Social Media Marketing for Therapists in Private Practice
The perception of social media marketing is that of practice really only understood and done well by experts. And while experts do tend to have better results in any field, it doesn't mean that you can't understand and use social media to promote your private practice.
For starters, I want you to understand the basic concept of marketing on social media. These platforms are created for people to be social. So your marketing needs to reflect that.
While product businesses can create posts showcasing product features, service businesses like yours and mine will see the best results through engagement.
What does it mean? Simply put, your goal is to create a conversation and foster relationships.
That said, it's important to remember that every marketing tool is just a part of your big toolbox. Some tools like paid advertising bring you quicker results. Its purpose is to sell. But it also requires an investment.
Social media (without paid ads) is not an immediate results tool, it's part of your long-term strategy to create awareness about yourself and the type of services you provide, and peak people's interest in you so they can learn more about you, your point of view and the help that you can provide as an expert.
With 3.2 billion people using social media worldwide, it would be unwise to ignore this marketing tool completely. The average amount of time a person spends scrolling and surfing social media platforms is 2:22 hours a day.
Let's set aside our immediate judgement of the time spent using an electronic device. We know that changing people's behaviour is not an easy thing to do. But making this time somewhat beneficial to their health and wellbeing is right up your alley.
That's why having a presence on social media platforms is such an important thing for your practice and your future clients, to be honest.
But just having a profile is not enough. You will have to engage, post regularly and spend some time cultivating your brand and relationship with your audience.
Where should you begin?
Choose the right platform to be on. While there are quite a few platforms out there, you don't need to start with all of them. Think of which platform your ideal client hangs out on.
Create an optimized profile for your private practice. It means that you need to write as much information about your practice as possible for your ideal client to understand what you do and how you can help them. If you are a little confused about this, look at your competitors who have many likes and followers to see how they describe themselves. And by the way, some platforms like Instagram, give you a very limited space to write about yourself so make sure to structure your sentences in the clearest way possible.
Start working the platform. Invite people to like your page, start following the people you are interested in, connect with colleagues and other practitioners in your area and join groups that make sense for you to post your opinion on.
Listen and observe. I love social media, if only for the fact that it allows me to observe social trends and better understand my ideal client. I join groups that have my ideal clients in them and read about the type of challenges and news they are discussing. I look at the visuals that are being posted on Instagram to see what attracts the most comments and discussions because the amount of comments boosts engagement and engagement is what makes a post visible. You can learn a lot about your potential clients, your competition and culture just by looking around on any social media platform.
Create original content. I purposely put this step after the "Listen and observe" step because you need good insight before you start creating original content. You need to understand what people really would like to hear about, discuss and share with their network. If you dive into creating content right away, you will likely create the type of content that only you are interested in and your ideal client. The goal of creating content is adding value to your audience's lives. And whatever medium you will choose for that, written or visual, it needs to give answers to the questions people have about themselves and their lives. And after you create it, make sure to promote it everywhere!
Find valuable content to support your original content. There is just so much content that you can create in a week or a month, but you need to post more often than that. so what do you do? Find content published by others that supports your point of view or that you find relevant to the piece of original content you have created. You can create Google Alerts on specific topics, which will send you a summary of freshest content to your inbox. You can share the content of people you follow yourself and you can promote blog posts of your partners.
Be helpful. Above all, it's important to be helpful to others. Being stingy in the amount of useful information you can give will not help you in the long run. If you are being helpful on social media by providing answers on the topics you are expert on, people will want to hear more. It will be easier to establish yourself as an authority in a specific field.
Remember that social media is a place where people have conversations in our day and age. If you want to be effective in social media marketing, you can either start a conversation or join one that you can contribute your educated opinion on. Just like at a party, people will gravitate to you if you raise interesting points and if you will offer valuable advice or opinion. And similarly, just like at a party, they will not be interested if you use social media to just talk about yourself without any regard to what might interest your audience.