not a journalist, I’m a writer, being able to have the time and the space to have the long form conversations to see the trends is not something that social media allows us to do unless we’re hiring a research firm that will create a white paper, which we can then turn into images to share on social and that’s about the level of depth that we’re going to get out of it.

[00:14:25] Matt: Absolutely. And even still, so like your recent podcast where you talked with Lacey Boggs ’cause she helped you write the book. It was 55 minutes and it was all about your thought process and her process of putting a book together. And now you could probably do a 10 slide, how to write a book.

[00:14:49] Matt: But yeah what you get are 10 surface level things. Or you could spend a time, listen to 55 minutes and really get an in-depth understanding of what was your thought process, what was her thought process? What were the steps required in order to make a book.

[00:15:08] Matt: And if you’re looking to get published, if you’re looking with a book idea, which is going to be the value asset that you’re going to have there. And I think that’s a perfect example of that. That we could have the research white paper or we could have a 10 slide, put it out on a carousel. Yes. It was funny ’cause I got an email from my assistant the other day and she starts it out. I know you don’t like carousels, but I’m like, okay.

[00:15:41] [00:15:41] Meg: I think to your point also, even within the same media format, there can be different levels of depth, so I’m a search person. So a lot of times the things that I’m recommending that people write are, here’s the 10 steps to self publish your blog or your new book and here’s how to get it done in six days.

[00:16:03] Meg: Search can be a little bit triggering, a little bit clickbait. By it’s very nature because people want fast results. So I’m acknowledging that as part of it. But what I recommend people do is go ahead and write the clickbaity post but then when you have that 10 step post of,

[00:16:21] Meg: review or audit, the information that you already have, and create an outline and start a draft, then make an additional piece of content for each one of those steps where you can go into more detail so people can go down your rabbit hole, so that way they can choose their own adventure of what it is that you are an expert on and then have a call to action in every single one of those places.

[00:16:44] Meg: That’s the piece that’s missing from a lot of the more shallow social media and other short form content is how do you learn more? How do you go deeper? How do you find somebody who you trust so much that you can go down their rabbit holes?

[00:16:58] Matt: I love it. And what you’re describing is and I teach this in my content marketing classes, is think about the long-term content asset. Let’s just say a single asset that once it’s created would give you unlimited content. And I give the example of working with a hiking company that was in a specific region of the US and they created this massive hiking guide that covered the history of the area, the nature that you’ll find, the animals, the plants the trails, which are easy, which you can take pets, It all started from what would be a great resource that people would love that would help them enhance the experience. And they came up with this 600 page resource guide and it was all just part of this strategy of we should have this and this. But now as they develop, it contributes to the big picture.

[00:17:53] Matt: But they can also take little chunks out of it and use it in so many strategic ways, and it became a lead generation item. It became a lead hook, it became a reward. There were so many things that even their audience contributes to it, but they’re thinking long term. They’re thinking investment rather than let’s just play around and make a lot of posts, which I think that wears people out to come up with this constant, what do I post today? That type of thing. Is that what you’re getting at when you talk about the mental health aspect of it?

[00:18:30] Meg: I think as part of it for sure is the mental health as aspect of being a creator and feeling like you always have to be on and you always have to be creating something new and you always have to be performing. But I think also too there is a factor at play, which is the mental health aspect of being a consumer.

[00:18:47] Meg: Of needing to keep in touch with other people and when people engage with your content and they DM you, then you have to get back to them quickly, otherwise you might lose the sale. And I think that there’s just a, I think part of it is absolutely the creation and the nonstop performative aspect to it.

[00:19:04] Meg: And the feeling like you always have to be ahead of the trends or leaning into the trends because the trends are what’s going to make you go viral. So you have to keep your finger on the pulse of this is what the algorithm’s doing today. I think that there’s a level of mental capacity and mental load that takes.

