As you start to think about marketing your private practice, you hear about social media being an effective addition to your marketing toolkit. Then the questions arises"....which platform is the most effective in reaching potential clients ?"
This is a popular question! But the answer can be disappointing to many therapists and I understand the frustration. The answer is - It's not the platform thats important, but its how you USE the platform.
Whatever platform you choose, instead of thinking about it as a way to take bookings, think of it as a way to increase your presence online and become aware in people's minds. So that when a person themself, a friend or a relative is looking for a therapist in their local area, you will come to mind right away (and you will only be one button tap away!)
It's not about the social media platform you use, its about HOW you use it that will attract clients to your practice
So HOW do we do this.....
There is a saying you may have heard 'you got it in the bag', meaning you can do this and it will be successful! And thats the basis of my advice.....
.......its in the bag:
Be Yourself. Whatever you do on social media NEVER try to copy anyone else, just like in life, it's better to be the best version of yourself than a copy of someone else.
This also means making your profile picture visible on your social media platforms. It can be a bit nerve-wracking to have our image out there for all to see. Stop and think about it, when your new client comes into your practice room......they see YOU. You are what is going to make the difference in this relationship, not another therapist down the road.
Don't be afraid to show yourself on social media
'Showing yourself' with a nice simple profile picture will let the potential client 'see' you and get an idea of who you are before they come to their session. So, this doesn't matter what platform you are on, all social media platforms allow you to add a profile image. So make sure this is the first thing you do when you set up any social media channel.
Add Value Don't Sell. Again, whatever platform you are going to choose, you need to be very thoughtful about what you will post. Posting over and over again your telephone number or your booking details, unfortunately will not attract clients.
What will attract clients is your advice you can offer around what they are struggling with and what they are feeling frustrated about. In marketing terms this is described as their Pain Points.
Think of these pain points every time you post something on social media, whether it is a blog post, a quote image, or a thoughtful video. These an be created by you or by someone else it doesn't matter, but what does matter is that when the potential client reads or watches it will feel that you posted it just for them.
EXAMPLE: If you are a therapist who works with clients who are struggling to feel at ease at work and have anxiety around their working life, share posts about 'Ways to calm yourself before work', 'How to manage anxiety at work', 'What to do when you feel anxious at work'.
You can start to write these blogs yourself, but if you are not writing blogs, there will be blogs you can search for and share on your pages on the topic of your clients main pain points. (think about writing blogs too.....it can be daunting but its a great way to share your knowledge)
TASK: Grab a pen and some paper and write down 3 most common pain points clients in your niche face. Search on google for some content around these pain points and store them in a word document or spreadsheet. No matter what platform you are on, these are going to be attractive to clients in your niche.
(If you do not know who your ideal client is or what their pain points are, I would recommend you check out Jane Travis' guide How To Choose Your Counselling Niche)
You will find it easier to post on whatever social media channel you are on when you know WHO you are talking to......it's just the way marketing goes.
Give clients an idea what to expect in therapy: Again, no matter what platform you are on, you can give clients an idea of what they would expect when they come to your practice for therapy. This can make the difference of them choosing you or even giving them the encouragement to make the call.
How you can do this is by sharing images and videos of your practice room and answer most common questions people ask prior to booking therapy. This takes the unknown away and leaves the potential client ready to think about their next step.
TOP TIP: Video will always get higher reach than any other kind of post. Get brave, turn on your phone, set it in a well lit place in your practice room and record yourself for 1-2 mins talking about what people can expect when they come to your therapy room.
(I have been helping clients take the first step and record video, its not easy but it is VERY valuable no matter what social media platform you are using. If you do try video, please send me a notification on social media or an email as I would love to have a look and share it with my audience too if you like.)
.....social media CAN be effective as a tool to market your private practice, but ONLY if you go about it with the point of view that you are there to share and add value to peoples lives.
Think about what attracts you to certain posts or people that you follow on social media. Its mostly always people who are sharing something that relates to you or relates to whats is happening around you or your family.
You may never get a client come directly from social media, but when someone finds you from a directory for example, they may well go and check your social media platforms. When they do this they will get a sense of who you are based on videos you are sharing, blog posts you are writing or sharing and all of this pinpoints to them whether you are going to be right for them as a therapist.
Its about being visible so that when someone is ready to see you, you will be there. When you constantly show up and add value, this is what attracts people. It's not about having a sleek website or a fantastic social media page, wherever that is! Its about your potential client seeing you as you are!
(Please share this blog with colleagues if you think they will be interested in thinking about how to use Social media and have been wondering WHAT platforms to use - Thanks)
Related Article: How to create content with clients FAQ's