You're in the mental health field because you want to make a difference and make a living, right? Technology and new media now allow therapists to educate and interact with worldwide audience and to talk directly to ideal clients...for free. Take a look at these recent statistics from the top social media sites:
- There are 750 million active users (Facebook.com)
- 200 million Tweets go out daily on Twitter (Twitter.com)
- Over 400 billion YouTube videos videos are viewed each day (YouTube.com)
Of the 750 million Facebook users, half log into the site daily. This is great news for therapists in private practice because you now have access to thousands of your ideal clients. Can they find you? Do you have a Facebook "Page" for your therapy practice? (I'll be posting soon about the difference between a Facebook profile and a page). It's a great way to share resources, articles, and provide information about your practice and the issues that matter to you and your clients.
How about Twitter or YouTube? Can your ideal clients find you there? Are you tweeting about your specialty areas or your services? Do you have a video introducing yourself and your practice on YouTube? Think about it. Your potential clients are on the internet looking for mental health information and services. If you're feeling overwhelmed by these suggestions, never fear! I'll be walking you through effective and efficient ways to use social media sites to build your practice as the weeks go on. Keep in mind that social media sites are additional forums for building referral sources and networking, a place to talk with people.
So, why are so many therapists reluctant to embrace social media? Fears regarding breaches of confidentiality and the potential dual relationships are common concerns, however, there are ways to set up social media accounts so you're not mixing personal and professional information and relationships. In upcoming posts I'll suggest ways to utilize social media in an ethical way that helps you do a better job at educating on topics you're passionate about and using it in a way that builds your private practice.
Do you have questions, concerns, or fears about using social media to build your therapy practice? I'd love to discuss them so please post comments below.