Twitter is fast. It’s cluttered, it’s meaningless for some, but also a really good place to spread the word about yourself and what you do on PlusGuidance. On Twitter, you don’t need to worry about keeping up with ever-changing privacy settings like on Facebook - your profile is already public, so you always know that everything you post can be seen and found by everyone.
At the same time, Twitter profiles are less personal than Facebook profiles. On Facebook, your Profile is literally representing yourself personally, while on Twitter, it is much more common to create a pseudonym or ‘brand’ around yourself, so you can conveniently showcase a professional persona you’ve created as a username, in a similar manner as business Pages on Facebook allow.
Of course, you can choose to use your real name, but when you’re running a business or practice like you are, you may find it more useful to frame yourself as tweeting in a professional capacity, or using your practice name for your Twitter profile if you are representing the practice’s view on the whole. This way, you don’t encourage existing or potential clients to tweet to you as they would to a personal friend. Rather, others will look to you more for general information and advice related to your services than expecting you to engage with them socially about sensitive matters.
Marketing-wise, there is a lot to gain on Twitter. We here list some ways this popular social network can benefit your practice and outreach to prospects.
Twitter is an excellent platform for sharing your expertise, which in turn will build your professional reputation. Things you can share include:
New psychology research within topics you deal with at work.
Your own blog posts.
Other people's/peers' blog posts.
News related to your clients' interests.
Interesting tweets from other people.
Images, quotes, or anything else you think will be relevant for your followers.
With time, you can build a following who's interested in the topics you tweet about (including potential prospects!), and this following could retweet your tweets, which can get their followers to notice you on Twitter. Twitter users will also assume that you are an authority in the areas you tweet about consistently, so they might eventually come to you for answers, should they need it one day.
Commenting on public debates
Mental health professionals will every now and then encounter views and news that are simply misleading or unhelpful for the public. Twitter is the perfect place to correct these misbeliefs and try to raise awareness about things in your area that people have come to misunderstand. For example, if a prominent personality has voiced their negative opinions about antidepressants, you might as a psychotherapist state examples of when antidepressants have saved lives. You could respond directly to the Twitter user voicing the opinion, use hashtags (trending ones, if the discussion is denoted with one), reply to others who’ve commented on this, or highlight counterargument facts as part of your curated content.
Getting traffic to your website
If you have a blog, we suggest tweeting links to your blog posts. This will not only raise your reputation as an expert on the things you blog about - it will bring more traffic to your website, thereby raising your website’s search engine ranking so you’re more likely to get found when people search for your type of services online. If you host events or talks listed on your website or other social profiles, you can link to those too. The bigger your following is on Twitter, the more people will get to know about this. Be sure to include your website’s URL in your Twitter profile description, so people can look you up if they decide to do so spontaneously.
As a PlusGuidance user, you can also share your PlusGuidance profile on Twitter so more people know that you are available for online sessions. Prospects who prefer online therapy are likely to already be active social media users, so it could be an excellent gateway to raising awareness of your services here. You could for example include relevant hashtags (e.g. #onlinetherapy, #psychologist #freeconsultation) when you share your PlusGuidance profile on Twitter so non-followers looking for these hashtags could stumble upon you via their searches.
There are many tactics you can make use of to grow your Twitter audience and in return your reputation online. There are also a myriad of things you need to get your head around when you are just starting out and finding your feet on Twitter as a therapist. We’ll explore this in more detail in other articles. If you want to know more about the basics of what Twitter can provide, read our Social Media Fundamentals article for a description of the basics.