Estimated Read Time: 11 Minutes
Part 3: Blogs and Social Media
In our last episode of this series, ‘Making a Private Telepractice Website‘ we discussed the basics around building a website for your private practice. This time I’d like to go into creating and marketing your blog, which is the engine behind getting traffic to your website!
If, like me, you value your privacy, private practice and marketing can be a scary prospect. When I worked in the schools I remained entirely anonymous, to my general satisfaction, however as a private practitioner you’ll have to recognize your social media profiles as resources you can use. Like many Speech-Language Pathologists I tend to be professionally shy even though my communication skills are solid. So we need to push through and take on the job of marketing ourselves. The other option, of course, is to use a service like Accent Connection, which bypasses many of these issues and connects you with clients immediately.
Now that you have (or are in the process of building) a website, you want to create and link your business social media accounts to it. But even if you decide not to create a full website, you can still use these ideas… As long as you create a blog! You can do that for free (though I STRONGLY recommend you create a full website) by using Google’s free blogging platform Blogger.
Here’s a list of accounts/resources you’ll want to consider creating:
- Your Blog
- A Facebook profile and page for your business
- A Twitter account
- A Youtube channel
Let’s go through them.
Your own blog can either be useless or a wonderful way to get people to find you and seek out your services. It all depends on you…
The quote from the movie Field of Dreams “Build it and they will come” doesn’t apply here.
So many times I see people diligently writing blog pieces that are wonderfully informative but never get readers.
You need to let people know about the great resource you created!
Let’s talk about how that happens… And a bit about why!
What to Post?
Your blog is like your sign out front of your office. It tells people you’re there when they are driving by. Your job is to make sure that the people who are driving by think to themselves “Hmm, I ought to get in touch with her, she looks like a great Speech-Language Pathologist!”
How do you do this? Write blog posts that are relevant and informative for your audience.
Maybe you work with people who have accents, in which case you might write a blog post about the differences between accent reduction, accent modification, and accent acquisition.
Perhaps you focus on high powered executive women with your services, then you might want to write a blog post about the 7 ways for a woman to shape her accent into a voice of authority in the workplace.
Maybe you work with students coming to the USA or the UK or another English-speaking country, so you might want to write a blog post such as ‘Accents for Education: Communicating with your professors the RIGHT way!‘
Really, it’s just all about knowing who you’re writing for and what they are interested in.
A huge amount of your initial work is going to be in this domain.
You’re going to tell Twitter, your Facebook followers, people in your Facebook groups, and anyone else who will listen about your new blog post!
Right now you’re probably reading this blog post because you saw me post about it somewhere. Perhaps you’re happy that I wrote it because you’re finding it useful, or perhaps you have questions (please do post in the comments below or get in touch via email!), but in all cases you’re here reading and you’re becoming aware of Accent Connection.
Imagine your potential clients at your blog reading and engaging and developing an awareness and interest in your services.
Make sure you have and maintain a regular promotion schedule.
I like to put out at least 1 blog post per week and I promote it on the weekends so you can drink a cup of coffee and relax while reading my blog on a Saturday or Sunday morning. Experiment and find what works for you, but remember that as soon as you promote your piece other people are going to post in the same social media about their blog posts and other things, so yours will move down in your audience’s feed.
Try to schedule your promotion at the best time for the most viewers.
It Takes a Village!
Anyone who has ever dealt with kids knows that sharing the work is incredibly important. Doing it all yourself is really hard and gets tiring very quickly. Luckily for us, something that helps us out incredibly for promoting our blogs and websites are ‘backlinks’.
What the heck are backlinks???
Well, when you write a blog post and someone links to it from another website, that is a backlink. For example, if you were to write a blog post and link to this blog post as an example of how amazing blogs can be that would be a backlink to this website! 😉
Google thinks backlinks are awesome!
Google sees other people linking to your website and realizes that you are super wonderful and that Google should make sure that people see your website when they search. It’s not the end all, be all, of course, but it is a great way to start to build your reputation with Google’s little army of robots that decide whose website should come up when people search.
