This is the transcript of the Social Media for Humans podcast episode Implementing strategy while neurodivergent with Trudy How. You can find the video version with closed captions at the end of this post or over on YouTube.

Alexis is in italics and Trudy is in normal text.

Hello hello! I am here today with the lovely Trudy of ‘Pawprints, Pilates & a Piece of Cake’. Would you like to introduce yourself?

Hello, I’m Trudy. ‘Pawprints, Pilates & a Piece of Cake’ Mainly Pilates. Pawprints is just my two dogs and the fact that everything has dog hair in my life. And they’re my love. And cake is, who doesn’t love cake? We have cake after class, sometimes. Not at the moment. Having to do virtual cake, which is ever so difficult.

The idea is, nice, relaxing, but hard work. Pilates classes, and social as well. That’s the idea.

Which is nice. And I like that you’re very sort of body inclusive and working with whatever is going on with your body at the minute.

Don’t look like a gym bunny. Can’t really see me, but, anyway.

Well, I think it’s really important.

It is, it is. I always had this big thing about couldn’t be a Pilates instructor because I didn’t look like basically a ballerina. No, everybody can be a Pilates instructor, everybody can do Pilates, as well. Because everybody has a skeleton, and you all have the same muscles. Padding is just padding. So we just adapt stuff.

So we met through social media, through a mutual friend slash acquaintance slash colleague slash.

One of those rabbit holes. Follow, follow, follow.

You have been through several of my courses. You’ve done ‘Instagram for Humans’, you’ve done ‘Out of the Jungle’, and now you’re working with me one-to-one.

Yes, I did the proper progression.

You did! (laughing) You followed my funnel beautifully.

I did!

Why give social media a go?

So you’re working very hard at social media at the moment. So I am interested to know what made you, firstly, what made you think “I want to do social media properly for my business”?

I have avoided social media. I put my hands up. I have avoided social media most of my life. I am of an age where I have watched social media appear, develop, and used to be in the software industry. So very much ooh, no, no, no, don’t want to do anything like that. Don’t put my life on the internet. But I retrained to a Pilates teacher and it was kinda like I have to connect with people. Need to connect with people. How do you do that nowadays? Social media. So it was kind like, fine, okay.

So I know technically how everything works. However, I am dyslexic. So writing is a big problem. So it started off with Instagram. Instagram I thought was fabulous. It’s pictures, you don’t have to write anything! And then realised that everybody actually writes stuff. And it was kind of like, oh, oh okay, so we need to do writing. And then it was into, what do I need to write?

And then it got onto further, you know, the more you look into it, it’s kind of like, what’s the difference between a post? And then there’s these reel things, and then there’s story things. Still not a hundred percent sure about those two but maybe getting there. And then, yeah. And then there’s the TV thing, which is… So it was kinda like, okay then.

And I saw your five day challenge, was where it started. I kind of jumped in. And that was five minutes a day. And it was kind of just go, go do that, and then come back. And it was kind of like, okay. So it doesn’t have to rule my life?

And there was people, friends have said, you know they spent hours on it and it’s kind of like, I don’t want to do that, I want to teach Pilates, but I want to do advertising. And social media is the advertising world of the day. So long story, really.

Acclimatising with other things, recent years I’ve found out I’m also Autistic and recently found out I have ADHD. So all of these things mingling together mean I’m not very focused. I have a real problem if somebody tells me to write something. I can write, just not when I have to write. And yeah, inattention is what I have from the ADHD. So trying to get all of that together in a way that I can cope with it, it doesn’t overwhelm me, and the fact that your main thing is it has to work with my life, is the big thing. And, the process, so, yeah. And I think it’s working.

I’ve been very impressed with your scheduling and getting stuff done, and like… Because you say if you’re told to write something, that’s like a, uh, no, but actually what I’ve sort of, I’d leave you a list of things, like here are some things that you need to write about. You do write them.

