Should counsellors be afraid of Social Media?
Is the use of social media ethical? That is a question I hear a lot. A lot of counsellors stay away from social media exactly because of that reason. They don’t think they should be there because of the boundaries between clients and therapists.
The good news:
You can be on social media! Being there can be a great resource for the people following you. And a good way for you to market your practice.
- You can share articles and websites you have found online that you think can be of value to your clients.
- By posting regularly on the topics that you know a lot about, you show them that you really do know what you are about. That you are an expert in your chosen field.
- Build trust. People need to feel they can trust you before they will become a client
- Lead people back to your website and the resources you have on there.
A very important rule is: to be genuine, post what you do in the interest of your readers/clients.
What you have to be careful about:
Keep your social life and your professional separate. This means:
- On Facebook
- Make a business profile.
- Make sure security on your personal profile is very tight and don’t accept too many people you don’t know as friends.
- Occasionally check profiles of family and friends and if they have shared photo’s of you [and tagged you] kindly ask them to remove them. Explain to them why.
- On Twitter
- Concider only using it as a business tool. Unlike Facebook you have no control over who follows you. So always keep in mind when you tweet that anybody can read that. Don’t tweet when you are angry or worse, drunk.
- On Linkedin
- As Linkedin is primary a business network the chance of writing something personal here is less of a risk. Do keep your profile professional and use Facebook or other social media to keep in touch with friends.
- Also take care what you post on Linkedin groups. Even in closed groups, people could easily join under a fake name.
- The internet in general
- Just be careful before you post something. Keep in mind that it is very hard to remove something later. Think before you write.
If you keep these rules ahead in mind, Social Media can be a great way for you to reach people who would otherwise maybe not have found you.
For those of you who are offering more than therapy Social Media is especially important.
Some of you might have written books that you sell. Or made audio products like meditation cd’s. Social media is a great way to announce to the world when you are bringing out a new product.