Review by Jamie Chin, MFT Registered Intern

This review is of our recent training, "Social Media For Therapists: How to use social media ethically to grow your professional reputation, your business, and your income", which was presented on January 18, 2014 by Miranda Palmer, LMFT.

It is virtually impossible to escape social media these days. Many therapists are bewildered by social media and all the questions surrounding it. Some may wonder “How important is it to my private practice?” “Do I really have to be on Facebook?” “What if a client tries to interact with me on it?” “What about the information I want to stay private?” Miranda Palmer, MFT and business coach, helped us answer some of these questions with a training entitled “Social Media for Therapists.”

Miranda stated an interesting point: Even if you do not have your own social media account, you still need to have a social media policy! This is because your clients are on these sites and as a professional you will need to set boundaries for yourself and your business. Clients might try to “friend” you, text you, or attempt to engage you in therapy via email or a social networking platform. Due to confidentiality and ethical issues, therapists must think these situations through and decide how to appropriately respond. Thankfully, Miranda pointed therapists to a free social media policy starter form that she stated is very comprehensive.

Miranda was clear to point out that social media is just one way to market your business. While social media can be powerful, it isn’t a magic answer for those who need clients. Rather, the point of social media should be to engage with your ideal clientele. Miranda outlined five critical steps in beginning to market a practice.

The first step is to ask yourself, “Who am I?” Since you can’t advertise your services if you don’t know who you are, you need to spend some time mulling this question over. What interests you? When do you do your best work? With whom?

At the second step, ask “What am I really passionate about?” What makes you excited to get up in the morning? What type of clients do you really look forward to seeing or wish you could see more of? Loving your job is important and when people feel and sense your passion, they will respond!

It is just as important to ask yourself what you do not enjoy doing. Thus, the third step involves giving yourself permission to do less of what you don’t enjoy and more of what you truly love. If eating disorders isn’t your thing, refer out.

At step four, you’ll want to ask yourself, “Who are my clients?” In order to know who to market to, you must determine who your ideal clients are. Are they new mothers, widowers over 50, teens with anxiety? Once you determine this, you’ll be ready to move on to the next step.

Finally, step five will have you asking where these clients may be found. Where do these clients hang out? Are they at the PTA, local soccer game, or an A.A. meeting? Which social media platform targets your niche? Once you figure this out, you’ll know how to find them. If you don’t know where these clients are at, you may have to do some assessing to answer this question.

Suggestions for where clients hang out included Google+, Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram, YouTube, and Imgr. Miranda stated that everyone will need their own customized social media marketing plan. Figure out what your clients really need from you. Once you do this, you’ll make the connection that counts.

A big thank you to Miranda for this stimulating presentation!

~ Jamie Chin, MFT Registered Intern

Thank you Jamie for this wonderful review!

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