If used well, social media can help you attract clients, establish professional credibility, and connect with colleagues. If used poorly, social media can waste valuable time and make you vulnerable to ethical mistakes.
Fortunately, there are some simple dos and don’ts that can help you avoid the dangers and reap the benefits of social media.
- Do set your privacy settings on any personal social media profiles.
Most likely, you have some personal social media accounts – a Facebook account to stay connected with friends and family, an Instagram to share your photos, etc. Keep those personal accounts private by setting strict privacy settings to ensure that your profile is only accessible by your friends and family.
If your personal accounts don’t have good privacy settings, it’s possible a client or a potential employer might find them. Keep your personal and professional lives separate by having good privacy rules.
The University of Texas has a great page that explains how to set your privacy settings for all of the major social media platforms. Follow their instructions, and lock down the privacy for all of your social networks. In general, you should set everything to be visible to your friends only.
Also, if you are going to use a social network for both professional and personal reasons, it might be wise to have two accounts – one for your personal use, and one for your professional presence. For instance, you might make one private personal Twitter account where you can follow whomever you like and one public professional Twitter account where you only follow other mental health professionals.
- Don’t accept friend requests from clients
Maintain proper boundaries and keep your relationships with your clients limited to the therapy office. If a client requests to friend you on Facebook or connect with you on LinkedIn, you should decline the offer and discuss it with them during your next session. Even if a former client attempts to friend you, you should still decline the offer – for the same reason why you wouldn’t invite a former client to join your bowling league.
- Do create a professional profiles for Linkedin.
The professional value of Linkedin is obvious: it allows you to post your professional experience and connect with colleagues. While Linkedin is most helpful when you are job-hunting, it’s good to have an up-to-date Linkedin profile even when you are settled in your career.
Linkedin Profile Ingredients
There are three major ingredients that go into a quality Linkedin profile.
1. Get a professional looking photo. A good photo goes a long way towards creating a good impression, so make sure your photo is high-quality.
2. Write a quality summary. Your summary is the first thing that people will read when they reach your profile, so you should try to grab their attention. Write in the first-person, and tell an engaging story about your professional experience, passions and talents. Ask a few friends to read your summary and get their honest feedback – then refine as necessary.
3. Finally, keep your Linkedin up to date. Every year or so, log in and make sure that you’ve updated all of your experience. This is especially important if you’ve changed jobs, been promoted or moved. If your Linkedin is up-to-date, it creates a more professional image and makes it easier for new opportunities to come your way.