Because you do make good prompts. Yeah, yeah, yeah. So if I have the blank piece of paper going in I can get the pictures, I can get the images, that’s all right, and then it’s kind of, okay, now write the sales-y pitch, and I kinda, I don’t want to do sales pitches. How do you interact with somebody? And then I have this problem of, I can’t actually think about how somebody else thinks in a conversation, which I have learned recently is about the Autism and that processing time about going put yourself in somebody else’s shoes. I have difficulty with that. It’s a challenge because my brain is just so different. It’s difficult to put my brain in normal people, no, not normal people, but yeah.

Catching content ideas effectively.

It’s just the kind of, you know, huge stream of consciousness that I have usually about five o’clock in the morning. How to then take that and tailor it.

That is a good topic actually. How are you managing to, because I’m sure a lot of people have that sort of that thing where they have these amazing ideas in the shower or late at night or early in the morning and they’re just like, “I don’t want to get up and write it down. “What do I do, I can’t get up to a computer “and sort it all out. “What do I do?”

Technology is a wonderful thing. Voice recording.

Ah, hot tip.

I don’t like speaking to technology. My husband and I are very much kind of, it’s not being turned on all the time. It’s not going to sit in the corner and listen to us. Don’t know why, we’ve worked out that’s an age thing, paranoia. All the sci-fi stories from when we were younger, we believed them.

But, the voice recognition and converting that into text is fantastic now. It’s fantastic. As is spell-checkers and grammar-checkers. So I have learned that everything has to go through, I use Microsoft. So I go through their “Editor,” it’s called.

So everything goes into a Word document. The stream of consciousness comes from the phone into the Word document, and then I have to go through it with the spelling-checker and the grammar-checker as well. So it adds in the extra stages into the process.

A lot of people struggle with this sort of, it’s not professional enough. It needs to sound more professional, or more honed, or more this, or more, and actually what it needs to sound like is you. So if you just are speaking and then it’s typing out itself that’s a really good way to do it because that is your authentic voice.

You have to educate it, and you have to be happy to add words to the dictionary. ‘Cause I know I make up a lot of words. I add endings to things. I combine words. I do that, but they have, yeah, they have to come out in the captions. So you have to not be afraid to go, is this really a word? Or is this a Trudy word? If it’s a Trudy word, we’ll add it to the dictionary and it will learn it. If I haven’t spelt it wrong, we did that.

I have quite often thought I need two of me, really. I need the one that does all the ideas and then the other one can just sit there and type it all.

If you figure that out, let me know, because I could do with a second version of me as well, that’d be handy.

A lot of people have said that as well.

Get working on that!

So the aim is to get the Pilates business up better, more clients, so I can do the Pilates side of it and then maybe somebody else could do…

The struggle with engagement.

Whenever I put up a prompt or something that is like go and engage five people, go and do this engagement, go and leave a comment here. They’re always the ones that you are guaranteed to comment on and be like “Help!”

Which is funny because I’m engaging.

So I guess I want to know, what is it that makes that difficult or causes a disconnect for you?

Well recently you said, you know, go to… You very nicely, narrowed down the prompt even more rather than go out and put five comments on, we’ve done that one, that didn’t work. So with this last time it was go to one big company hit the last post and comment one comment on it. And through doing that one I think I’m slowly working out that I just get overwhelmed actually.

So I went to a big company in the Pilates world. I actually went to ‘Body Control Pilates’ who I trained with. Went to theirs, thought; safe place. We go there. Last post, there were no comments. So that started throwing me because, ohh, my little route had been sidetracked. Go to the previous one, went through all of the comments and it was just everybody congratulating themselves and congratulating the dog that was in the picture. And it was kinda like, oh, well, can’t really comment on any of that. Thinking about it, now, I could’ve done. I could’ve just said, “Hello, Berty. How are you? Missing seeing you in the studio.” Yeah, I can do it about a week later.

Understanding yourself and finding workarounds.

I think it’s all dealed up with that social sort of misfitting. Of being in a room and having to go and talk to people, it’s the same thing on Instagram. You go and talk to people. And I don’t always come out with the right words or they don’t come across the way, my head comes up with a kind of a thought and then as it comes out it gets formed into some words, and then the other person gets the words and they don’t always come across as what the thought was.

