Twitter for Therapists - Guest Post by Marnee Reiley

So, we use twitter, facebook, pintrest and linked for ZynnyMe and for our private practices. I met a great MFT Intern on twitter. From there we met for coffee and I just thought she was awesome. She is in private practice and blogging, using social media, and all that fun stuff. Did I mention she is an intern? That is why I had to meet her. So often interns think they can't do much until they are licensed, but Marnee defies this. So I asked her to post about her thoughts on twitter. Here is what she sent me:

“Why would I want to be on Twitter?  It sounds like a waste of time.”

“I have no idea what I’d write in a tweet.  Who wants to hear about what I ate for dinner?”

“Twitter’s for kids.  I’m too old to start messing with that stuff.”

Do any of these comments sound familiar?  If you recognize yourself in any of the above sentiments, you’re not alone.  Many people I speak with about Twitter have some of the same objections.  They worry that getting an account would be complicated.  They’re concerned that if they did actually figure out how to get a Twitter handle, they’d never put it to use.

 Allow me to dispel a few faulty assumptions and to give you my take on why Twitter is important and how it can work to your advantage in business:

The super duper basic “how” of Twitter

Getting a Twitter account is free and is fast to set up.  In five minutes you could be sending out your first tweet!  Just visit www.twitter.com to sign up.  Pick a Twitter name, or handle, that starts with “@.”  Mine, for example, is @YourOCTherapist.  Add a photo and a sentence about you, and you’re official. 

The slightly less basic “why” of Twitter

Twitter is a way to connect to others and explore your interests.  You can “follow” people or organizations that intrigue you, and others will find you and “follow” you based on what you tweet.  The more active you are in sharing relevant information with your followers, the more followers you’ll likely attract.  And by “relevant information,” I don’t mean what you ate for dinner.  Humor can play a role in your Twitter success, but if you’re promoting yourself professionally, your tweets should reflect that focus.

So, what benefit can Twitter have to you professionally?  I have found that having an account, actively tweeting information relevant to my profession, and connecting with others has been enlightening.  I’ve discovered organizations and people offering services that I am thrilled to know about.  These followers, and those I follow, are resources of information.  I also learn about breaking news and events through following newspapers, journals, and local event blogs.  Most important, however, from a personal level, has been able to take some of the contacts that I’ve made on Twitter into the “real world.”  Business networking can only go so far online.  Ultimately, most of us want to work with and refer professionals we trust.  What’s been most beneficial to me is to be able to connect via phone and in person with some local mental health professionals to discuss synergies and establish real connections.    

So, that’s my pitch for Twitter.  It takes little time to set up and maintain, it’s free, and you just might end up meeting some fascinating people with whom to collaborate!

MarneeProfilePhoto.jpg

Marnee Reiley, M.A., is a Marriage and Family Therapist Registered Intern in Irvine, CA, who might be tweeting about mental health this very minute at @YourOCTherapist.  Learn more about her counseling work with couples and individuals at www.YourOCTherapist.com

Social Media - What's the point?

Did you know we speak about social media a lot? to groups, consults, friends and more! But through it all I think most people want to know is do they have to do all this social media stuff? Well, yes and no.

You don't have to do anything you don't want to do. I mean really, this is your business and if you want to market it all offline during only your waking hours, then that is totally up to you. BUT, if you want to market to people while you sleep, sell product 24/7 (not just during office hours), learn from others and share your knowledge and expertise, then you should do some social media. 

Here are some tips to get started:

 

  • Check your website: Make sure that your website speaks to your niche and to the person you want calling you. Also, if you have product to sell, make sure it is easy to purchase, easy to understand what you are offering and above all else, relevant to your audience. Your website is the FOUNDATION on which your social media stands so it must be solid. (on a side note, it is hard to have an awesome website without investing thought, time, effort and at least a little money)

  • BEFORE you open an account, recognize that if you open an account, we recommend that you USE it. Nothing worse than seeing a twitter feed on someones website that hasn't been used in a year. Hmph, why bother? Also, it can hurt your SEO for you website. Just trust us, it isn't worth it.

  • We recommend starting social media in this order - LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and then whatever else you want to do. For most people in private practice or small business those three are enough to really get connected. Much more than that, they seem to get overwhelmed.

  • Master each one before you move to the next. Understand each platform and how to use it for your business. We give talks on this but you can google the information too! Make sure all of your profiles are complete, coherent and fit with your overall business plan. We can help with that if you need it but there are also A LOT of cool resources. Check out hubspot.com for some of their ebooks.