[00:19:20] Meg: But also just like the constant buzzing in your pocket, the constant, somebody is as some platform, some app is trying to notify you right now and it’s interrupting your thought like that. I just paused in the middle of this because it happened to me and I looked over at my phone. Even I thought I put it on focus mode, I guess I did.

[00:19:39] Meg: But it’s interrupting our thoughts and then it takes us that much longer to get back into it. This the task switching. It’s the constant feedback, the constant buzz and it’s our brains are craving that dopamine. And I have ADHD so my brain in particular loves dopamine ’cause it doesn’t produce as much on its own.

[00:20:01] Meg: So I have to go out and seek out those novel experiences, which, what’s more addictive? In social media, maybe gambling, maybe, I got married in Las Vegas. I love gambling as, I’m not trying to say like casinos are bad in the same way that social media, I’m not trying to say that’s bad.

[00:20:20] Meg: I’m saying you need to have a game plan. You can’t just go in and throw a card through a slot machine and expect to come out with a jackpot like you need to, okay, I’m going to spend a hundred dollars over the next hour and if I don’t get a jackpot, I’m going to walk away from it. What are the boundaries that we can create for ourselves?

[00:20:37] Meg: What are the cutoff points that we have? What is the fastest route to the bathroom? Because you don’t want to have to wait till you have to go to figure out the winding way through the casino.

[00:20:52] Matt: No, I love what you said there. And I think that’s the same thing business owners when they put together a business plan, and I’m fascinated by where they put the details that for the industry and they show their knowledge.

[00:21:04] Matt: But then when it comes to the marketing, I usually see this line item of marketing. I’m going to do it on social media. And they don’t even consider those, like you were saying, the boundaries, the cutoff points that so much of my day will be spent posting or creating content there it’s a line item, not realizing that what’s in that line item is essentially a 40 hour work week.

[00:21:28] Meg: For those folks who, there are people who, this is their full-time job, 401 company, and they could do it for literally full-time. And I think the other thing that I see missing a lot from the marketing strategies is how do I know what my measures of success are with this marketing strategy? A lot of times I have many friends who are social media managers.

[00:21:47] Meg: They’re strategists. It is their full-time job. They work with their clients and the turnover that they see. See is from they’re getting great results for their clients, but they’re focusing on engagement metrics and their clients expect more followers. So not necessarily being aligned with what is the goal?

[00:22:04] Meg: What is the measure that we are going to put into place to say, in three months time, we want to have increased our follower count by double, then maybe that’s not actually going to contribute to your sales, so how do you know? And that’s something that’s really missing, especially in social media marketing.

[00:22:23] Meg: It can be incredibly difficult to make that correlation of, I posted this tweet and I made this sale and I can’t necessarily track the path back to it. Whereas with content marketing, with email marketing, with even relationship marketing, I can say I got referrals. I went on Matt’s podcast and someone said, I heard you on Matt’s podcast, and then they came and hired me for something, or they came and joined my email list and I can track that a lot more easily than just, oh, somebody maybe joined my Facebook group.

[00:22:57] Matt: And I love it because this is the language, this is the conversation that we need to have and attribution is a headache, but I can track an email click through, I can track those types of things. And I love you bringing that up. Because when it comes to social media, so many people are consumed with the metrics that come out of that, but yet there is a massive gap in between all this posting and where it actually ends up, what’s my goal, what am I trying to achieve with it? And I don’t think people are asking those questions.

[00:23:35] Matt: And so you end up with vanity metrics, you end up with likes and all those types of things rather than, is it enabling you to achieve the objective that you want? And we were just doing this in the office. We were like, we had a massive increase on July 4th and 5th to the site. I’m like why? What did we post? What did we do? And I think we ended up with people were bored.

[00:24:01] Matt: That’s what it came down to. They weren’t somewhere working maybe somewhere in the office somewhere Not and because we couldn’t attribute it to anything that was going on, it’s what is happening here? But I think that part of social is like this self-reinforcing. Goal system of likes, followers, those types of things.