So there’s this mismatch of the processing which through sort of my journey with my mental health I’ve found that is partly the dyslexia, because I don’t have a good, it’s a filing system. I have a huge vocabulary, but the filing system on the vocabulary is screwed up. And then you add in the Autism in that. And that’s the bit that goes, don’t want to talk to anybody. Scary. So yeah, so even just doing it, you know, engagement. We’re going to have to avoid strangers, I think, somehow. But all the clients I’ve had that haven’t been my friends, that were complete strangers, I’ve actually got through local groups on Facebook, which I know I haven’t been doing recently. Do I have to do that?

I’ll add that to the list.

I was thinking about that this morning, actually. I’ve lost my piece of paper with my posting schedule of which groups and when you can post. ‘Cause not as overwhelming, groups, which is very sensible, I mean, you don’t want to read things everywhere. And now we’ve got this, the schedule going, with the things and have actually got some demonstrations of some stress-relieving things. Thing is everybody is stressed at the moment.

I thought, and actually loads of people are being, I won’t say damaged, that’s not quite the right word. But broken’s not quite the word either. They are having issues, basically. The stress is coming out in everybody’s body. I thought that actually to post into those groups, the stress-relieving tips would be better than the salesy type things that I see in there. I think it’s awareness more than come to my lessons.

Yeah, definitely. That was something that Emma and I were talking about. It’s about adding value and it’s about helping. I know the first sort of stress-relieving posts that you put up did really well for you. So it’s kind of a testament that it works.

Doing it your way.

There’s also a part of me that’s watched other Pilates instructors on social media, and the thing to do if you’re a fitness person is lots of well filmed, lovely, beautiful, quite advanced exercises as your showcase. And I’m quite hesitant to do that because I’ve had just had so many people and spoke to so many people who watched something. The classic example in the UK at the moment is Joe Wicks, and they’ve done that, and they did it, and then they got, you know, back issues and shoulder issues and whatever, because they tried to do a very advanced thing. It’s kind of like, it’s not what I want to do. I want to help people to move better. Not to damage them.

Well, yeah. But that is something that I think is coming across in your content, now. I think you’ve figured out your niche, if you like. You are very much talking to your audience. But I know you had trouble niching down. You had trouble with that sort of ideal client, target market, type thing. So how did you, how did that click?

How did that click? It hasn’t. You’re gonna love that.


It hasn’t in my head. I always had a struggle with it because it’s to do with pigeonholing and my whole life I just don’t like being pigeonholed. I don’t like the fact that we have to have labels for things. People are people. That’s another conversation.

But yeah, so people are people, and so trying to be very specific in putting myself in a box and then getting those other people, it’s kind of like, well, I’d actually really like to appeal to all the people that don’t fit in a box. So yeah. Yeah, if you think of yourself as a square peg in a square hole then my Pilates classes probably aren’t for you.

You’ve managed to sort of suss out your content. Suss out how to speak to those people without really having figured out those people, if you see I mean.

Right, right. I suppose I write what I want, and how it makes me feel. So at the moment it’s all about a different Pilates principle and about me and how I view life. And it’s kind of like, well actually, that’s who I want to appeal to. So my philosophy on life and how I teach Pilates and what I use Pilates for, fits in with how your philosophy, the ideal client philosophy, then…

I mean this morning I was utilising one of Emma’s groups to get some feedback on logo ideas. And there’s been quite a few ideas about going it’s a rather complicated logo. It is my brand though. And quite a few people have said, you know, it needs to be simpler. And one lady has actually said, I think it’s a lady, bit of an assumption there, that the first thing that popped into her mind was that I wanted to attract people who wanted to bring their pets to class and then eat cake afterwards. So my comment is, well, if that’s what popped into your mind with that logo, yay! That’s who I want. I didn’t write that, but it was kind of, I have a feeling that’s not what you want from a Pilates class. That’s fine. There’s loads of us around. There’s enough people in the world, there’s enough Pilates, not enough Pilates instructors, but we can always have more.

It sounds like that sort of using yourself as that ideal client, which is a great way to do it. You say, if that’s going to work with people like you then that is a really, really simple way to figure that out. So that is a very good tip for people. You don’t have to have a very complicated ideal client set up. You can just, I want to work with people like me. And then you can write what you want to write.

