Looking for a new way to grow your private therapy practice?
Have you considered LinkedIn?
If you think LinkedIn is only for posting your resume, you’re missing out on a powerful way to build your referral network. With over 400 million users and counting, LinkedIn is a rich source of referrals, and should definitely be a part of your growth strategy. Let’s discuss how you can optimize your time spent on LinkedIn and build your private practice in the process:
What is LinkedIn?
LinkedIn is a social media network. It’s akin to other social platforms because you can share updates and follow others, however, LinkedIn is strictly for professional use.
Even though you’ll find many of the same people on LinkedIn that you may follow on other social networks, the interactions here are business-centric. There are no photos of recent vacations to Cancun and certainly no relationship status updates.
On LinkedIn, it’s all about showcasing your work history, making industry-related updates, jumping on business opportunities, and networking.
While you can use other social platforms for business purposes, it can be difficult to cut through the noise of personal updates. However, on LinkedIn, everyone is there for the purpose of making professional connections, so it’s easier to navigate the social landscape on this platform and find networking opportunities.
How to Maximize Your Time Spent on LinkedIn
Highlight your work history
First things first, you should completely fill out your LinkedIn profile. Take a moment to share your experience, awards, and expertise. If you have any professional accolades, don’t be shy—share them with your viewing public. Any potential connection you make will want to check out your LinkedIn page to learn more about you, so make sure that it tells an accurate story of you and your private practice.
Add your unique voice
LinkedIn gives you the opportunity to create posts (that are similar to blog posts) where you can discuss hot topics in your industry. Use this to your advantage.
In your LinkedIn posts, tackle topics that will build exposure for your practice. This can help you land in front of the very individuals you’d like to network with in the future.
By the way, don’t be afraid to share an opposing opinion. Some of the most popular posts on LinkedIn offer a dissenting view.
Keep in mind that penning a post on LinkedIn can also get you on the radar of search engines. LinkedIn posts frequently rank on the first page results for search engines like Google.
Your LinkedIn posts will probably differ from your blog posts. That’s because you’re speaking to different audiences. On your blog, you’re catering to those who will use your service (i.e. your prospective and current clients). On your LinkedIn posts, you’re speaking to those who will refer others to you. Remember to treat this (and every other interaction on LinkedIn) as a networking opportunity.
Form Partnerships and Gain Referrals
One of the best uses of LinkedIn is to expand your network. You can connect with people who will send clients to you, such as physicians, school counselors, and other mental health professionals.
But not only should you look to find people who are willing to refer to you, you should also look for ways to give to others.
You probably come across clients who just aren’t the right fit for your practice. The good news is that you can develop relationships with professionals who cater to all different types of clients and would love to receive your referral.
Set Up a Company Page for Your Practice
On LinkedIn, you can also create a company page that promotes your practice. However, you can only create a company page after you create and fill out a personal profile.
Having a company page can help to legitimize your practice and gives you an opportunity to market your services.
Encourage your employees to link to your company page. This can help you get even more exposure for your private practice.
Sponsor Company Updates
Once you have created a company page, you can start posting updates and then pay to promote them.
Why is this important?
Paid promotion on LinkedIn helps you cut through the clutter and get directly in front of the eyeballs you want to reach.
On LinkedIn, the best performing sponsored content tends to:
Include images or video
Have shorter headlines (60 characters or less)
Ask questions in the headline
Use the word “you” to draw the reader in
Provide a clear benefit for the audience (increased productivity)
Actively Court Recommendations
A LinkedIn recommendation is an important signal to others that you can be trusted. It’s social proof on a business level.
You’ll need to gently guide your colleagues and employees on how to write the best recommendations for you and your practice. Instead of asking them to recommend you on LinkedIn, get specific in your ask. Use language like, “Can you write a short recommendation on my LinkedIn profile about our partnership/working experience?”
Otherwise, you’ll be inundated with “great therapist!” recommendations which isn’t the worst problem to have, but is definitely not useful for describing your value as a potential referral.
Join LinkedIn Groups
There are a ton of active therapy groups on LinkedIn that you should consider joining.
But when you join, don’t just lurk, get involved and participate. Give tips, share information, and provide support. In other words, always be willing to help. By doing so, you’ll raise your profile and get more exposure for your practice.
Respond to Interested Parties
LinkedIn has a great feature that allows you to see who’s checked out your profile recently. You should view these people as potential partners, clients, or networking opportunities. Don’t be shy—say hello to them.
The easiest way to do this is by sending a short and straightforward message along the lines of: “Hi there! I noticed you visited my profile recently. I’ve checked out your profile and I was excited to learn that you ________. Would love to connect with you!”
Should You Connect with Your Clients?
This is the million dollar question and it’s a tricky one to navigate.
As a therapist, you already know there needs to be a distinct separation between you and your client. However, social media has muddied the waters a little bit.
On one hand, you want to provide valuable content and information to your clients, you want to interact with them and be available to them when they have questions you can answer. You also want to promote your therapy practice, and gain more referrals.
On the other hand, you want to maintain boundaries. And you’re ethically bound to do so. It’s especially important in the field of mental health. You don’t want to unwittingly break client confidentiality by connecting with them on LinkedIn or social media in general.
In this case, I highly advise referring to the ethical code of the organization(s) you belong to, whether that’s American Counseling Association (ACA), American Mental Health Counselors Association (AMHCA), or some other group. The good news is that every organization has a published social media ethics policy that you can find by Googling the name of your organization and the words “social media policy”.
Over to You
Do you think you should connect with your clients on social media? Why or why not?