[00:24:21] Matt: And it gets you on that hamster wheel of just more and more.

[00:24:26] Meg: I have a client who has literally 1 million Instagram followers. they’re a partnership who help artists to make more money. And so they feature a lot of their artists in their Instagram feed and in their Instagram stories. And they have lots of people who want to be featured because they’re artists, but their money comes from a course about how to license your artwork or how to sell wholesale.

[00:24:52] Meg: And so their actual sales come from a webinar that come from traffic, from people who are looking for those specific outcomes. So like when I work with them on their search, it’s like keywords about how to sell your art wholesale or how to package your goods and services, right?

[00:25:08] Meg: It’s very practical, very tutorial based, very, these are the ways that people are going to make money. Zero of their sales have come from their billion Instagram followers as far as we know. People may have clicked through their website and read the post, but like very low click through rate.

[00:25:24] Meg: Very high engagement rate ’cause people want to like those images, but that doesn’t pay their bills. It doesn’t pay their artist bills. It just makes everyone feel really good. It makes everyone feel seen and validated and oh my gosh, maybe my work got seen by these people but none of them are buying.

[00:25:42] Meg: It’s all artists looking at other artists’ work. It’s not wholesalers, it’s not licensers, it’s nobody that’s going to give them money, but woo-hoo look. Million followers. We forget to think about and we get so caught up in the vanity.

[00:25:56] Matt: What you’re describing, and I’ve seen this over and over in very similar situations, is fear that I’m putting hours into this. I don’t know what I’m getting out of it, but I can’t stop,

[00:26:09] Meg: It’s a sunk cost.

[00:26:10] Matt: Yeah, I might lose sales. And then I’ll get in, I’ll audit, do all the metrics and analytics and show them here’s where your business is coming from.

[00:26:19] Matt: And this is a direct track that I can go from point A to point B and put a monetary value on it. Here’s all your social stuff. I can’t draw a line from your sale to your social and put a monetary value on it. But still, there’s this hesitation, this fear that I can’t stop because what if there is, I’m like, I just showed you where 90% of your sales are coming from and you’re not thinking about how to leverage that.

[00:26:47] Matt: You’re thinking about how to do this 10% mystery of well, I need to do something there and just this feeling.

[00:26:56] Meg: Because they want to get their reactions. It’s a very human behavior. It’s not necessarily logical, it’s not necessarily intellectual, but there’s a reason we call it social media. And it’s not just ’cause this. Social graph and the social network and Mark Zuckerberg decided that was what we were going to call it.

[00:27:17] Meg: But it’s a stand in for society especially those of us who are running home-based businesses who, you and I are talking from across the country, but I have not seen another adult human that I’m not married to today. I have my dog and I have you.

[00:27:35] Matt: It’s enabled that it, because I was ranting about it the other day. I said I would love to just do this pro and con on social media because in a way it’s given people a voice, but I feel like the vast majority of people shouldn’t have that voice.

[00:27:54] Matt: There was an incident here locally and it made the paper and there was an accident at the township garage and next to the township, garage is the recycling center and this happened on a weekend. And the newspaper article allowed comments at the bottom. I’m like, alright, I’m going to go look at this.

[00:28:15] Matt: And someone was saying there’s something up because this happened at the recycling center, which is closed on Sunday, and I lived just down the street. I’m like, no, this happened at the township garage. And the person ran through the gate. I saw it. But this person that made this statement was so confidently incorrect.

[00:28:33] Matt: But was trying to instruct others. And I’m like, in normal societal conversation, when you’re in a room of humans, they will correct you or look at you disapprovingly, when you are so confidently incorrect. But without that feedback it launches you into a very self-important view of yourself and your opinion.

[00:28:53] Meg: Was it Churchill who said the best argument against democracy is a conversation with the average person?

[00:28:59] Meg: I’m maybe making that up, I was just looking it up while you were telling that story, but I can say it with confidence. Winston Churchill declared, right?