There you go then! Can update that ideal client worksheet. Just use you, at the bottom.

Facebook groups.

How do you find Facebook groups?

I quite like Facebook groups. I have little pictures of them in my head. I know that sounds bizarre. And part of the name also comes into it. The ones where people are inclusive and are positive and in very polite ways, educate people if they’re being nasty. But those sorts of groups that attract people to be positive.

I used to really not like groups of people and that was an in-person thing. But through having some problems with one of my dogs, got into a dog training group, and then got into a smaller Facebook group. And it was kind of like, actually, they can be like actual places. So I kind of got my head around the idea that maybe it’s a bit like a lounge and that you go in and you sit down and you have a cup of coffee and you talk to the person next to you. “What have you been doing today?” Well, we’ve been doing this. And have you got any problems? That sort of thing.

So it kind of comes back to a staff room, really. In my head. Or a break room or something like that, office. You just go and chat. And there’ll be one thing that would have got you in there in the first place, which is the common interest. Which is just like, you know, at work, you all work for the same company. You all go to the kitchen, make yourself a cup of coffee. You’ll chat to people there. They might not be in your bit of the company.

So I think once I got my head around that, and basically came up with that little image in my head then it was kind of, okay, that’s fine. And although I don’t like talking to people I will actually talk to anybody. And I have, apparently I have a very approachable manner.

You do, yep.

So people will talk to me. So when I was actually going to an office to work I used to know all the gossip because I’d just chat to everybody when you’re making your cup of coffee and that. It might be partly, I don’t really like silence. So standing next to somebody at the coffee machine, making a coffee, I’d have to say something, to interact, which then you’ve got it on kind of technology there. It’s that kind of, mm, words on a piece of paper.

So once I got this little idea of the group is a little lounge and you go in, and sit down, and you make your coffee and you sit down, have your little chat. ‘Cause the reason why you’re there is the same as everybody else. There’s that communal thing. Then it was kind of, okay, I can do that.

Yeah, that’s a good point. A lot of people I think struggle with Facebook groups. Actually, this is another thing that came up with Emma, people struggling, knowing like how to interact and sort of feeling sometimes that whatever they say it’s salesy because they are there to connect with other people with a view to eventually sell something.But that’s actually a really nice way to think about it, as it’s just like, it’s a cafe or a lounge or just a room, you know, a pub or whatever that you’re dropping into and you’re just chatting to people. That is a really nice sort of reframe to make. I think it could help individual people feel less like this is a marketing activity for me, this is a social media engagement activity for me. And more, this is community building, this is socialising, this is just connecting with people.

And then I think also what I did was, ’cause some groups you can join as yourself, your personal profile, and then some groups you can actually join as your page. And it’s always a bit of a dilemma ’cause I’m still a bit hesitant about how much of my personal life goes up.

I’m always forever playing with the privacy settings, ’cause you debate, you know, is that global, is that not? Can I see it? Who can see it? And then you go and post something and share it and you can’t, and then you go…

This way you’re like this split personality. So, but yeah, I realised that if you’re in a group as a page, it’s basically like wearing your logo. You know, you’re in this coffee lounge, you’ve gone to get your coffee. You’ve got a huge, great big logo-ed outfit. If you’re you’re selling bananas, you’re in a banana. So you don’t have to go “Would you like to buy a banana?” Because they’ve seen that, already. So it’s that kind of like, okay, I don’t have to do that because if I’m in there as the page, the assumption is, you’re a business. So at some point, even if there’s the question of, well, what do you do? It’s a business, jeez. Salesy already. So you don’t have to do it. And it was kind of like, actually, yeah that’s been a big thing about…

‘Cause I always had this, “You have to be safe”. And you don’t. ‘Cause, okay, I’m a Pilates teacher. I’d really liked to tell everybody to come. No, I wouldn’t actually. My sort of people to come. How do I weed them out? Well, be me. And if what I talk about, ’cause everybody says I just talk about Pilates so much it’s unbelievable. I have to stop myself, going, “Well, have you tried… “It’s really good if you could, just…” So yeah. And it’s kind of, okay, well, because I do talk about it so much. I don’t have to, I can just…

So you find it helpful to be able to interact in groups as your page, that makes it easier for you. That’s interesting. That might be something for other people to try as well because there is, there are pros and cons to using your personal profile, or your page. I mean, weirdly, like, you can join groups as your page but you can’t do all the same things as you can as a person, which is limiting depending on how you want to use them. Although I tend to find it’s more limiting if it’s your own group, because there are things like creating events and opening rooms and things like that that you maybe want to do as your page, so it’s clear that this is an official thing that’s going up in that group. And you can’t, you have to do it as your personal.

