Facebook Pages for Therapists: Some Benefits and Risks

I SAID THERE WOULD BE PRIZESSome therapists have embraced Facebook and others are hesitant to venture into social networking arena.  Here are my thoughts on the benefits and risks of setting up a Facebook page. Benefits of a Facebook Page for your Practice

  • Free marketing.
  • Raises visibility of your practice.
  • Allows Facebook users to easily find your practice.
  • Provide education and resources to those who "like" your page.
  • Post links to your website on your page wall to increase your web traffic.
  • Network with other local businesses to increase referrals.
  • You will have the option of posting on Facebook as your therapy clinic page name (instead of your personal profile name) allowing you to network, post on other Facebook pages, and increase visitors to your Facebook  page.
  • People who "like" your page can not contact you directly or message you through Facebook.
  • As the page administrator you have many options to control what content others are allowed to post on your page.
  • There are amazing apps available for pages that will help you build your business.
  • You can set up your website blog feed to automatically post to your page.

Concerns Regarding a Practice Facebook Page

  • Privacy cannot be guaranteed. Any use of technology carries some risk of breach of confidentiality. Here's what Facebook.com privacy policy disclaimer says:
  • Although we allow you to set privacy options that limit access to your information, please be aware that no security measures are perfect or impenetrable. We cannot control the actions of other users with whom you share your information. We cannot guarantee that only authorized persons will view your information. We cannot ensure that information you share on Facebook will not become publicly available.

  • Potential for dual relationships. Clients may choose to identify themselves as your client in their posts or comments. While there is no way for visitors to know which of you "likes" are clients and which are family, friends, business associates, and others people may make assumptions based on who "likes" your page.
  • Impact to client-therapist relationship. Issues may arise through interacting on your page that may impact the therapeutic relationship. For example, if a client comments on an article that you post and you don't comment back, he or she may be hurt. Consider adding a social media policy to your privacy policy on your website and or initial client paperwork that outlines your professional boundaries.
  • It takes time to update and maintain a Facebook page.

As therapists, we have to weigh the benefits and the risks. Do you have a Facebook page for your practice? If you've decide to set up a Facebook page for your practice, my next post will help you get started.

Creative Commons License photo credit: mr. nightshade