[00:29:09] Matt: What is it like Abraham Lincoln? You can’t trust anything you read on the internet. I think that quote’s going around, it’s amazing the ways that social media has transformed us as humans, chemically. As you were describing, but chemically, socially, our attention spans what we consider quote good content.

[00:29:32] Matt: It’s amazing just in the past 10 or so years how that has transformed our thinking and now it has consumed an average business owner.

[00:29:42] Meg: Yeah, to the point that we can no longer see the alternatives or we ignore the alternatives or we look at the actual metrics and say that can’t be right.

[00:29:51] Matt: Absolutely. So I got to ask you’ve done a number of podcasts on this. You’ve interviewed people. What has been like one of the biggest success stories that has come out of this?

[00:30:03] Meg: In terms of decreasing social media or in terms of replacing it, what’s your definition of success.

[00:30:08] Matt: Anyone that you have talked to where you felt completely vindicated. Yes, that is exactly what I wanted to happen or something where someone’s story just inspired you and just made you so happy that you were able to communicate this message to others.

[00:30:27] Meg: I had a student a couple of years back who so this was before I started the podcast, but I feel like it’s the kind of story that gives us a reminder of what we’re talking about here. She is a coach for lawyers who want to leave corporate law, who are disappointed by the number of hours that they work, who feel like they have this,

[00:30:45] Meg: a lot of money that they’re making, but their work life balance isn’t good and she’s trying to help them to find an alternative career. And she started a podcast about it and she interviewed people who left big law and is it okay for her? And then she was on Facebook and ran Facebook ads.

[00:31:04] Meg: But like, how do you pinpoint that moment in somebody’s life where they’re unhappy? She was posting on LinkedIn and she got reactions, but people who are unhappy at their jobs are not going to post in response to something ’cause they don’t want to get fired for it.

[00:31:22] Meg: She was in this impasse and we came up with an SEO strategy that was like, alternative careers for lawyers or I hate being a lawyer, right? Like we found these very visceral phrases and also very solution-based phrases and created a blog post that now people will find the blog post for the phrase, let’s go to Google and be like, oh my God, I hate being a lawyer.

[00:31:48] Meg: And we’ll find her blog and they’ll join her email list. And they’ll start working with her within a week, and I think the difference is this wasn’t like a public service announcement for why search matters, even though it does. But I think the difference is some people are searching and some people are scrolling, and the benefit of creating some sort of

[00:32:08] Meg: inbound marketing for when people are searching for you is that they can pinpoint what the problem is, but they don’t have to publicly advertise that problem. So especially if you’re like, I’m a marriage counselor, or you don’t want to have to go on Facebook and be like, hi, my husband and I are fighting all the time.

[00:32:29] Meg: How do I get him to listen to me? Sometimes we don’t want to air our dirty laundry, but the people who are hesitant who are feeling some shame about things who are private, they’re still going into search because search feels objective. It doesn’t feel like you’re going to be judged by it.

[00:32:46] Matt: Oh, Meg, I tell you what, here’s the question. I’m going to serve it up to you. Here’s an easy, here’s a lob. Is SEO undervalued?

[00:32:57] Meg: Depends on your industry, but usually, yes. Especially, I work with a lot of women business owners especially women service business owners, and so they have this feeling like, oh, my audience is already on these platforms and also I can’t figure out the technology. So I don’t know if it’s necessarily undervalued so much as over complicated.

[00:33:19] Meg: Because once we start talking and I’m like, oh, just write these five pieces of information, update this page on your website. We need to get super, super clear about who you’re working with. I can have you on the search results in six months. They’re like, oh my gosh, that was so easy, But having somebody come up with a plan for you, or having somebody demystify some of these rules that are just acronyms of people who want to sound smart.

[00:33:42] Matt: I’ve just found that people who grown up in SEO tend to view social media with a very suspicious eye. And because to me, nothing transforms a business like SEO. It’s that reliable source of traffic that is continuing to come in and like you said, I can hit people at their pain point.

