My time almost became extinct. For the first three years of my private practice, I had only a Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/mentalwellnesscounseling I only had 30 or so people sign up. I think people might feel awkward with liking a counseling page. I still maintain it, but recently I have branched out more. About three months ago I decided to focus my private practice web efforts differently. Gaining popularity on social media outlets can lead to an extinction of your time…time that often could be used more productively.
I had become familiar with http://www.mailchimp.com/, a free e-newsletter service. They allowed me to auto-post newsletters to my Facebook. So when I signed up for Twitter, I integrated that to auto-post on my Facebook too. Then I kept getting those annoying LinkedIn emails and actually started exploring. I found a thriving discussion community regarding counseling and private practices (I’m late to the game on this one). I have my Twitter feed into my LinkedIn account.
I have my Twitter go to Facebook and LinkedIn, my MailChimp e-newsletter feeds into Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn. I am more effiecent in my time. I did not go into counseling to tweet or post. I went into it for the personal interactions. However, I have seen that as I build multiple entry points in my private practice, I get more people that are interested in what I do.
By building a broader audience, it helps me develop skills that I would not normally develop in the office of my private practice: marketing analysis, focusing on specific needs in the community, and collaborating with counselors worldwide.
Often I think that we see our skill set as being limited by our own communities because of the direct personal nature of counseling. However, I am slowly seeing how vast the client reach can be. I probably won’t be doing too many phone consults or webcast counseling, but I can take the concepts that work for me (and don’t work) and let people know, but I don’t want Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, or MailChimp to take over my time. And that is why I integrate them to feed into one another.
Check out my newest blog post: Set Up a Business Facebook Page in 5 minutes.
Joseph R. Sanok, MA, LLP, LPC, NCC is a therapist, counselor, psychologist, and owner of Mental Wellness Counseling www.mentalwellnesscounseling.com in Traverse City, MI. He helps angry kids, frustrated parents, and distant couples…and just about everyone else. He is a frequent speaker in the Traverse City area, Michigan, and nationally. He helps counselors in private practice through his blog www.PracticeofthePractice.com and through individual consulting.