According to The Pew Research Center, around two-thirds of Americans use Facebook. Regardless of the niche you’re targeting with your practice, you can be assured that many of your potential customers are spending time on Facebook. Considering its large user base, the platform has great potential as a free marketing tool. If you post content to your page that informs, entertains, or inspires, it can help establish credibility, develop your relationship with potential clients, and drive more traffic to your therapy website.
Despite its potential benefits, however, many therapists see managing a Facebook page as more effort than it’s worth. In addition to concerns about HIPAA compliance, some clients won’t feel comfortable commenting, liking, or sharing a post about their specific issue.
So how can you make Facebook marketing for therapists worth the effort?
It all boils down to your goals, situation, and marketing strategy. As a therapist or life coach, you’ll be more likely to succeed on Facebook if you follow these Facebook marketing tips for therapists and coaches.
1. Know What Content or Ideas to Share
Most of the work involved with running a Facebook account comes from deciding what content to post.
If you already have a blog, pushing that content out on Facebook is a great way to increase engagement and drive traffic to your practice website. There are plenty of marketing software tools that allow you to automatically share new blog posts from your website to Facebook, giving you a steady stream of content without any added effort.
Most therapists only publish one or two blog posts every month, however. And most social media marketing experts recommend at least two Facebook posts every day. So what other types of content can you share on Facebook?
- Relay a tidbit of knowledge you picked up from your last conference
- Share your thoughts on a new study, statistic, or modality
- Share external articles about the issues you treat (make sure they are accurate and have a hopeful manner)
Having an opinion—and being able to justify that opinion—will give you a leg up over therapists who try to appeal to every single client. Just like with other marketing efforts, your goal on Facebook isn’t to reach everyone. Instead, focus on reaching your ideal audience.
Thankfully, posting manually isn’t difficult. And because you can schedule posts in advance, you can plan a week or month worth of content in a single afternoon.
Lastly, DON’T share details about clients. Even if you think you’ve removed all identifying information, potential clients might see that information on Facebook and worry their sessions won’t be kept private.
2. Understand the Difference Between Organic Marketing and Paid Advertising
Just because you share on Facebook doesn’t mean everyone who follows you will see your posts. And knowing how organic marketing and paid advertising work on Facebook can give you a huge edge over competitors.
Organic marketing is the visibility you get without spending extra money to promote your posts. Facebook’s post display algorithm (the program that determines which posts appear on a user’s feed and in what order) predicts what posts users are most likely to engage with.
Because most people engage with content from their friends and family more than they do content from businesses, Facebook is highly unlikely to display all of your posts to everyone. In fact, recent research by HubSpot estimates that posts to business pages typically reach less than 2% of a business’s followers.
Advertising-minded Facebook posts that only promote your business and fail to provide any real value to the reader probably won’t make it to your followers’ feeds. Your practice can buck this trend and get more value from each post by sharing content that is useful, novel, and entertaining.
Paid advertising is when you spend money to “boost” your posts and ensure they get in front of your target audience. While paid advertising can increase your practice’s visibility online, it’s most beneficial after you have already established a following on the social media platform and learned what types of content get the most engagement from your audience. If you’re just getting started, we recommend trying Google AdWords (get professional help with this) before trying your hand at Facebook advertising.
3. Build a Website First
If you haven’t built an SEO-optimized website for your practice yet, investing time on Facebook marketing would be putting the cart before the horse. While Facebook is a great way to drive more traffic to your website, it’s your therapy practice’s specialty pages that will generate client calls.
Facebook and other social media platforms also lack the privacy many clients expect, and trying to use Facebook as a way to interact with potential clients (instead of sending them to a secure website) could lead to privacy issues.
When you already have a decent website, you don’t have to sell yourself with every Facebook post. Instead, you can share relevant, engaging content and rely on your therapy site to convert potential clients. And because Google and other search engines factor social media traffic into how they rank pages, a strong Facebook presence can simultaneously boost your site’s credibility so you show up higher in search results.
4. Know Whether You Want to Spend Time or Money
There are two paths therapists can follow to be successful on Facebook. First, you can invest your time into growing your social media presence. There are dozens of free resources and affordable marketing courses online that can show you what type of content to share and how to get more from each post.
On the other hand, you may have more money than time (or maybe you just can’t stand marketing work and prefer to focus entirely on client work). In that case, hiring a qualified Facebook ad specialist or investing in Google AdWords can deliver results without taking up more of your already limited time.
Paid advertising also allows you to target search terms and groups of potential clients who are closer to the point of purchase. Therapy clients are much more receptive when they’re actively looking for the information or services you provide.
5. Commit to Facebook Marketing for Six Months
It takes time to build a social media following. While paid advertising can hasten the process, there’s no replacement for time and testing. The more effort you put into your Facebook page—creating posts, testing different types of content to see what engages your audience, collecting data—the better returns you’ll see.
Facebook marketing is a bit like exercising: if you go to the gym for a week then stop, you won’t see the desired results. If you keep working out for six months, however, the progress will be obvious. It’s easier to stay committed when you have a clear plan for what to post and how often. If you haven’t posted in a while or your profile isn’t filled out, potential clients may think your business is unprofessional or even wonder if you’ve gone out of business.
Facebook marketing is an ongoing process. You have to keep at it to make it work. If you’re not able to commit the time needed to Facebook marketing you might find it helpful to learn about Google Ads.