[00:34:07] Meg: It’s time sensitive. It’s relevant to the moment. It’s, especially if you can, really get to the heart of this is the problem that you need to be solved and you’re in enough discomfort from the problem that you’re going to go seek out a solution.

[00:34:21] Meg: If you can get that scenario happening, then you can convert it.

[00:34:25] Meg: But it’s not just get more and more. It’s the same thing with vanity metrics. Sure, you can have millions of page views, but unless you have millions of page views and you’re also running display ads or whatever, that’s a completely different business model than the folks I’m talking to. There’s nothing wrong with that business model, but that’s a different business model.

[00:34:44] Matt: Yeah. You’re getting the inbound visitor at the pain point and being able to combat that social, still pushing, you’re pushing that outbound message, hoping to get people at that right time.

[00:34:57] Meg: And you want them to be paying attention to what you’re putting on social media in between like the CAT videos and the Ted Lasso gif. And I’m not thinking about my marketing, I’m thinking about how funny that dance is. I’m thinking about how much I love Roy Kent as a character. I’m not going oh my God, it’s so good.

[00:35:16] Meg: I just want to see him yell the word whistle. I’m not on social media because I want to feel bad about my marketing. It’s not the outcome that I’m seeking.

[00:35:26] Matt: Yeah. And I think the latest research showed that people who are on average are on eight different platforms. And they treat the platforms differently based on what they want to accomplish and most of what they want to accomplish is wasting time. I think it’s just if I have two minutes, I’m going to TikTok.

[00:35:44] Matt: If I have five minutes, I’m going to go to Instagram. It’s really interesting to get sort of, why are people at that platform at that time? And very few people and when I talk to, advertisers, business owners and things like that, it’s like you’re interrupting people as they’re trying to distract themselves.

[00:36:05] Matt: You’re trying to recruit them and it doesn’t work well that way. There’s a mindset to it and that’s one thing I thought interesting that you continued with your YouTube because people view that completely differently. And sometimes people call it social, sometimes they don’t but I thought that was cool.

[00:36:21] Meg: I’ve always thought of YouTube as a search engine, and yes, there are parts of the algorithm that can be more social. Things like your reach and your velocity and stuff like that. Those can be more of a social metric. But your keyword optimizing, you’re thinking about what is the thing that people want in this moment, and then once they get on your channel, then they might treat it a little bit more social.

[00:36:42] Meg: So I stuck with YouTube. I continue to podcast. It used to be that I would tell people, like create the content and then take an excerpt and push it out to social. And that’s no longer a part of my message because nobody wants to go onto Instagram and watch 60 seconds of an audiogram of a podcast, they’re not going to click through to listen to.

[00:37:02] Meg: ’cause they don’t have an hour to listen to that. It’s just not the behavior that’s expected. I think the only channel where people are going to actively work is LinkedIn and nobody really wants to be on LinkedIn. It’s more of a chore than it is an entertainment channel. And that’s okay. As long as we know what the purpose is of why we’re doing these things, we recognize.

[00:37:26] Meg: Maybe part of this for folks might be like, just recognize when you pick up your phone, which app you go to, and how long are you on? Are you doom scrolling or are you engaging? Is this a you’re seeking out entertainment or are you numbing yourself from not wanting to feel something else? Here’s where Meg, the yoga teacher, comes out for just a minute or two.

[00:37:47] Matt: No, I love it. And it’s part of this is based on you, your personality, your business, things like that. Is where should you be? For me, I love LinkedIn. LinkedIn and analytics it’s my number one source of business and so it’s a great thing. And so I treat Instagram and whatever else comes after that I don’t care what happens there.

[00:38:10] Meg: Its not a business platform. LinkedIn is a business platform where you are going to connect with other business owners and entrepreneurs and networking, right? That’s the goal of it. And it’s also not an advertising based platform. You’re not getting fed ads all the time when you’re on it.

