If you have followed or worked with me for any length of time, you know I think a strong, optimized website is key. A strong website is the foundation of successful online marketing, and everything that builds on that enhances your online presence.
Once you have a strong website foundation in place, there are several things you can do to promote it — you can blog (if you aren’t already, you definitely should be!), build a list using a free report or free offering, send newsletters to your email list, and so much more. There is also one other way of promoting your practice that I recommend, but rarely talk about — social media!
Lets face it, social media tends to be a topic of controversy in the therapy world. While I do agree that you must be cautious when utilizing social media for your practice, I also believe that its a very powerful tool. A tool that is not only a great relationship and trust builder, but also a ranking factor. Yes, you heard me right — social media can help your website rank better.
Before we dive into the details of the post, I should share with you the Search Metric Report from 2014. As you can see in the image below, 7 of the top 11 ranking factors in 2014 were from social media! Check it out:
Why You REALLY Should Be Using Social Media
While I could go on for days about the benefits of social media, I really want to focus on two main reasons today:
Social media helps you build relationships
And, social media can help increase your rankings
Social Media as a Relationship Builder
First, lets talk about building relationships.
Social media is a powerful marketing tool that can allow you to build relationships with existing and potential clients. By posting a variety of content that is relevant to your practice and audience (your content and other’s content), you can build recognition, connect with your peers, and show that you are trustworthy.
Choosing the right content to share is a big part of this relationship building. If you are blogging regularly, then social media is a great place to share that content! Really, there is no reason why you shouldn’t share such valuable content on social media. You can also share articles that you find interesting, inspirational quotes, or videos you think your followers would enjoy. These are all great relationship builders.
Social Media as a Ranking Factor
In addition to social media being a relationship builder, it also can drive traffic to your website, further advance your brand, and increase your rankings.
If you’re still not convinced that social media marketing is right for you, the consider this: The amount of people that use social media is simply astounding! Debra Aho Williamson, an analyst at the leading research firm, eMarketer, says, “More than half the U.S. population uses social networks regularly, and Facebook continues to lead the market. But pay attention to mobile social networking, where Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest and Tumblr are all significant players. That’s where the next phase of growth is happening.”
Let’s take a look at the numbers:
As a small business owner with a private practice, you cannot afford to sit on the sidelines when it comes to using social media. As you can see, it is highly likely that your clients, potential clients, peers and industry leaders, are actively engaged on social media channels. They are searching for information, and if you do not have a presence on social media, they will move on to a therapist who does!
The combination of a solid optimized website and social media is important to your business. Social signals, links from a person’s social network profile to your website, are a bigger and bigger part of the ranking algorithm. Shares, likes, followers, re-pins, etc. all give a social signal and can have an effect on organic search rankings. This is true because search engines use these social signals as a way to determine and deliver better search results. The search engines determine if a piece of content is relevant to the person who is searching, and if it is, they give the page a higher ranking in the results.
Also, with the active use of social media, you increase domain authority and the number of links to your private practice website, giving you SEO benefits. Furthermore, social interaction brings targeted and engaged traffic to your website. That means that once your fans are on your site, they will stay there longer and hopefully visit again and again.
Take a look at this gifographic (animated infographic), by Neil Patel of Quick Sprout. It shows you how social signals impact your search engine rankings:
All of this information clearly shows that you need to consider using social media as part of your marketing strategy. Think about it: you can increase your rankings, build relationships, and potentially get new clients by simply sharing the valuable content you have spent so much time creating!
Keep in mind, to get the benefits of increased rankings, it is important that you maintain an active presence on social media. You must share content consistently, and make it easy for your fans, clients, and peers to share and engage with you. When visitors land on your social media profile, it should be easy for them to share your content with their friends, family and followers. This can easily be achieved by installing social sharing buttons on your private practice website.
How are you planning on using social media? Please share in the comments below. Don’t forget to share this article with fellow therapists and your social network!
Stay tuned! Next week, we will be looking at the various social media platforms and how to use them.