6 Social Media Tips for Therapists to Increase Engagement
Imagine… What would your practice look like if there was a virtual spokesperson striving 24/7 to increase your practice growth and the number of potential clients you were able to reach? While you were working with clients and changing lives, or enjoying dinner with your family, what would happen if a second you was heaving their virtual shoulder against the grindstone?
You’d be busier, right? Less stressed? I’d guess so. More profitable? There’s a very good chance.
This is the power of private practice social media.
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Great content posted regularly – I’ll show you how to minimize the time spent doing this later in this article – enables you to be in constant connection and relationship building mode while you work or relax.
Let’s first look at some examples of why social media is critical for your private practice, and then explore six simple steps to expand and enhance your social media engagement to boost your practice success.
In 2010, The Pew Research Center reported, “25% of internet users living with chronic disease said they use a social networking site like Facebook. Of those:
- One in four has followed their friends’ personal health experiences or updates
- One in five has posted comments, queries or information about health or medical matters
- One in five has gotten health information on the sites
- One in ten has started or joined a health-related group on a social networking site
- 25% have consulted rankings or reviews online of doctors or other providers.”
In other words: your clients are digitally connected.
With the above statistics and the fact that there is over 2.07 billion (yes, that’s billion with a ‘b’) monthly active Facebook accounts and 1.37 billion people who log onto their page every day, a strong presence on this platform can lead to increased social media engagement and impactful connection with previously unreachable potential clients.
YouTube is the second largest search engine and videos from this super site often rank far faster on Google than written content. That’s a double whammy worth the effort! Combine this with the rapport building advantages and moth-to-a-light attraction of video and YouTube can be a powerful tool in your social media engagement arsenal.
A study by John Naslund and his team showed those “who self-identified as having schizophrenia, schizoaffective disorder, or bipolar disorder” found support on this platform. With “how to” search videos on YouTube growing 70% year on year, the target market reach combined with the ease of creating ‘how to’ articles makes this site a solid social media fit for therapists.
Engagement is key to social media success
Ok, now you see the value of private practice social media, let’s look at six ways to increase your social media engagement.
Engagement is defined by Merriam-Webster as:
a: the act of engaging: the state of being engaged
b: emotional involvement or commitment
In terms of social media engagement, it is reflected by actions such as likes, follows, comments, and questions; these indicate that those who see your content are both reading it and are inspired to act. Emotional commitment is critical to practice growth, and consistent, dedicated action through your private practice social media will increase reciprocal engagement.
How can you use social media to easily engage potential clients?
1) Keep it simple (KIS)
Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, SnapChat, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest… As you know, overwhelm can create inaction. Choose one or two platforms and begin here. There is always room to expand as you grow, and by initially limiting your commitments you enable time to become comfortable with content creation, understand the digital networking landscape and achieve proficiency in sharing and posting regularly; important keys to productive social media engagement.
Now, let’s stick to our KIS philosophy and include it as a content creation rule.
As a general social media principle, videos connect better than pictures, and pictures better than text alone. Easy (yes, I do mean super simple), free tools exist in the cyber world that enable you to create shareable videos and professionally practice-branded pictures.
Free text and picture creation tools
Canva.com is a quote, infographic and picture creating tool. Choose a template, alter the text and download. You are ready to go.
Picture: Example of content created in under a minute through Canva
PicMonkey.com is a similar online tool. Upload a picture, add your text and save. Done!
Free or inexpensive video creation tools
Animoto enables you to craft simple videos to boost your social media engagement at very affordable prices.
Or, even better…
Pull out your smartphone, find a quiet place and record yourself presenting a one to two-minute video. Introduce yourself and your website and reveal a helpful tip, resource or idea. Recommend the viewer subscribe to the social media site that will host your video. Then upload directly to your account.
Expert tip: Record your videos with your phone held vertically. Much internet consumption is now mobile, so vertical versus landscape videos fit better on the screen and increase your private practice social media engagement.
A mix of videos and pictures featuring text will help build your community.
2) As regular as clockwork.
