This is the first post of a 2 part series of how to best utilize social media to engage your readers.
Developing and maintaining a strong online presence to engage readers employs the same skills you use as a therapist: the ability to foster trust, build rapport, and serve your community.
The internet allows you to expand your therapy outreach in a way that exceeds the bounds of what you could do from a traditional office setting. Here are some specific points to consider when building an online presence.
Your Therapy Skills in Practice
Some clinical counselors new to social media aren’t always confident about how to approach the task of building an online presence and effectively building a social media following, but you already have many of the skills you need. Your training has taught you to help others feel comfortable, address their specific concerns, and provide professional insight to respond to their needs. Building your online presence is simply translating those therapy skills to a larger venue.
Don’t be scared or overwhelmed by the technology side of things; by starting small, asking questions, and perhaps even learning a bit through trial-and-error, you will gain the experience you need to create a thriving online presence.
Content Creation vs. Content Curation
We’ve talked about the importance of creating quality content to frequently post to your blog and social media platforms. But just as important is curating material that already exists; that is researching, finding, and presenting content that is relevant to your current focus or professional study. Your goal is to connecting with both the general public and other professionals in the field in an effort to serve, educate, and inspire.
Some may wonder how much original content they should produce, and how much existing material they should repurpose. I generally try to obey the 40/ 60 rule; about 40% of the media I share through my social platforms is my own, where 60% is material I’ve found that I feel could best serve my community of clients.
“Why am I not getting new clients?”
I have talked to therapists who wonder why they haven’t seen a significant growth in their practice after they began to devote time to their online presence. But social media is a long-term strategy, and the results are usually not immediate. You need to build a collection of quality articles, podcasts, media contributions, etc. that prove you serve as a reliable resource in the field. It won’t happen overnight, but if you consistently create and curate quality material, you will be able to better serve your community, establish yourself as a trusted professional, educate the public about relevant topics pertaining to mental health, and also grow your business in order to meet your own needs. So keep plugging away; you’ll get there!
Stay tuned for an upcoming post about the logistics of using different platforms (Twitter, Facebook, etc.) to further engage your readers.
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