EP 21: Using Instagram to Build a Community as an Introvert with Radha Maharlika

Who else feels overstimulated by all of the things on Instagram as an introvertpreneur? You may even think that your life is way too boring to share on stories or maybe you have written off using video altogether for many reasons. It’s important to do what you love and also be where your clients are at. If there’s one platform where both of those things are true, then that’s where you need to be. Before you give up on Instagram, there are some things you can incorporate to make your time on this platform easier, and create a deep level of connection with your audience in the process.

Our guest on the podcast today is Instagram Coach and Strategist, Radha Maharlika. She loves helping her introverted clients grow their pages and businesses intuitively without needing to be extroverts!

In this episode, Radha and I dive into how her corporate marketing career and a leap of faith led her to become an Instagram Coach and Strategist for introverts, creating connections online using different platforms based on where your audience is, how to make Instagram easier for you as an introvert, vulnerability, and comfortability on social media and much more.

Corporate Marketing Career to Online Instagram Coach and Strategist

Even though marketing has a bad reputation in certain areas, Radha loves the world of marketing. There were a few marketing jobs in Radha’s past before she took the leap into the online space. It was mostly social media marketing on and off for the majority of her corporate career. At her last nine to five working with different entrepreneurs, she noticed that many of them had never started businesses before working with her. It was around this time in her life that she felt super inspired to take action herself and start her own business because it never really felt right with jobs working for other people. 2019 was the year she finally decided to quit her job and pursue working on her own schedule. It was a natural transition for her into a business doing social media because she had always wanted to work from home anyway, so that she could do all of the introverted things in her own personal space. She believes there’s a way to market your business in an ethical and sustainable way, and that’s one of the big things she helps her introverted clients with.

Creating Connections Online Using Social Media Platforms You Love

You aren’t big on small talk as an introvert, in fact, you may even hate it. You crave those deeper connections and really diving deep into topics that bring you joy. Although Instagram can be a place full of small talk, it’s a great place to start up those deeper conversations with your audience to create a connection with each other. Radha says in the last few years, it has really grown and evolved into a beautiful, and powerful storytelling platform. You can tell stories through blogs and other similar avenues, but it doesn’t have that same sense of social connectivity that Instagram has. That’s why Radha loves the platform. All of her coaching clients have come through Instagram, which is what she mentions her sweet spot is.

Another social media platform Radha loves using is Clubhouse. She co-hosts rooms with a fellow introvert and business coach for women, Robyn MacNeill, who I have interviewed on the podcast before about building a sustainable business as a leader. In their rooms, they chat about Instagram, marketing, business, working through business blocks, and challenges as introverts in comparison to extroverted entrepreneurs. Radha also says that Clubhouse is great for introverts because you don’t have to feel any kind of pressure to show up on video with it because you are only using your voice. You can go live and have meaningful conversations with other people. Most introverts feel fulfilled and energized by having those meaningful conversations as opposed to small talk which can often drain you. In that way, Radha loves Clubhouse because you can dive in and cut through the red tape and have really juicy conversations. That’s one of the main reasons I love Clubhouse as well.

When it comes to choosing what platform you enjoy connecting on, Radha mentions that no one has to, or should do video marketing. One question she gets asked often is, what platform should I be on to market my business and grow my business? It all depends on your unique situation depending on what you do, and what your business does because not everybody is going to be successful on Instagram. Some people find that they enjoy being on Clubhouse more, or they enjoy Facebook groups more. If that’s the case, then go where your clients are hanging out, and where your community is hanging out. It’s important to do what you love and be where your clients are, so if there’s one platform where both of those things are true, then that’s where you need to be.

Ways to Make Instagram Easier For You as an Introvert

Has Instagram ever made you want to pull the covers over your head to recharge your introvert batteries? I know I have felt this way many times before, but it’s important to take some key factors into mind on how to make this platform more easy and approachable for you as an introvert. It’s super important, as Radha says, to protect your energetic boundaries as an introvert when you’re online. It’s so easy to get lost in the doom scroll, as she likes to call it, where you get on Instagram, and an hour of time has passed from just scrolling through content. Then you realize you could have been working on your own content, or you could have been connecting with specific people that you wanted to connect with instead of just some people that you followed a long time ago, and you forgot about. If this is you, she recommends creating some kind of tracker system for your leads, your community members, and your peers that you want to interact with. This creates the structure you need which helps preserve and protect your energy. When it comes to answering your DMs, treat it like you would your email inbox. You don’t have to message someone right back, so set a certain amount of time aside to get back to those in your schedule.

When it comes to video and using reels, for instance, you should ask yourself these questions. Do I not want to try reels because it’s intimidating and I don’t know how to make it work for me and I’m really terrified or is it that it’s not aligned for me at all in my business? It could be fear is getting in the way, so you can see it as a really great opportunity to make it your own. Or you see lots of people dancing on reels, and you automatically write it off based on that. Either it isn’t for your business based on your brand or you can brainstorm ways to do reels without having to show your face, like a behind-the-scenes routine of yours. 

Another point Radha touches on is if you are using Instagram, and you want to do video, but you don’t feel confident, then she recommends doing some kind of ritual to make video more fun. It can be making your favorite drink or dancing to your favorite music to make it a more positive experience. Then you can put an outfit on that you feel confident in or write an outline of what you’d like to say. Both make great baby steps towards showing up in your confidence and your unique energy. It’s awkward for everyone at first, but you have to go through the stages where you suck to get to the stage where you feel more confident.