[00:38:26] Meg: LinkedIn makes its money through job postings, not advertising, so the model of it is a very different model.

[00:38:33] Matt: Yes. And again, that’s something people don’t take into account is if I choose to use this platform, you’re not the customer.

[00:38:46] Meg: You are being packaged up into a product, into an ad segment.

[00:38:50] Matt: The advertiser is the customer, you’re not. And so if you’re trying to build audience, I got news for you. It’s not your audience and they’re more interested in something else. So yeah I love this reality check here and it is so nice to talk to another like mind.

[00:39:09] Meg: We joked beforehand that we’re like antisocial. We’re not antisocial. We are still here for the relationships. But these platforms have made very large promises to us that they’re not delivering on and I think that we cannot just blindly fall. I don’t want to say blindly ’cause that’s an ableist term.

[00:39:26] Meg: We should critically think and ask questions about why are the reasons that we’re on this? And if you want to stay, choose to stay mindfully and intentionally and recognize what your goals are and recognize yeah, sometimes I just want to go on TikTok and watch people be ridiculous and I don’t have to market in that moment.

[00:39:45] Meg: I can just let myself zone out for 10 minutes, 20 minutes. Okay, 45. Okay, an hour and a half, like that’s a choice that I can choose to make.

[00:39:55] Matt: Absolutely. And I love the, you’re fitting along the lines of like Exactly. In my podcast, is just that reinforcement of the critical evaluation, the intentionality of what you want to do and understanding what goes into it. And so, oh, it’s been wonderful to talk with you. I want to spend just a couple of minutes and ask you.

[00:40:15] Matt: From a content creator standpoint I train a lot of content creators who, like Instagram is their chosen platform. Some are on TikTok, some are on YouTube. But from a content creator standpoint, that’s a whole nother level of pressure on them. Have you talked to anyone and how do they deal with that?

[00:40:39] Matt: Have you talked to anyone and what’s their been their reaction to your Social Slowdown?

[00:40:44] Meg: I think a lot of the pressure is also connected to the business models that we have. So If you are a B2C e-commerce business who is using Instagram for its shopping functionality, and you’re going on Instagram live and you’re doing essentially like a popup trunk show and people are buying right on there and they feel really good about it, and you’re making sales and you feel good, that’s very different than you and I as infopreneurs will use the, ugh,

[00:41:12] Meg: such a jargony freaking term where we’re trying to teach people something and it’s education versus entertainment and it isn’t that immediate gratification of oh, here’s an earring that I really like. I’m going to buy it and it’s going to show up in my mailbox the next day and it’s an impulse purchase.

[00:41:28] Meg: So I think knowing what the behavior is that you want to get out of your audience and how that feels for the audience. I think also some of the folks that you may be talking to as content creators, the way that you ask the question implies to me that they’re an influencer who may be selling sponsorships or who may be monetized in some way, and their personal brand is tied to what they’re creating.

[00:41:53] Meg: So it might be like, the people who will start all of their YouTube channels Hey guys, guess what I did today? And then you see the B B-rolls of them climbing in their car and they, you see the microphone coming in from the side. There’s a specific type of content that is created that has to be that sort of upbeat and here’s the planner that I just got in the mail, let’s unbox it.

[00:42:14] Meg: Like that level of enthusiasm that has to go into that it’s exhausting. I cannot imagine how much energy needs to go into the quick cuts and the this, but there are some people who thrive on that level of energy. I’m an extrovert, I’m an Enneagram seven. I still can’t get there.

[00:42:40] Meg: So recognizing that you have to find the business model that works for the type of content that you want to create, and your business may or may not need that level of reach and of energy and of emotional labor,

[00:42:57] Matt: Very cool. Emotional labor. I love that. Oh my goodness. That is such a great descriptor of

[00:43:04] Meg: I think that would actually be, emotional labor would be more like people who are like coming into the comments and asking you for help. That might be more of the emotional labor of it, but yeah.

