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Will social media get you counselling clients?

Social media can be a great way to attract therapy clients, but you have to understand the needs of your followers and the needs of the social media platform. 

So today I’m taking a deep dive into this to talk about will social media get you counselling clients. 


How does social media help you attract more therapy clients, and how can you make it work for you?

I'll be looking at:

  • The clients journey into therapy
  • The role social media plays
  • How you can increase the chances of standing out and connecting with the reader

If you struggle with using social media to attract more clients, then I’ve got your back. In the Grow Your Private Practice membership, you’ll find the Social Media Made Simple course to walk you through the whole thing, as well as lots of resources to make the whole process more straightforward.

Just click the button below to find out more and join. 

Read the Transcript

I’d been planning to answer the question ‘does social media will get you counselling clients’ this week, so when I noticed this question pop up in a Facebook group, it was perfect timing.

The question from the Facebook group was:

‘How many clients do you get from advertising your practice on Facebook?’

To answer this we need to zoom out to consider the process that clients go through when deciding to come to us for counselling.

The Client’s Journey Into Therapy

Rarely do people wake up one day and think, “I could do with a little bit of counselling”

And then scroll through social media and see a post by a counsellor and think, "I'll give them a call”.  I mean, that just doesn't happen, does it? 

It can take a long time.  

It can sometimes take a very long time for somebody to get from that point of thinking, “I'm really starting to struggle with this”, to thinking “, I really need to get that help now”. 

A friend of mine told me that it took him over a year from deciding that he wanted to get help to make his first appointment. 

We ruminate about things for a long time.  We tell ourselves that we're all right, or that we’re making too much of it.  We talk to friends, do some extra self-care or some journaling and try to talk ourselves out of going to counselling.

If you’re interested in this, listen to episode 2 of the podcast ‘The clients journey into therapy’ 

The role of Social Media

If people realise there is something they need to work on but don't come to us or take any steps to get help for a long time, what do they do in the meantime?

This is where social media steps in.  This is where your marketing comes in because in the meantime, it's for us to let them know that you're there and that you can help them. 

Those people scrolling through social media might be keeping an eye out for information about whatever it is they're struggling with. 

They might be looking for blogs to read or social media posts that offer advice or thoughts, reflection or hints and tips. 

So throughout the meantime, they're looking around and seeing what is freely accessible to them. 

The know, like and trust factor

When somebody notices that you work with the issues they identify with, they may start to follow you on social media or read your blogs, putting you on their radar. 

Consistently showing up on your social media indicates that you're somebody that can be trusted, that you're genuine and that you're in it for the long haul. 

The posts you put out show that you're knowledgeable -  but remember you don’t have to have the answers to everything.  Just showing up and engaging in the conversation helps with the all-important therapeutic relationship. 

By following you on social media, people will get a feel for you and decide whether you're the sort of person they will feel comfortable talking to in a counselling situation. 

Advertising Vs Marketing

If not used correctly, social media can be like a supermarket notice board.  Imagine the notices pinned up in your local supermarket that say something like:

‘Qualified, experienced counsellor, offering a safe space to talk, call me now for an appointment.’

Now, the only person that's going to read this is somebody who, at that moment in time, is precisely at the point where they're ready to pick up the phone and speak to you.  For everybody else, it's just going to go over their head. 

It's the same with social media. If we go on and just say, “Hey, come to me for counselling”, it’s going to go over the top of people's heads, it's not going to form a connection, and it's not going to help you attract clients. 

So if this is all you do on social media, advertising in this way can actually be detrimental. No one likes to be sold to. So be sure to mix it up.

So how are you going to attract clients?

Well, here are some tips for how you can use social media to get clients. 

1. Who are you trying to attract?

There's a saying: 

Try to attract everyone, you'll attract no one’

 And it's so true. 

If you’re thinking, ‘I just want to help everyone and all sorts of different issues’, well I completely understand. 

You can still help lots of people with lots of issues, but be clear on your messaging in order to attract them in the first place.  Have your niche and know who you're talking to; otherwise, your message will not connect with anybody.

2. Consistency breeds trust. 

If you're consistently posting on social media and constantly being seen, it helps people trust you and that you're serious about what you do.

There's nothing more important than trust in a counselling relationship because people will trust you with their deepest, darkest secrets. People are going to trust you with their mental health, which is important. 

3. Make sure your website speaks to your ideal client. 

When people click through to your website to read a little bit more about you, it needs to be immediately clear that they are in the right place and that you're going to be the right counsellor for them. 

4. Produce a monthly blog

I highly recommend that you produce a monthly blog and share it lots - more than you think you need to as they help to demonstrate your knowledge. 

Not only that, the blog posts you write can be repurposed and shared in a variety of ways and numerous times on your social media, which again all helps with that trust factor. 

And take a listen to Episode 17: 10 Reasons why blogging will attract more counselling clients and Episode 18: 7 Ways for therapists to find blog post ideas

5. Encourage engagement

Formatting your posts to encourage engagement is an essential part of your social media strategy.  