Think about it… Who do you most trust? And why? A healthy dose of familiarity mixed with superior quality partly fulfills the criteria for trustworthiness. Those who are there for you often, people who provide great information and insight when you need it most, professionals who are cognizant of your needs and wants. Right?
In fact, we know that people may swap practices not because they don’t like the care provided, they simply forget how good it was. Regular private practice social media posting enables you to connect, forge continuing relationships and keep you front of mind.
“The most complicated skill is to be simple.”
― Dejan Stojanovic
Without complicating matters, each social media platform prefers you post your original content directly to their site, rather than through a third party scheduling tool. This is called ‘native content’.
How can you ensure native content is available regularly?
You need to create or curate quality content.
I mentioned earlier in this article I would disclose exactly how to minimize the time you spend doing this, so grab a piece of paper and a pen and start taking notes! This will save you hours and keep you on the path to social media success…
Create content via batching for energy matching
Dr. Joanna Martin introduced this idea some years back as a way to achieve focused energy to boost efficacy. Rather than flitting from article writing to an email, a phone call to a Facebook distraction, target one project and churn. Sequentially write six articles, or record six consecutive short videos, or produce 12 quote pictures in one sitting.
Then, schedule these. On Facebook, this process is simple. This short ‘how to’ video walks you through the process.
Curate quality content
Not sure about the ‘how to’ of content creation yet? I have a powerful secret to share.
Paper.li is an automated digital newspaper. Set up an account, choose experts who create valuable material for those in your target demographic, and submit. Your newsletter will populate with new content daily. Stimulating your social media engagement with this technique works because:
- Celebrities and experts often have staff dedicated to locating topical, popular issues
- You now have a constant source of shareable information. Choose an article, add a paragraph on your thoughts and include the relevant link. You’ve just shortcut your way to regular posts on your private practice social media account!
Expert tip 2: Remember to hashtag it.
3) #Hashtag it
Heard of the hashtag and wondered what this curious phenomenon is?
A hashtag is simply a way to search, collate information and expand your reach. Twitter is the #hashtag king, Instagram’s pound sign use compliments photos and helps attract new followers, and even Facebook has implemented this symbol, albeit to less effect.
There are variations in hashtag rules across different social media, so take the time to learn about your chosen platform. For example, Instagram loves a good tag and allows up to 30 well-chosen words. Facebook prefers you stick to one or two.
Looking for a topic to post about? Hashtags.org locates recent posts about your topic. You’ll see the search box at the top of their homepage.
How else can you identify an engaging topic for social media content?
4) Find out what people want. Then give it to them!
The magic of the internet allows you to reach right into the hearts and minds of those you wish to help. Ready? This is cool! People are willing to share their inner fears, frustrations, and questions in the hope of finding an answer. Long gone are the days of seeking only professional support, and from a single source.
How can you hold your virtual magnifying glass to your potential client’s psyche?
There’s a tool for this, too.
Quora is a massive question and answer platform. For example, this question: “Can you get sick from a lot of stress?” received nine answers and 10 follows within 30 minutes. While this may be interesting, how can this source boost your social media engagement? That’s a great question!
Quora also shares how many views each answer has received and how many ‘upvotes’ it garnered. This helps you discover:
1) What is being asked
2) Which topics people are seeking information about
And that enables you to better target your content creation and curation.
5) Speaking of content…
The key to content is quality. This point is brief but indispensable. Write, record and share like your reputation depends on it. It does.
Drum roll, please…
6) The simple key to successful engagement
I’ve left the simplest key to successful social media engagement for last…
Encourage likes, comments, shares, reactions and follows.
Post a survey and ask for opinions (SurveyMonkey offers a free limited – but adequate – service).
Expert tip 3: When people engage, reply. Be polite, general and prompt.
Want more info on using social media in your private practice? Here are a few more awesome articles on using social media to grow your private practice:
- 8 Social Media Tools You Need to Use in Your Private Practice
- How Therapists Should Use Twitter to Market Their Private Practice
Ready to Get More Clients?
Now that you’re a well-versed social media engagement specialist I’d recommend you sign up for our 5 Day Course on Getting More Clients to your private practice.
This course dives into a lot of great information about how to customize your social media campaigns and your website to get more clients calling you for therapy.