  • Whatever you post....It's NOT all about you! Social Media is multi purposeful - creating your brand, sharing your knowledge, helping others, generating leads and traffic to your website, meeting people you would otherwise have never met.

 

I see a lot of people asking for Likes and Follows...but why? Why are you doing this? Be clear on the why and your social media will work for you. This should be about QUALITY and not quantity of connections. You want people to like and follow that meet who are marketing to. This isn't a numbers game. 

Oh! And a final tip - Relax! You don't have to figure it all out right now! But the fact that you try is amazing to us. YOU are keeping up with where businesses are headed. One day email will be extinct, replaced by twitter. Then twitter will be replaced by something else...the point is, you want to stay RELEVANT! We love helping business owners do this! 

Smart Social Networking for REAL People

What do you mean? What is smart social networking for real people? These are people like me and you that would rather be in the garden, at lunch with a friend, or dancing then "tweeting." These are people who are on Facebook because they want to keep up with family and friends- not because they are interested in marketing 12 hours a day! Ok, so if you are are a real person- read on!

What is Smart Social Networking?

Smart Social Networking is focused, purposeful, time saving use of Facebook, Twitter, or some other fancy site for a specific purpose.

Social networking is a wonderful, low-cost (or no-cost) way of expanding the people you know, your referral sources, and keeping you "top of mind" with potential customers or referrals sources.

Many business owners are fearful of falling down the "social networking rabbit hole!" Sitting on Facebook or Twitter all day is not usually good for your business, your health, or your relationships! If you are considering delving into social networking like Facebook, Twitter, etc. you just need to do it in a smart way!

Here are some things that are required to go into social media the smart way:

  1. A basic, but clear understanding of the purpose, function, and culture of these sites.

  2. Putting some of your worry and anxiety away so you can have a little fun with it!

  3. A clear focus in your business- maybe even <gasp> a business plan!

  4. A clear understanding of your business and your customers.

  5. A basic understanding of why and how people make the decision to do business with you.

  6. Some time to play and practice on these sites to have a hands on, kinesthetic understanding.

  7. A knowledge of tools and options that can make things easier so you can decide what would work best for you!

What does it not require:

  1. Sitting in front of a computer 12 hours a day.

  2. Purchasing a smart phone (although this can make things easier).

  3. Being young, technologically savvy, or an expert on the subject.

  4. Spending a lot of money.

I hope this quick blog post gives you hope that you CAN use this low-cost or no-cost advertising tool. I would love to hear your questions about social networking, Facebook, Twitter, etc. below. We are in the midst of putting together an online Facebook class that is video based to help where people get stuck again and again!

Until next time: Zynny Says: "If it doesn't save you time, save you money, or make your life better- what is the point?"

More than two legs to stand on

I was speaking with a friend and colleague yesterday about his new private practice. He has decided to take insurance. His reason is that he doesn't have time to market his private practice. Nothing wrong with taking insurance, really. But if you are doing something you just simply don't want to do and don't have the time to nurture, I don't see how it is going to help your practice thrive. Then later in the day I spoke with another colleague who wasn't sure where to start marketing her
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But I'm old school- I don't do tech

So, I had a little fun this morning creating my own "geico-esque" commercial. I get to talk to business owners and a lot of therapist every day who are terrified that technology is going to take over their lives. Below I have put in a short, silly pirate video that does a "reenactment" of this conversation. I know doing a webcam video would be more personal-but I thought putting on different hats or using different voices might freak you out or make you think I was going nuts! Hope this video makes you smile! 

GoAnimate.com: ZynnyMe Technology Coaching for Real People by ZynnyMe

Like it? Create your own at GoAnimate.com. It's free and fun!

By the way, do you work with or market services or products for kids? I think this would be a fun, amazing way to create kid friendly content about play therapy, kid's toys, or even party planning themes. However, this strategy does require that you have some kind of web presence through a website, facebook page, or email list... 

If you are ready to finally create a website- check out Website in 30 days program for therapists. If you are a small business owner- stay tuned- we will have a similar program coming out for small, niche businesses this summer! 

Post your biggest technology fears or questions below in the comments- or send us an email at help@zynnyme.com 

A Word of Encouragement

Here is a short video by yours truly, Kelly Higdon sharing about how going paperless and integrating technology has made running a private practice easier, more profitable, and made my LIFE better. 


You can do this! If you have fears about technology - email us at help@zynnyme.com