Therapists: How To Build a Facebook Audience
Facebook is an effective and free way to market your private practice and therapy services. It takes some time and hard word to build a Facebook audience, but it can be well worth the effort.
My fellow private practice colleagues often ask me how I got over 5,000 Facebook fans on my Facebook business page. My strategy for building a Facebook audience isn’t particularly complicated, but it does take consistent effort. So, while I can’t guarantee that you the same results, I think there’s a good chance these strategies will help you build a Facebook page following if you stick with them.
Before you begin to build a Facebook audience, you need to create a business page. It’s important to keep a professional boundary between your personal Facebook page and your professional page. Be sure to keep the privacy settings on your personal page at the highest level and always post on your business page as your business (not as your personal profile).
6 Strategies to Build a Facebook Audience
1. Create a professional look. Your Facebook business page is a reflection of your business. It should look attractive and use the same photos, fonts, and colors as your website. An effective Facebook page contains complete information about the business, so be sure to fill in the description, location, contact information, etc. Include a professional photo of yourself and a header image that reflects your business. You can create a free Facebook header at Canva.com.
2. Post consistently. When someone new visits your page, s/he wants to see that the page is active and relevant. Would you follow a Facebook page if the last post was from two months ago? Probably not.
I generally post 3 times a day on Facebook – two articles or blog posts and one inspirational quote. You can save time by scheduling posts ahead using the post scheduler right on your professional Facebook page.
3. Interact. Although you can automate some of your Facebook posts, it’s still important to show up and answer questions and respond to comments on your Facebook business page. Giving a little encouragement or saying thanks goes a long way in building relationships with your Facebook audience. Your audience wants to follow YOU.
It’s normal to have concerns about boundaries and ethics on Facebook. I disabled private messages on my business page as a way to discourage people from trying to use it as a counseling or crisis intervention service. You can and should set a boundary if a Facebook fan is expecting you to provide counseling on your Facebook page. It’s also essential to have a social media policy as part of your Informed Consent paperwork and discuss boundaries and confidentiality on social media with your clients.
4. Be a trusted resource in your niche. Share relevant content from others. Whenever I come across an article or quote that I know my audience will like, I share it. This provides a balance between content I've created and some I've curated. People struggling with codependency, self-esteem and perfectionism come to my Facebook page because they know I will provide them with the best content on these topics.
5. Write a lot of content. Writing blog posts regularly helps to establish you as a trusted, relatable expert in your niche. I’m a writer, so most of my content is in a written format, but you might prefer to make videos and I think that’s a very smart strategy as well. Ultimately, creating content in a format that feels comfortable and authentic to you will work best.
If you don’t have a lot of content yet, don’t worry about it. Just use more content from other reputable sources while you create more blog posts or videos. Also, Facebook only shows the posts from your business page to a portion of your fans. So, you can share blog posts and inspirational quotes more than once.
6. Ask your blog readers to follow you on Facebook. It seems almost too easy, but adding this call to action to the end of your posts dramatically increases the number of people who will follow you on Facebook. You can write something like this: “If you enjoyed this article, follow me on Facebook for more great tips and resources.”
As I said, these are the six strategies that have helped me grow my Facebook audience. I hope you’ll give them a try and let me know how they work for you!
Sharon Martin, LCSW is a licensed psychotherapist, speaker, and media contributor on emotional health and relationships. She writes regularly for PsychCentral and The Good Men Project. Sharon is the author of the workbook Setting Boundaries without Guilt and teaches blogging classes for therapists. You can join her email list or visit her website LiveWellwithSharonMartin.com for more information.
©2017 Sharon Martin, LCSW.