I have wholeheartedly embraced social media to build my therapy practice and to educate the public on important emotional health and family relationship topics. Technology and social media have allowed me to grow my private practice free of managed care during difficult economic times. Facebook is the #2 referral source to my private practice website, topped only by Google. A common challenge for private practice therapists is learning to effectively manage social networks in a way that maximizes their time and draws people to their practice.
People often ask how I stay on top of posting and interacting regularly on my social media networks. Just to give you an idea, I manage 3 Twitter accounts, 8 Facebook pages/profiles, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Ping.fm, 3 Ning accounts. One of my favorite social network management systems is HootSuite, a social media dashboard. Although I can't manage all of my accounts from HootSuite, I can manage the largest networks. I pay only $5.99 per month which includes the ability to add one "team member" to can access and manage my social network accounts.
Here's a list of social networks that you can manage from Hootsuite:
I'm hoping they'll add Facebook groups, StumbleUpon, and Pinterest very soon.
Here's my 5 minute tutorial walk through of HootSuite's basic functions so you can see the dashboard, functions, and how easy it is to use.
Here are some of the reasons I like HootSuite:
1) Save drafts
You can save drafts of updates, posts, links, etc. to post at a later time, or to repost which saves time.
2) Schedule posts
If you find an article link , quote, or other resource that you want to share on any or all of your social media networks, you can schedule a post in the future by setting the day and time. You can set aside a certain amount of time every week and schedule your posts for the week on all of your networks.
3) Interact directly from the dashboard
Not only can you post updates, photos, links, etc. for HootSuite, you can interact, comment, "like", retweet, and many other options on several networks from one place. You don't have to login to each site separately which saves time.
4) Selectively post to networks
You can send or schedule an update to specific social media pages and not to others. For example, one of my Facebook Pages is a "Music/Band" page for my performing and songwriting. I post more music related links, stories, etc. there and I don't post those on my private practice Facebook page. You can select which updates to send to each social network depending on the interests of your audience on any specific account.
5) Add team members
HootSuite allows you to add team members to your accounts to help manage your social media. I recently added a team member to assist me. The dashboard shows which team member responded to certain social media posts so you can track the other member's interaction and avoid duplicating responses.
How do you manage your social media networks to build your therapy practice?