I participate on a great group on LinkedIn called “Mental Health and Private Practice Management,” if you need inspiration or have questions, it is a great resource! So, I posed the question:
How are you using Pinterest to grow your practice? I have recently launched 3 different “pins” to visually get my name out there, are you doing anything unique in social media? What has worked? What is a waste of time?
It started this flurry of discussion. At the time of this writing there were 28 comments. People asked, “What is Pinterest?” Others talked about how it was their #2 referral source! I don’t even know how that happens, it blows my mind.
First, Pinterest is one of the fastest growing social websites out there. People “pin” photos of things they like on their “boards”. You can follow what people pin, it is a series of pictures with comments. Simple and easy to use.
The counselor discussion did get me thinking about a number of things, these are the most pressing questions that I have:
1. How do we know when a new technology/website is worth investing time?
2. What are universal principles that can help us no matter where we are marketing?
When I evaluate my practice, I always bring it back to home. Are people in my community using it and more specifically are my ideal clients using it? Pinterest is primarily used by women that are of higher socio-economic status (at the time of this writing). It is a new website so there is a lot of “buzz” around it, so a counselor there would grow their image if they want to be more edgy, hip, or cool.
But is that the goal?
Isn’t the bottom line having clients that you can help in sessions?
I would say, “Sort of.” Of course we want clients, but also, as counselors we need to help educate the world. Through creating meaningful education, we will grow a client base, as long as we somehow bring it back to home.
Secondly, what are universal principles for marketing:
- Don’t waste your time. Focus your energy on things that can be on multiple platforms. When I created my board, I named it after my tagline: http://pinterest.com/jsanok/angry-kids-frustrated-parents-and-distant-couples-/. I am still very new to using Pinterest for business, but I created things to pin that i could post to my blog and Facebook that had a high likelihood to be shared.
- Add your logo to what you pin
- When you comment, have your website. Most people re-pin your statements too.
- As you create content, think about how to have images that support your writing and writing that supports your images.
- Look at other’s design to get an idea of how to create things that look like they fit in while also standing out.
- Realize that Pinterest is not the goal, don’t get caught spending too much time creating, the goal is to get clients.
Pinterest is a great new platform for counselors, but content has to be meaningful and artistic to stand out.
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is the author of “Practice of the Practice | A start-up guide to launching a counseling private practice.” As well, his new book “Mental Wellness Parenting | A remarkably simple approach to making parenting easier” is due to be released shortly.