Being Comfortable As You Are on Instagram

Many introverts tend to have perfectionism. On Instagram, you see something on someone’s feed and you know it looks great, but if you can’t share the same kind of post, enthusiasm, or design on your stories, or even saying the right thing, then you start down this self-sabotaging path. To build those authentic connections on social media, you really have to be real and you have to be comfortable with showing the real you. That’s what people are going to connect with. It took Radha six months of showing up on video to feel a little more comfortable with it. You have your own process, and you have your own timeline. There are some people, whose awkwardness is completely a part of their brand and that’s how they connect with their audience. That’s what attracts people you really want to work with, not the people who you have to act a certain way for. 

Instagram was all about perfection and the perfect aesthetic feed with gorgeous photos. There is still a lot of that in play as you’re scrolling through, but now it embraces more and more video content. It’s all about it being okay to be messy as long as you’re showing up as you because that’s what people are connecting to. Radha has had clients come to her saying, I don’t know how to show up on stories because I feel like my life is really boring, and nobody’s gonna want to see that. Why would they want to look at that? Radha says it’s not boring. It’s relatable. If you have a quiet morning, where you’re by yourself with your dog and you’re reading a book, that will relate to a lot of people out there and ideally your target audience who would want to start a conversation with you based on the book you’re reading. Even though you think there’s not going to be a point of connection there based on this type of content, you never know because you can’t make up your ideal audience’s mind for them. She also mentions that it is great to have a plan for your content and what you’re sharing, but don’t forget about living in the moment. Detach from the outcome. It’s such an important part of staying resilient and being able to move forward with your business.

Sensory Overload and Being Kind to Yourself in the Process

When it comes to social media, especially social media, it can usually be a big energy and time suck if you aren’t mindful of what you’re doing on there. If you are an introvert and a highly sensitive person, then being on social media too much can cause you to become overwhelmed with all of the information you just took in. You have to be more aware of how your body and mind take things on by being proactive about taking care of yourself with your boundaries throughout your day and your week. Checking in with yourself is an important part of the journey. It’s very interesting how your body just internalizes things that you’re going through in terms of stress or something similar. You can feel like you’re in control in the moment of stress or anxiety, but it could randomly rise to the surface later in your day or another time during your week. Everyone process things differently, so keep in mind that when you do go through something like this to be kind to your body and let it process the build-up of emotions you had.

Powerful Shifts From Showing Up In Your Business

In the first couple of months of Radha showing up in her business, she took some time to niche down and figure out who she wanted to serve. She landed on introverts because she is an introvert herself. She knew that introvert struggle really well, and that’s who she wanted to help the most. She still had a tough time showing up in a way that felt good and wasn’t just blending in with the background of Instagram. She was creating content that she wasn’t completely happy with at the time but didn’t know how to make the content feel more like her own with a flair, so she got an Instagram audit where the person she trusted said that it was okay for her to be vulnerable. She told Radha:

If you want to get to know your audience better, I definitely encourage you to share some more about your life. What are the challenges that you’ve overcome and struggles you’ve had in the past? And how has that made you who you are now? And how can you weave that narrative into your page?

Once she started opening up about things like challenges as an introvert, how as a teenager, she didn’t know how to start conversations with anyone, her anxiety, and being highly sensitive, then people started coming into her amazing community. She was able to connect with them on deeper levels. This allowed beautiful healing moments to happen. She could actually be herself online and share things that she would never have thought to bring up in normal conversation. This is what will connect you to your audience on a personal level and who will want to hear about your offers or products. This transformation experience for her is why she felt so compelled to help other introverts like herself. 

Radha gave so many insightful social media tips especially for Instagram and creating those authentic connections with your audience on this episode of the podcast today. She shared about how she became an Instagram Coach and Strategist for introverts, creating connections online using different platforms based on where your audience is, making Instagram easier for you as an introvert, and vulnerability and relatability on social media. Be sure to follow Radha on Instagram and Clubhouse for more introvert-specific tips using social media. She also has a super helpful Hashtag and Engagement Strategy Guide for helping you to grow your account, so be sure to grab that as well.

If you have been struggling to connect on Instagram, which of Radha’s tips has impacted you the most? Feel free to send her a DM @radhamaharlika.co to let her know.

A Breakdown of This Episode

[1:16] Radha’s story and how she started her Instagram Coaching and Strategy business

[2:22] Why Instagram is Radha’s favorite marketing platform

[3:44] Radha on Clubhouse, who she co-hosts with on a weekly basis, and how Clubhouse works in tandem with Instagram for her

[8:10] Tips for terrified introverts on how to make Instagram easier and more approachable 

[14:09] Old Instagram perfection vs. New Instagram of being real to create connections

[18:22] Being highly sensitive as an introvert, being on social media, and protecting your boundaries to take care of yourself

[22:32] Radha’s signature 8-week program: Instagram and Business for Introverts and who the program is for

[24:43] How long it took for Radha to feel successful and the powerful shift in her business that allowed her to find her community on Instagram

If you enjoyed this episode, I invite you to take a screenshot and tag me on your Instagram stories @introvertcoach and tell me your biggest takeaway!

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