By now, you’ve heard time and again that businesses need to be active on social media to attract new audiences and maintain engagement with current clients. This is equally true for private counseling practices – but the rules for using social media in the healthcare field are slightly different than they are for other types of businesses.
For instance, most businesses use social media to market coupons and sales, to discuss buying habits with customers and to encourage audiences to share the business with friends and family. However, for therapists, most of these engagements are not only impossible, they are also unethical when dealing with individuals’ mental health.
Mental health counselors can use social media to boost their practice’s marketing efforts, but they must be careful in their methods to ensure that clients remain comfortable and confident in their services. Here are a few tips to help counselors strike the right balance on the Web.
Understand Why Your Practice Needs Social Media
Plenty of therapy practices have cultivated a sufficient clientele without the need for social media marketing – so why should modern counselors go out of their way to use social sites for business purposes?
The answer isn’t as simple as most therapists might hope. To put it plainly, if you have enough clients right now and you are certain you won’t need to attract more clients in the future, you probably can put off learning about social media marketing. However, not many counselors can be this confident in their current clientele; studies have found that one in five clients drops out of treatment early, and many leave without telling their therapist why or when. As a result, therapists often develop openings in their schedules without notice, and they should be able to fill them just as quickly with new clients.
Thus, it is wise to keep up a social media marketing campaign for your practice, so you can engage with your audience and accept new clients as soon as you have availability. A good social media following will keep you in clients for most of your career – but you do need to learn how to leverage social media successfully, first.
Know Which Social Sites to Use
Though it started with Facebook and Twitter, these days, the Web is filled with social networking sites. Unfortunately, choosing to market your business on the wrong sites will result in lower engagement and less business for your practice; thus, you should be careful to choose the right social networks for your business. For counseling practices, this most often includes:
Creating a Facebook business page should be the first step for any new business, counseling practice or otherwise. Not only is it a free way to produce and publish content that your audience will see and engage with, but it is a way for prospective clients to learn about your practice and contact you when availability arises.
Though you might already have a personal Twitter handle, it is important to create an account specific to your business, as well. This account can send out bite-sized information to clients and prospective clients, keeping them informed and engaged without demanding much of their time or energy.
Though LinkedIn isn’t anyone’s favorite social site, it is essential for making and maintaining professional connections. You will eventually use LinkedIn to hire more staff, such as clinicians, administrative assistants and office maintenance professionals, and many of your connections might refer you clients directly through the site.
Be Aware Of The Ethical Considerations
Though a private practice is a business, it is of utmost importance that therapists remember to put their existing clients’ needs first. That means maintaining confidentiality when communicating with clients on social media or posting any kind of content anywhere on the Web. It also means giving your clients privacy with regards to their social media accounts, even if they follow you or your business online. Never should you discuss a specific patient on social media, even if you change names and exact circumstances, and never should you engage in clinical discussions or provide care over social media. If you want to be an ethical counselor, you need to establish correct behavior online.
Social media marketing doesn’t have to be difficult; you can even use tools to help manage content, schedule posts and more. However, therapy practices do have additional concerns when using social media to keep their clients happy, healthy and safe. By using the right social sites the right way, and for the right reasons, practices can benefit significantly from this marketing tactic.
Tiffany is a leader in marketing authority, she prides herself in her ability to create and provide high quality content that audiences find valuable. She also enjoys connecting with other bloggers and collaborating for exclusive content in various niches. With many years of experience, Tiffany has found herself more passionate than ever to continue developing content and relationship across multiple platforms and audiences.