Please see the updated version of this article, now posted at Mindset Market Blog
Twitter is a simple but powerful marketing tool for therapists. It’s an effective way for you to share news with your audience, respond to questions, and inspire people to become your clients. Twitter doesn’t require the same investment of time in creating content that other social networks need. That said, Twitter is fast-paced and dynamic. Freshness is important.
To build an engaging presence on Twitter, you have to keep up with the latest trends in your industry and be fast in your responses. Also, since you are limited to 140 characters, the value of the links and images you share on Twitter will have a big impact on how others will react to your presence on the network. Being short yet always relevant is crucial.
Without further ado, here are some essential Twitter marketing tips for therapists that will help your practice make the most of this great marketing tool.
Posting 5 times a day may seem like a bit of work, but studies show this brings you the best results on Twitter. Because Twitter is so fast-paced, almost like a SMS exchange, your Tweets in your followers’ stream can be hard to notice. Posting 5+ times a day can make your Tweets easier to notice, especially when you’re just getting started with Twitter. Remember that your Tweets can include content curated from other relevant sites, which makes it easy for you to come up with enough ideas for Tweets every day.
If you want to use Twitter to drive targeted traffic to your therapist blog and generate leads, you have to focus on the right audience. Unlike an online shop or services provider, your client base as a therapist is narrower. In most cases, your clients are almost exclusively from your town or city. Your Tweets should be aimed at them. Make your Tweets more local by adding place names to them and featuring local news and events that may interest your clients. Find those topics which concern local clients and Tweet about them.
If someone asks you a question on Twitter, try to answer it in a reasonable time. If someone retweets you, consider favoring their retweet. Always answer direct messages politely. When you come across an interesting fact, quote, or piece of news, retweet it. Respond to mentions when appropriate, and don’t be afraid to be personal. So long as you maintain your professionalism, being personal on Twitter will help you secure the goodwill of others and attract more attention.
You don’t have to create every Tweet in the spur of the moment and publish it manually. If you try to do this, Twitter may start to feel like a chore, and after a time you may lose your interest in it. An easier approach is to take the time to create Tweets in advance and schedule them with a free tool like Twittime. With TweetBox you can choose the day and the hour for your future Tweets. You can even set up recurring Tweets. This kind of automation can save you time.
To be clear, this doesn’t mean don’t use Twitter Ads. We’ll get to that later. What it means is don’t try to use Twitter to sell your services directly. This may work for stores or services providers who target consumers, but with a therapy practice, things are different. People take their time deciding to go to a therapist, and then they spend even more time choosing the right one for them.
Going to a therapist is not usually an impulsive or even a quick decision (until the very last moment in a time of overwhelming need). What you should do instead is build a reputation as a good therapist and adopt an engaging attitude that makes potential clients feel at ease around you.
Use a custom header, preferably one that includes the logo and slogan of your practice if you have any. Choose a color scheme that is at once relaxing and inviting, and that reflects who you are and what you do. Make sure you complete all information, providing a short but insightful description and not just an enumeration of degrees and licenses.
Don’t forget to add a link to your website, blog, or Facebook page. It will help you direct people to a page where they can answer a call to action, such as subscribing to your newsletter, liking your latest post, or even contacting you.
As a therapist, new research and health news are treasure troves of content. You can use them at the same time to inform yourself and to generate content for your Twitter page. The key to being a great content curator on Twitter is to focus on the facts and the news that have the biggest impact.
Not all numbers and findings are as important for your followers as they are for you. Before sharing any link or statistic on Twitter, take a moment to consider how your followers will react to it. Is it of any value to them? Can it help them live a healthier life or make a more informed decision about what technique of therapy can help them? If the answer is no, then you shouldn’t share it.
Another benefit of Twitter marketing for therapists often overlooked is how easy it makes interacting with other mental health professionals. Following, retweeting, mentioning, or directly messaging another mental health professional on Twitter can be the beginning of a valuable network connection. By encouraging discussions, Twitter makes interaction between professionals much easier than say Facebook, where you’d have to join a Group Discussion or be very active on their profile to get their attention.
Foster connections that can help increase your knowledge and reputation, such as with thought leaders and highly-respected practitioners. Don’t be daunted by their big follower count. On Twitter almost everyone is friendly.
Hashtags make your Tweets so much easier to discover. But for them to work for you, it’s important to get them right. It’s #mentalhealth, not #mental health. #PSTD, not #posttraumaticstressdisorder. Common afflictions of our time like #depression or #anxiety are great hashtags because so many people are interested in them. If you are ever unsure about a tag, search for it using the Twitter search bar to make sure you get it right. The exposure that the right hashtags bring you make the effort well worth it.
Your intent on Twitter, just as it is with your practice, should be toward your patient and their problem. On social media it’s easy to talk about yourself, but links to your blog or website are not usually enough to attract clients. Chances are you’re not the only therapist in your area. And guess what? The others are probably on Twitter, too.
That calls for an effective approach geared toward understanding your audience and responding to their needs. Become interested in your audience and they will likely become interested in you, too. Share, like, mention, and they will do the same for you.
Last but not least, get into the habit of looking at the analytics built into Twitter. See which Tweets perform best, at what hour activity reaches its peak, and which content generates the most responses. Use this insight to tweak your Twitter marketing plan to get the best value for the time you invest in it.
And remember that if Twitter marketing for therapists becomes too much for you, using the services of a professional Twitter marketer will yield better results than ignoring it altogether. Make Twitter marketing a priority and it can help people discover your practice and even trust it.