Look to create posts that encourage comments; it makes it more interesting for the reader and the process more enjoyable for you.

It stands to reason that the more you enjoy your marketing, the more you will do it.  If you don't enjoy marketing, you're going to procrastinate, you'll put it off, and that's not going to help you. 

When you enjoy your social media, you connect better with other people and having an authentic connection helps with engagement on your posts, which social media platforms love. 

Posts with great engagement will get shared by the platforms for more and more people to see your account and content.

I talk about this in more depth in episode 6, What is Social Media Engagement and Why You Need to Know.  It's well worth a listen because engagement really is the most crucial metric when it comes to social media at the moment. 

Everything you're trying to do on social media is about increasing that engagement.

6. Increase your followers

Social media is a numbers game. BUT you really want followers that will be interested in your niche.  

You want them to be genuinely interested in the content you're sharing.  If they're not then they wont engage with what you write and your engagement will go down which means fewer people will see it. 

And as previously discussed, you want to increase your engagement.

The more people engage with your content, the better it is for you. Therefore, it makes sense that you actively work on increasing the number of your followers. The more followers you have, the more people see what you're posting, and that’s beneficial for you. 

7. Be Relevant

Are you sharing relevant things, things that are relatable to the person reading it?

Are they being entertained, or are you... a little bit preachy?

I know that when I first started, I thought I needed to teach things, like breathing techniques, and journaling.

But if people feel like you’re the teacher, some stop listening or turn off. It doesn't help to form a connection. 

If you recognise this trait in yourself, don't worry.  Try to concentrate on learning a bit more about how you can post relatable things that will create a connection. 

We're all constantly learning, and it’s ok to change your messaging style if things aren’t working.

Some simple tricks to have a more conversational style are saying things like:

  • Did you ever..?
  • Remember when..?
  • You know that feeling when..?

So...do you get clients from social media?

Well, do you ever really know where your clients come from? 

People use many different things to gauge whether or not they’re the person they want to work with. They may look on Google, they may find you on a directory and then check out your website, social media or blogs to get a feel for you. 

If you asked somebody how they found you, and they didn’t say social media, that doesn't mean your contributions on social media aren't encouraging people to use you.

That's something you'll probably never know 100%. 

How much of a priority is social media?

One of the biggest issues I see when it comes to social media is that it's not given the priority it needs. 

Social media is often seen as a bit of an afterthought, something that's rushed and not considered, and I suspect that this is something a lot of us struggle with. 

Sometimes, it’s a mindset issue because social media is seen as something we do socially.  We tell ourselves off for being on it too much like it’s a bad thing. But this is work; this is your business. 

Social media is a business tool to help your business attract more clients, and more clients mean more income to enable us to live the life we want. 

Now I know myself that when I do that panicky thing of going, oh my god, I've not posted for four days, what am I going to say? I can't think of a single thing to write.

Then whatever I put out there isn't going to be good quality and won’t get the engagement and comments I want.  

This means that the next time I post something, the social media algorithm will show my content to fewer people.  

It's a cumulative effect, so it's really important to be putting out good quality posts. 

Now, I'm telling you to put out good quality posts, but marketing is a skill that you will learn over time and with a bit of effort if you’re new to this. However, when you consider how much money a few extra clients will bring in, it's going to be worth it. 

I understand that this can all feel pretty daunting, so this is exactly why I produced the Private Practice Success Roadmap. It takes you through all of the basic marketing skills, like your messaging, your niche, who you're talking to, how you should speak to them, and what they need from you.  

It goes through your website, what pages you need, what to put on those pages and how to make them attractive to your clients.

It helps you with content and blog ideas, which allows your readers to see how knowledgeable you are, and obviously, using social media.

If you're feeling a bit overwhelmed by all this, fear not, as I have numerous resources to help you. 

Inside the Grow Your Private Practice Membership, the Social Media Made Simple course shares the most up-to-date methods on how to use social media, including engagement rates, how to encourage more comments, and much more.

Please don't struggle alone; come and join us, have some fun and make full use of all the helpful resources and support of other members.

It doesn't cost a fortune, currently, it is £35 a month, it’s such a reasonable price, and it's going to give you such a lot. 

So the answer to the question, ‘Will social media help me get counselling clients?’ 

The answer really is, YES!

If you're sharing content that your ideal client finds helpful and interesting, you’re consistent, your posts are getting good engagement, you’ve got a website that speaks clearly to your ideal client, and you're actively growing your followers (which you want anyway), then yes, social media can definitely help someone decided to choose you over somebody else.

So keep going, and keep learning. 

What to do next

If you enjoyed this show, why not share it with your counselling peers.

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Jane lives in beautiful Lincoln with her 2 boys and rescue dog. When she's not talking about herself in the third person, she's usually found with her feet up and eating Maltesers. Sometimes she even shares them with friends.