This guest post was written by our friends at Brighter Vision. Brighter Vision understands exactly what it takes to build a custom website for your private practice - one that is not only beautiful, but also attracts your best fit clients and gets them to contact you. Better yet, they make the process a breeze. Learn more about Brighter Vision here.
Have you wondered if you should use social media professionally?
Do you already use platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter, or YouTube but lack a considered strategy?
Do you know how to create deeper relationships with your current and potential clients and fill your practice with the aid of this technology? Did you know that’s even possible?
Social media marketing can seem intimidating and even overwhelming. But its power should not be overlooked. With the proper steps, this cyber world can act as a smooth and easy marketing channel that connects you to your ideal clients.
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In this blog post, you will learn how to grow your practice by connecting with potential, current, and inactive clients on social media. But first, it’s important to understand why overlooking this colossal tool comes at your peril.
An estimated 4.48 billion people use social media worldwide. In the US, the average person holds 7.1 accounts. In general, a user visits almost seven platforms every month. With 83% of Americans aged 13+ subscribed to social media, it is a powerful practice-building tool… when done right.
It is important to note that adolescents experience life through complex cyber environments. They are more than tech-savvy; they are digital natives. Social media is an integral part of their day-to-day existence. Research has shown that being seen as competent in the social media space affects how you are perceived and positively impacts the therapeutic alliance. That means, from here on in, as the adolescent population continues to age, ever greater numbers of people will hold this bias. Ensuring that you meet this perception will keep you in good stead today and into the future.
There is a head-spinning range of social media options. Instead of feeling overwhelmed, focus only on strategic choices of social media channels – those most likely to enhance your practice.
With this in mind, we recommend that you choose from the big ten: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest, Reddit, Snapchat, TikTok, WhatsApp, and Youtube.
You may now be wondering, “ten is a lot of options! How will I know which one(s) to choose?” Here are a few ways you can find the right platforms for you:
And importantly, you should focus on the demographics of those you do your best work with and want to attract. What is their age? Their gender? Where do they live? How much money do they earn? What are they struggling with?
This information helps you decide on the right fit.
For example, if your target client is aged 55+, you won’t find your tribe on the youth-saturated platforms like Snapchat or TikTok. If you serve only financially secure women, it’s helpful to know that 70% of Pinterest users are female, with the most common annual income at above $75,000. If you provide therapy for CEOs and other professionals, LinkedIn could be the ideal platform for you.
Note: While considering your demographics is useful, the big players like Facebook and YouTube have billions of dedicated visitors. They should form one part of your social media strategy at the very least.
To build your brand on social media, consistency is key. So, decide what kind of content you enjoy producing or are willing to outsource.
If you adore designing images, Instagram or Pinterest might be your thing. If you love sharing articles, Facebook or LinkedIn could work nicely. If you’re interested in video creation, consider YouTube or TikTok. By making a choice you can stick with, you’ll increase your chances of success.
How do you wish to contact your followers, and how would you like them to contact you?
While the platform WhatsApp is often disregarded in the professional space, it can be a great fit for opening up communication between you and your ideal clients. It provides a free way to share content with your clients, forward and accept images, receive messages, and build relationships and trust. Twitter provides a fast way to respond to queries as well.
Consider the type of content that is most valuable for your tribe (and where it’s best to share it).
In addition to considering the type of content you’d love to produce, think about the type of content that will be most valuable for potential and current clients. What format will be easiest for them to digest and share? This will help you decide on the right social media platform to use.
Do you serve a particular niche?
Where are they likely to spend their time online? What are their particular interests? What obvious, related, and disguised questions do they have? How can you best present the information they need? The answers to these questions can also help you decide on the best platform.
Do you create recipes rich in the nutrients needed for mental health, like vitamin B6, zinc, and omega-three fats? Pinterest peeps love all things cooking.
Does your niche love inspirational quotes and motivational exercises? Pinterest, Instagram, and Facebook could all suit.
Is your ideal client searching for connection and in-depth answers? Do you have time to share and discuss the topic? Then Reddit is worth considering. For many therapists, learning about this platform’s nuances and etiquette will take some time. But, with a website ranking of a staggering 12 in the US — that is, it is the 12th most viewed site in the country — it is certainly worthy of your consideration.
There are large “subreddits” — groups dedicated to a specific topic — for many mental health conditions. Depression, anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and drug and alcohol addiction, just to name a few. By joining and regularly contributing, you can build trust and relationships over time.
Plus, because people share so deeply on this site, it is a wonderful source of insight. For example, a user might write about a dilemma or ask a question that you could answer. Employing this as inspiration only (never share personal details), create useful content and share on your social media. Chances are that this will help others, too.
Before we dive in, remember the first rule of marketing: People are interested in what’s in it for them. Don’t flood your page with sales pitches. Instead, offer valuable content and build trust, rapport, and relationships.
Facebook and Youtube each have billions of users. So you will find potential clients to connect with here.
Facebook allows you to post infographics; graphs; news stories; links to research (when posting, explain what this means for lay readers); links to your own blog posts; inspirational quote images; and pictures of your practice, team, and events. It also allows you to share videos, run surveys, and communicate with your followers by responding to comments.
You can host “lives” and interact with viewers in real-time. Allison Puryear does this beautifully with her "Ask Allison" Facebook Lives.