[00:43:13] Matt: Do you get people that email you or contact you just like the help?

[00:43:18] Meg: Not really, not anymore when I had a Facebook group, yes. Sometimes in the YouTube comments, yes. But I think, honestly, since I’ve been having this sort of unfiltered conversation on the podcast either people get what they need from me on the podcast or they recognize that I’m going to not be as sympathetic as they want. I don’t know why I don’t get it.

[00:43:40] Matt: That’s great. I love it.

[00:43:42] Meg: I’m mean, I’d be like, okay, then stop doing it. I don’t know maybe I’ll be too much of a hard ass for them. And they know that they won’t get the reaction that they actually want.

[00:43:50] Meg: It’s like going to a truth teller and expecting ’em to be like, okay, I haven’t really gotten too much pushback on it.

[00:43:57] Matt: That’s great. And maybe that’s from the long form content you’re adding context to it. And so like you said, people know what they’re going to get if they contact you. So that is really cool.

[00:44:09] Meg: And I think also there’s a level that, like when you’ve been doing this for a long time, you have to find times where you’re a coach and times where you’re a consultant, where if someone comes to me for SEO, I’m going to be a consultant, I’m going to say, here are the 10 things that I need you to do. Here’s where this goes.

[00:44:23] Meg: On this page, I’m going to give you a plan. If somebody comes to me with a question like, I’m feeling this way, I’m going to be a coach and go what do you think you should do? No one wants to ask that, answer that question. No one wants to self-inspect. No, that’s awful.

[00:44:38] Matt: No. Is that a coach or a parent?

[00:44:41] Meg: Maybe a little bit of both. I have that too. Oh, my eight year old and all of his questions. Gosh.

[00:44:47] Matt: Yeah. I’ve got teenage daughters, so, yeah, that what do you think you should do? Is become quite the catch line here,

[00:44:53] Meg: For us, it’s more so why did you explode in that way? What did that boy say to you that made you feel like you needed to react to that level? Yeah, it’s fun.

[00:45:02] Matt: Oh, absolutely wouldn’t trade it.

[00:45:04] Matt: Meg, this has been an absolutely amazing conversation. I can’t believe that we have filled this time already. I think we’re going to have to do a part two to this because this was a lot of fun and thank you so much for your time today.

[00:45:16] Meg: I would love to come back anytime you want. Thank you so much for the opportunity.

[00:45:20] Matt: Alright and where can people find you? This is your 20 seconds pitch here, Meg. It’s all yours.

[00:45:26] Meg: You want to find out about SEO, you can find our agency over at If you want to listen to the podcast, you can go to to listen to those conversations, and then by the time this goes live, the new book will be out. So you can get that at or find it on Amazon. And the Case Bolt and the book is the Social Slowdown.

[00:45:48] Matt: Love it. I can’t wait to read it and I’ve been going through the podcast, so it’ll just be reinforcement, I think.

[00:45:54] Meg: Its just a distillation of everything in there to try to get it under 40,000 words.

[00:45:58] Matt: Perfect. Meg, again, this has been a wonderful conversation and really love the message of the Social Slowdown and I hopefully, dear listener, this has taken some pressure off of you.

[00:46:11] Matt: Yeah. I just know the past few months have been crazy for me and so yeah, I slowed down and It’s cool. Everything’s cool. It’s all going to be okay. Meg, thank you so much for your message. And dear listener, thank you so much for tuning in to this episode of The Endless Coffee Cup. I look forward to our next cup of coffee in the next edition of the Endless Coffee Cup podcast.

Endless Coffee Cup podcast

Featured Guest:

Meg Casebolt

Founder, Love at First Search

Author, Social Slowdown

Meg Casebolt

Meg Casebolt is founder of Love At First Search, an agency singularly devoted to helping online businesses get found in search results (like Google, YouTube & iTunes) & turn those new readers into leads, subscribers and sales. She is also the host of social slowdown podcast.

Get Social Slowdown at Amazon


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