Using Social Media as a Counselor – Should You? How Can You?
Businesses have never had more opportunities to directly engage directly with potential customers and clients than they do now. You can send emails, appear in search results, run ads on popular websites, and more.
But of all the options available online, the most unique way to connect with your audience just might be social media.
Social media allows businesses a way into people’s personal space and social circles. It’s changed the way many businesses do advertisement. That’s not to say every business has success in utilizing social media.
Being the most unique tool also makes it the most difficult to master.
For some businesses, it might not even make sense to bother with social media. Their audience either isn’t there or there’s simply better channels to utilize. For other industries, social media can seem a little too direct and public.
Especially when it turns into thinly veiled sales tactics to earn more business. If you’re a counselor or psychologist, the question might not be whether or not you can use social media.
The question is whether or not you should use social media.
As a counselor, therapist, psychologist, or psychiatrist, the idea of directly marketing your services on any platform, social media or otherwise, might seem strange. After all, shouldn’t someone come to you if you they have a problem?
Of course, this thought assumes at least three things:
- They’re aware of their problem.
- They know they need external help.
- They know your practice exists.
By utilizing social media, you’re not trying to convince someone to sign up for something they don’t need. You’re presenting a possible solution to a problem they may not realize they even have. And you’re providing a very easy first step for them to take in addressing that.
Of course, it’s not just about growing your practice.
In fact, that doesn’t have to even be your focus. The greatest thing about social media for many industries is that it creates a way to promote awareness and discussion. In the realm of mental, emotional, and spiritual health, there are endless topics, studies, schools of thought, and stories to discuss.
As a counselor on social media, you have a chance not just to highlight your professional views and services, but to bring to light topics often kept in the dark. You should show caution, of course.
Placing boundaries is important.
This may include the subjects discussed, the depth of detail you go into, personal stories, and more. You, of course, always want to keep your clients’ information protected. You also need to be cautious of anyone on social media inadvertently sharing confidential information with you on any platform.
After all, Facebook messages aren’t designed to be HIPPA compliant.
You also don’t want to run the risk of alienating someone before you get a chance to truly connect with them in a session. In other words, play it safe.
Look at what other counselors are doing.
If you’re eager to use social media, but you don’t even know where to begin, it never hurts to look at others for inspiration. Find counselors you know or that are similar to you, and see what they’re doing on social media.
More importantly, see what everyday people are responding to and interacting with.
You don’t have to copy this beat for beat, but it’s a waste of time and energy to go about acting like you’re the first counselor to ever use social media.
Find a platform that works best for you.
You also don’t need to use every single platform all at once. Look at the different platforms available. See what makes the most sense for your practice. The likely options will be Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, or Twitter.
Facebook is the juggernaut, but there’s a lot of noise to get lost in. Also, its comment sections can turn very negative very fast.
Instagram is the hot platform for businesses and brands right now, but in addition to being good with visuals, you need to know when to post, what to tag, who to follow, and how to get noticed.
LinkedIn is best suited for peer-to-peer connections and networking.
And Twitter allows a great way to jump into topic specific discussions, but it takes some legwork and hands on attention to keep up.
Pair it with blogging.
Whatever platform(s) you end up using, you’ll want to be able to support it with your own content. The best way to do this has been and still is blogging. Blog posts don’t have to be thousands of words long. They don’t have to be a grad school thesis.
In fact, they should be breezy and to the point. They should be written to reach the kind of people searching for your business.
Get into the habit of blogging, and you’ll be surprised by how quickly you can generate content.
Of course, you’ll want a good website too.
A professional blog doesn’t simply exist independently, floating in the sea that is the internet. It’s attached to a website that represents your practice. And make no mistake, people will judge your legitimacy by the appearance and functionality of your website.
The truth is, a website is at the heart of virtually any digital strategy, including social media. So make sure yours is properly representing your business.
In addition to offering the simplest way for people to find Christian counseling, Torrch builds websites specifically designed for counselors. Contact us today, and see how simple and affordable it is to improve your practice’s online presence.