For therapists and counselors, there are many benefits of actively engaging on social media, beyond connecting with the whole world. Therapists can attract loyal followers who engage and share their content, helping them stand out from the crowd.
Social media isn’t the end-all-and-all. Therapists can’t rely on it as the only means to connect with potential clients, but it can form a meaningful part of an overall strategy that involves a website and effective SEO.
Below, we outline and discuss some social media platforms therapists can take advantage of.
Social Media Platforms For Therapists
Oh, Facebook. In our experience talking to therapists, it seems like you either love it or you hate it. Facebook is a place for people to connect (or in Facebook’s case, “friend” or “like”) with people and businesses, and for businesses to promote themselves on Facebook’s ‘Business’ pages).
About 71% of Internet users in the United States are on Facebook. That means that nearly 3 quarters of the people using the internet in the United States have a Facebook account. If you’re anything like us, that number is mind boggling. But wait, it gets better. Of those people who simply have an account, 70% engage with the network daily! In addition to those shocking numbers, 45% of Facebook users check in several times a day.
The site often acts as a type of social media home base for its users. So what does that mean for you and your practice? We have to admit, social media is tricky for therapists, especially Facebook. We have gone back and forth trying to decide if its even worth your time. Lets face it, you can’t interact with your followers as much as another small business can and you are limited to what you can post and share. Its tough, we get it. But, at the same time, when over 1.39 billion people are actively using Facebook every month, it doesn’t hurt to expose your business to those people. We say go for it!
LinkedIn is the second social network on our list, and one of our personal favorites. Unlike the other platforms, LinkedIn is a “business-oriented social networking service,” and a place to connect with other business professionals. In addition to the social aspect, LinkedIn is now emerging as a publishing platform. LinkedIn has over 238 million total users, with 1.87 million active users each month. Compared to Facebook, there are more people active on LinkedIn each month. Like Facebook, LinkedIn has the ability to have a ‘Company’ page (Facebook refers to these as ‘Business’ pages). These are great for both group practices and single practitioners.
If you aren’t interested in creating a page for your business, you can use LinkedIn to connect with other professionals in your industry and location. Quick Tip for LinkedIn: Join groups that are related to your practice and engage with other members! Share content (yours and others), comment on posts, and become a known source of valuable information. For example, if you are a child psychologist, join parenting groups, pediatrician groups, etc. There are a LOT of opportunities to make professional connections in the various groups on LinkedIn. You can search or groups by industry and location.
Unlike the other social media platforms (aside from Instagram, which we haven’t included on this list), Pinterest is nearly 100% visually-focused. With Pinterest, you can share (known as a “pin”) content and organize the shared content in your various boards. We like to think of it as a virtual bulletin board. Normally, users pin and discuss content that only they benefit from in some way.
Pinterest has 70 million + users, with 17% of Pinterest users visiting the site daily, and 9% of Pinterest users visiting the platform several times a day. What does this mean for you? If you are blogging regularly, Pinterest is a great place for you to share your content and interact with others. Your blogs must have quality images to be ‘shareable’ on Pinterest. We share information about the importance of images (and free images sites) on this blog post. To learn more about using Pinterest as a tool for marketing, check out this post on Tamara Suttle’s site about the 10 reasons why Pinterest is her social media tool of choice.
Last, but not least on our list is Twitter. Twitter is a social media channel that allows users to send and receive short, 140-character ‘tweets.’
In the United States, 23% of Internet users are on Twitter. 36% of users visit the site daily and 22% visit the site more than once a day. There are 500 Million + total users on Twitter, with over 284 million active monthly users. Like the other social networks, Twitter is another great place to share your content (and share or “re-tweet” others content). To be effective on Twitter, you must publish your content more than once.
How to Use Social Media For Your Private Practice
With all of the social network information, you may now be wondering what you should actually be doing on the various channels and which networks to invest your time on. To be successful with social media, we recommend:
- Posting regularly
- Joining communities and groups (and engaging with these groups)
- Offering helpful content to your followers
- This includes: original written content, curated content that is related to your audience, graphics, inspirational quotes, videos, infograhics, memes, etc.
One important thing to remember, many people on social media are “lurkers,” especially in the therapy field. If you don’t see people liking, sharing, or engaging with your content, don’t panic. It could very well be because they are lurking, or reading without engaging. Also, start small! Choose one or two social media channels, master the channel, and then build up over time.
Sources: http://www.digitalinformationworld.com/2014/06/how-to-boost-engagemnet-on-googleplus-infographic.html http://www.realbusinessrescue.co.uk/news/how-b2b-businesses-are-tackling-social-media-in-2015 http://www.pewinternet.org/2015/01/09/social-media-update-2014/ http://www.realbusinessrescue.co.uk/news/how-b2b-businesses-are-tackling-social-media-in-2015be