Are you wasting your time with social media? The latest news from Forbes to get you thinking…

July 23rd, 2010

Yes, it’s pure irony that I’m writing an article about social media and it’s being posted to my Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter account. I purposely want to get folks thinking about about social media- is it important and what’s your goal using social media?

This was spurred on by an article I read in Forbes today on the top consumer trends of the ultra- wealthy. Even if you are not a therapist to the ultra-wealthy, you may want to listen up. The article noted, “about 69% answered that they pay more attention to print ads than those online. Only 8% said they use Facebook to make a purchasing decision, though more than 40 % had Facebook accounts”.

When I read this I did a double take and thought about the continual discussions of using social media in your business, and I truly am curious how therapists are using it in their business.

Here’s what I’ve discovered in my therapy business- I receive referrals from people who know me and the work I do (the outcomes I help people achieve). I’ve received some clients from internet searches, however most are from other clients, referral resources, or people I have met and spoken to (at groups, etc). I have never had someone become my therapy my client because the saw my tweet or Facebook fan page.

Think about it for a minute. How did you choose people that you interact with to provide you health related services? You likely spoke to another person you trusted, and they referred you to your dentist, doctor, obgyn, therapist, etc. I’m curious if there are people reading this who decided to use a health related professional because of social media? Truly, I’m curious about this and I’d love to hear if you’ve done so, and what was the experience.

What I’d like to open your mind to is that social media can be a powerful connection tool. I do believe there are uses for it like connecting with new possible referral resources. Here is where it becomes confusing for me- if you are offering therapy in a traditional setting (face to face in your office) does it make sense to forge relationships with folks across the country? Would it make more sense to cultivate relationships in your own community? Where do you put your energies to help more clients?

Now if you’ve decided to break out of the face to face paradigm and you’ve decided to explore online/e-therapy or coaching, then social media seems to be more applicable. Again, I wonder for those folks on this new frontier of e-therapy and coaching, how had social media impacted your business, and are your followers becoming clients?

I’ll leave you with a final thought- you should be focusing your daily tasks on what will give you the biggest return on investment; meaning what will help you connect with a client (or someone who can connect you with clients) and invite them to work with you. Perhaps it’s time to explore what’s the return on investment of the time and energy you are putting into your social media.

I’d love to hear your comments on this exciting topic!

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