Separating personal and business on Facebook.

I hope, I don’t see it in the near future, but I would like to see some way to separate your actual personal Facebook account from any business activity. So if you’re running pages, to not have to see those notifications on your personal account, and if you’re running groups, you don’t have to see those notifications, that there is some kind of separation.

That would be so nice. I found that messenger has a swap accounts thing. I didn’t know that. It kept having this thing that kept popping up, going notification, you’ve still got a message. No I haven’t. Yes you have. Oh, that one has! But there’s now two. But also, I actually have two phones.

Oh, well that’s handy.

I have a work phone and I have a personal phone. So when I go on holiday, I don’t want to take my work with me. But I haven’t sussed out how to split the two.

No, that is, it is essentially impossible at the moment. And you can monitor, you can install the Business Suite app I think it is now, which allows you to manage your pages, but it doesn’t give you your personal notifications. But it doesn’t, as far as I’m aware, include groups that your page is in. I think it now includes the feed. So you can actually like other pages as your page and you can see those things in that feed now. So they are sort of working towards it, but it is very slow. And the order things are coming out in is a little bit questionable. I would, I would say, but I, who am I to say I know more than Mark Zuckerberg of how people use Facebook.

I don’t think it’s on how people use it at all, I think it’s on which development team does their bit first.

Possibly, possibly.

I’ve been 25 years in the software industry on how big companies work. There will be the plan, and then there’ll be all the little people running along. We haven’t done it yet! Oh yes, oh no, well we’ve done this!

We’re just going to roll this out as we go anyway. It’s all right. Just get it out there. Oh, dear. Well, is there anything you would specifically like to talk about or tell us or cover? Anything you feel you have missed?

I would say that everybody should get their head around the fact that they don’t have to be on social media all the time. It’s a big thing. Because personal interactions, physically interacting with the person you’re in a room with is actually far more important. Maybe important’s not the right word. No, actually that’s the right word. It’s more important. They’re there, and that matters a lot more nowadays. It should fit into your life. So if it’s for work, work life balance. All about that.

And come up with a system that works for everybody. Which is the big thing, has been kind of. And scheduling.

I love that I’ve converted you to scheduling. Scheduling is amazing!

I don’t have to write it all all the time, I can just take something I did last year and yeah, we can use that again. That was the biggest revelation.

And then that helps you to then not be on social media all the time, because you’ve done a lot of the content so you can take then time to interact with people in person safely wearing masks and things like that. You can take the time to be off social media which it really is important. And as much as I think it’s been so helpful to keep people connected, especially during the pandemic, and everything,.

Oh, I mean, at the moment it’s, the whole of social media is just completely keeping everybody sane and that. But I think it’s also definitely need to be in the here and now as it were.

You still need time away from it.

Very much so, in the sunshine!

In the sunshine. Well, yeah, the sunshine and the snow, here.

Oh, we have no snow, we just got sunshine.

Very nice, blue skies.

No snow.

We have a lot of snow.

It’s kind of gone round us.

Well tell us where people can find you. How can they follow you and find you and join you and do stuff with you?

All about Trudy.

Well, I am on Instagram as PawprintsPilatesCake, Facebook as PawprintsPilatesCake, and there’s a website which is

Trudy (she/her) is not your typical fitness instructor in looks and is passionate about getting the message out that Pilates is for everybody and every body.

She uses the Pilates method to assist people in learning how their bodies move so that they can get the best out of themselves, whether the goal is general fitness and flexibility or to work on a specific issue such as back or bone health.

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