Lots of therapists want to start using social media to increase the reach of their online presence.
But starting out on the wrong foot in social media can leave you spinning your wheels with ineffective strategy.
All too often private practice counselors jump in too quickly and make one of these four mistakes in social media. I'll outline them below to help you stay on the right track:
1. Breaking Promises
Creating a consistent and credible online presence can really help you build trust with prospective clients. This means following through on agreements can help build rapport even when you're not present.
Unfortunately, it can also break trust and diminish credibility if you miss the mark.
Case in point: breaking promises.
When you create social media profiles for your business and especially when you link them to your website you are offering them as an opportunity for clients to connect.
So if you aren't using the social media profile anymore, never have, or step away for a while it leaves a gap for the client.
To keep your social media promises in this sense all you have to do is commit to posting daily on whatever platform you share with clients. If you're not ready to commit to that kind of social media availability, wait until you are to move into this arena.
2. Poor Boundaries
Boundaries are one of the biggest concerns most counselors face when considering social media marketing. We worry about crossover from our personal accounts to our professional relationships.
For this reason it's important you identify which accounts you want to use to market your practice and post only professional content. This increases credibility and helps keep a consistent message for prospective clients who want to work with you.
3. Offputting Privacy Settings
The other way therapists often mis-use social media is by setting the wrong privacy boundaries. Accounts on Twitter and Instagram you have the option for you to make your profile private. When you are set on private others can see your profile picture, name, and that your profile is private.
This is a great option if you plan to use the account for your personal life only. It works well for twitter and instagram specifically because there really is no privacy on those sites if you choose to use them.
However, if you want to direct your clients there either through links on your site or by using your therapy business name or credentials in your account having a private account is confusing to your prospective clients.
This privacy block confuses prospective clients who think you're using twitter and instagram marketing and resource sharing. For example, instead of using "Gina Senarighi MFT CPC" as my account name I might use "Gina Senarighi" only to help avoid crossover. And instead of linking it to my professional website or email signature, I would only share it with friends and family.
Remember, even with your privacy set on these accounts twitter and instagram own the things you share and they can change their privacy settings anytime. To be on the safe side I recommend you don't share anything you don't want clients to find online.
4. Wrong Target
The final social media mistake I see counselors in private practice making is simply not knowing who they are marketing to. You can always create a strong presence online with social media casting a wide net, but each social media platform has a different reputation with specific audiences. You can spend a lot of time and energy with little return this way.
If you want a more effective strategy you want to take time to research the different social media available and the audiences who engage most. Some populations are online more than others and some platforms are more popular with teens or women while others are focused on tech professionals or social media geeks.
Social media can definitely support your private practice growth. Having a clear plan can help you use social media wisely to market your practice. Take time creating a plan to you can make the most of your time using these great tools.
If you want 1:1 help creating a social media plan that reaches the right clients for your practice schedule a consultation with me now. I am happy to help.
And if you want a supportive community to talk through marketing ideas join the conversation on the private Authentic Marketing for Therapists in Private Practice facebook group.
Gina Senarighi is a business coach for therapists, social media strategist, and author. With careful planning and strategic marketing, in under one year she lead three thriving therapy practices.
Gina has quickly become a trusted voice on authenticity in marketing as an author, teacher, and guest expert on local and national media.
Due to her successes in therapy business she's been coaching other therapists to grow their counseling practices with ease and integrity.