On a personal level, I don’t love social media. I know as a professional, it’s an impressive marketing tool when building a private practice.  Case in point: Recently I hosted a lunch and learn for parents, and I was blown away by the power of a Facebook invite.  I was able to reach more people than I ever thought possible through social media.  Here are seven quick tips and tricks to harness the power of social media:

1. Update Frequently

Make sure to post several times a week, three or four is ideal.  Your audience wants to hear from you and what you have to say.  The more you pop up in their feed, the more you are on their minds.

2. Schedule Ahead

Use a free service like HootSuite or Buffer to schedule your posts on multiple networks.  Spend an hour or so each week scheduling posts.  Stay ahead of the game so you aren’t scrambling at the last minute to get content up.

3. Vary Your Posts

Don’t always post the same type of media.  Share articles, inspirational quotes and pictures, videos, and your own thoughts and ideas.  Make sure your message is consistent with what you believe and promote as a clinician.

4. Link Everything Up

Make sure you have social media buttons on your website and linked properly.  Also, be certain that your profiles include your website and other contact information and social media profiles so potential clients and referral sources can easily find you.

5. Pay for Posts

Facebook is a very affordable and effective way to spread the word about your practice.  You can target who you are reaching so your ad shows up only for people who are your ideal client.

6. Maintain Ethical Boundaries

Make sure clients know if they follow you on social media, others may be able to see that.  Add information in your informed consent so clients are aware of the boundaries you keep.  Have separate professional and personal accounts to maintain boundaries.  Check with your state’s licensing board for local rules and regulations.

7. Participate in Professional Groups and Network

One of the most helpful groups I’m a part of on Facebook is a group for play therapists.  I ended up connecting with two other therapists who have become wonderful peer consultation sources.  I’ve also connected with other local therapists through LinkedIn to build my referral list.

Social media can be a powerful tool to reach a larger audience and build your practice, but it’s a commitment to fully reap the benefits.  Set aside time during your weekly business planning meeting to keep your social media updated and increase awareness of your practice.