You can also create a private group that your clients can choose to join. These can be used in a number of ways. For example: if you teach meditation, set up a group challenge. If you need a place where clients can chat, this might be the right platform. If you’d like to provide tailored content for a niche, this may be the place, too.
You can also join large groups that are relevant to your niche. Offer advice and resources, be a listening ear, but do not pitch yourself. Over time, people will notice your expertise and may reach out to you for assistance.
Groups are also a great place to go looking for new content ideas or tips on how to take your private practice to the next level. Check out The Private Practice Startup's group.
Here are some additional resources to help you understand this platform better, get up and running quickly, or shortcut the path to success if you are already active:
YouTube is great for getting in front of your audience. Being “seen” can speed trust-building. If you are camera shy, practice makes perfect… or you can present a slide deck with audio.
Share bite-sized information that answers a problem. For example: 5 science-backed ways to calm anxiety quickly.
Record and upload webinars (assuming there are no privacy concerns) that go into depth about a particular issue.
Stream a YouTube live where you share your expertise about a topic. If you're looking for some inspiration here, check out ZynnyMe's YouTube channel.
Instagram is, first of all, visual. You will need to consider how to create a beautiful, brand-building feed. Take time to research what other successful companies are doing before you jump in. Think about the colors, fonts, images that will represent your practice.
Complete your profile thoroughly. Remember to enter your website; it’s the only clickable link you’ll have in your profile. Do your research and use the right hashtags. Be authentic. Interact with your followers and others you’d like to notice you or possibly work with in the future. Influencers can make a big difference to your channel growth.
There are a bunch of ways you can make Insta work for you. Our article, The Top Instagram Marketing Strategies for Therapists gives you some of the best!
Pinterest is a unique blend of search engine, visual imaging, and people who are keen to discover new things and make purchasing decisions. As Hootsuite pointed out, this platform has three powerful benefits for your practice:
Ensure you set up a Pinterest business page. Create specific boards. Follow other businesses. Reply to comments. Share easy, digestible statistics, information, and insights. Post regularly. Create beautiful, useful, or inspiring pins.
Twitter allows short tweets only. This can be useful for sharing a blog post, video, or news. Let your followers know about an event, changed office hours, or a relevant thought bubble, or answering a short query, or like a client’s response. It’s also a great way to connect with and follow others in your space.
Our article, The Private Practice Blueprint to Twitter Marketing explains how to make this platform work for you.
A mix of content is best. Remember, different people have different preferences. Use language, images, and types of content that cast a wide net. Consider visual, auditory, verbal, kinesthetic, logical, or emotional ways to present information.
With that said, there are a range of content types you can promote to reach a new audience and deepen the relationship with your community:
Phillip McGraw is a name you’ll likely recognize. Many people assume that, by virtue of his celebrity, he’s a leading authority in the field of psychology. Love him or loathe him, agree with him or not, his status proves that building a brand works to position someone as the go-to expert. This can work for you and your practice too.
Remember, you don’t need to be known globally or even widely. The aim is to be a standout authority to your ideal clients.
To position yourself as a thought leader:
1. Ensure you have a broad, branded social media presence and professional website. If your platforms look sloppy, people will make assumptions about your professionalism.
At BrighterVision, we specialize in the creation of websites for therapists. We are really good at it too :)
If you need a new private practice website or your current one needs a revamp, we can help. Want to learn more? Use our free Website Grader Checklist to see how your site stacks up. Then, view our portfolio to see some of the recent sites we've created for therapists just like you.
2. Be active on your social media and your website. Post valuable content regularly. Interact with your audience. Listen. Create content that answers questions asked by your community.
3. Be insightful and unique. No one loves rehashed, superficial, poor-quality information.
4. Be yourself. Have an opinion? Then share it. If you feel comfortable going against the grain, do it.
5. Speak. This might send a shiver through your spine but speaking in public sets you apart.
Once you stand out front and present, you become elevated. Particularly if your business is local, speak throughout your community. You might be stunned by how quickly you become known.
6. Promote yourself! Win an award? Share it. Writing a book? Provide updates as you go, build up suspense, discuss the launch. Create content about what you do. Share talks you’ve given, media you’ve appeared in, guest posts you’ve penned, interviews you’ve done.
Becoming a thought leader talks time and effort. But is it well worth the effort. Once people see you as the expert, your books will fill faster and you will begin to raise the quality of clients who walk through your door.
So, how do you get started? Here are six easy steps we recommend as you begin your journey:
We would argue that marketing with social media is essential for any therapist who wants to grow their practice faster. With billions of users, you will find your ideal clients here. Choose the right platforms, commit to regularly posting great content, and interact with your audience. Learn the nuances along the way and rejig to boost outcomes. The world truly is your oyster.
Then look no further! Brighter Vision has created an amazing tool, Social Genie, that takes away all of the pain when it comes to creating and scheduling social media posts for your private practice.
With thousands of pre-written posts to choose from, dozens of pre-created social media campaigns, and easy-to-use scheduling software, therapists can easily schedule out up to a year’s worth of social media posts in only about 15 minutes!
Save yourself from the headaches and hassles of social media marketing and get started with a 14-day free trial of Social Genie.
Match with the *right* clients for your practice while growing your professional community.