Using Social Media
Originally published under the title:
Six Tips for Effective Social Media Presence
12 April 2013 | updated 2015
Counselors, coaches, and other solopreneurs in the healing arts often feel uncomfortable moving into the world of social media for private practice marketing. Too many platforms, and the feel of over-exposure, plus the unfamiliarity with online technologies can be quite daunting.
So I thought I’d share what I’ve learned and now tell my clients about dipping our toes into this Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn especially as a necessary part of a well rounded marketing plan.
1. Choose one platform to focus your efforts on until you feel proficient
Scattering yourself over every social media platform you can find without a strategy for quality is counterproductive – even with cool tools like Hootsuite, that allows you to pre-write and schedule your posts for multiple accounts at once. Quality beats quantity.
2. Engage / be responsive to your followers
You may get likes for your quotes and photos, you might give a lot of likes and share others posts, but the way to engage is to ask a question in a reply to others’ posts, or carefully give an opinion, state an agreement, or give a compliment. It’s unnecessary to “sell” your practice – if your online identity is set up as a business name or tagline, you are automatically but subtly selling your practice with every post you make.
3. Be yourself – tactfully
People talk about having a plan or strategy, which makes us think there’s some formula for social media. There’s not. You’ll hear that you should be engaged and helpful 80% of the time, and promote yourself 20%. But the truth is that all engaged helpfulness is self-promotional. The best strategy is to tactfully be yourself. Keep in mind that you are there for business purposes, but that potential clients will be attracted by your authenticity, by seeing you as a human being with a sense of humor, personal interests, and the ability to connect.
4. Don’t post when tired or frustrated — and no venting
Of course, It’s part of being “real” that we all are sometimes ticked off, exhausted, or irritated at something or somebody. Save it for online groups or your personal – versus business – pages. You don’t want a potential client’s first impression of you to be made from the post where you’ve trash-talked some politician or corporate conglomerate.
5. Keep it short & simple
Twitter has the right idea – posts of 140 characters are about all people really want. Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn don’t restrict post lengths, so you’ll have to exercise some restraint. Those platforms are not the place to put blog-length posts. Instead write a “teaser” and give a link to your blog.
6. Re-read and correct
Before hitting the POST or SUBMIT or SEND button, take the time to proofread for spelling and grammar. Nothing degrades a professional presence more than typos and language mistakes.
Need more help with your marketing methods? Whether it’s content writing help, a website, strategy consultation, techie training, or coaching to break through your anxiety about self-promotion, I’d like to help. I have services to fit any budget. Check out the details here on how to choose what you need.
6. Observe proper Netiquette
Be curious, not combative
Be careful with humor -- think twice about posting
Avoid use of ALL CAPS -- it's rude and angry
Give credit when you use a quote or photo