So how do we do this?
Find other bloggers, other professionals, other people who also want to create excitement around what they do, and talk with them! Offer to exchange links, do guest blogs, really anything that creates a web of people working together to develop and grow.
Always remember, there are enough clients for everyone, and by working together we all get our services in front of the eyes of our future clients.
So where do we promote our wonderful new blog posts?
There are nearly 3 billion people actively using Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp or Messenger each month.
That includes 2.6 billion people using Facebook alone, and more than 2.3 billion people using at least one of their services every day (source).
There’s no getting around it, if an SLP wants people to know her private practice exists Facebook is possibly the most important social media platform to join. You should have both a professional profile and a page for your private practice.
But there are some rules to follow:
This should go without saying, but we’ve all seen that one person who posts in such a way that you would never want to work with them…
When you share your opinion, do so with respect and care for both the people you are interacting with as well as the business (your private practice) that you are representing.
Social media is an easy place to get riled up, the lack of context and direct social cues can easily lead to inappropriate posts.
Of course, it’s not always you…
Certainly I’ve had people be rude and dismissive towards me on social media, including posts which denigrated my knowledge and abilities (interestingly, usually by people with far less experience and little or no relevant training in our field). I admit I was tempted to respond in kind, but I worked very hard to keep my purpose in mind and to remember that in the end the only person I could control was myself. All we can do is our best, and take a break when it gets too stressful.
If you find yourself getting stressed out, here’s a resource for you to use to help: Social Media and Mental Health
Join relevant groups and add to the discussion
Facebook groups are a wonderful way to participate in discussions with your peers and your potential clients, and you get FAR more reach than if you just post things to your own page or profile.
Be active in the community and share your experiences.
Ask the group admins about the policies if they are unclear to you, and ALWAYS follow the rules of the group.
You should be known primarily for your participation and secondarily for your business.
If you are in an English learning group and someone asks a question try to answer that question.
Remember, groups were not created for you to promote your services, it is a privilege to do so in them and you should be adding more to the group than using them for marketing purposes.
Post often and post on topic
Once a day go through your groups and try to add to any discussions you feel you can be helpful with. If it is appropriate, and within the rules, post replies with a blog post or a webpage on your website that answers a question someone asked.
Follow the rules about posting a promotional post to your business (for example it may be 1 time per week for many groups).
For your page and profile, use one of the free automated tools to schedule 1 post per day about your site, your services, any new blog posts or even just things you find on the web which you feel could be of value to your future clients.
There are a ton of tools out there to use, but for the early days keep it simple and cheap.
There’s no reason to spend $40 per month for a whiz-bang tool to post to social media when you have 3 followers (and one is your mom!).
Remember, slow and steady wins the race.
Don’t forget your hashtags and other aspects of your posts so they get noticed!
This is simple and yet often overlooked advice. Fill out everything for your profile and page!
Twitter is important for driving traffic, but the opportunity for engagement is much lower just because it is a very narrow social site.
The way that we at Accent Connection generally use Twitter is really just about promoting the blog posts we create and the services we offer.
But there are a few important aspects…
Use your Hashtags!
Always make sure you get as much exposure as possible by using appropriate hashtags and by searching for good hashtags to use.
Connect with like-minded people to create a community within the community.
Twitter is often a very drama-filled place, and you will be wise to just block those who can’t engage with you appropriately.
Keeping all of this in mind, do your best to schedule your Tweets in advance. There’s nothing like realizing at the end of the day that all you really did was hang out on social media!
With Youtube, offering videos that help you future clients understand how you can help them, offering videos that solve a quick problem they have right now, and offering videos that give general tips are all great strategies for developing awareness and interest in your services.
Youtube is an interesting platform! It creates a connection to your website or blog, but it also grows a completely separate audience!
What do you need to get started?
Well, you can absolutely run out and buy a fancy camera, but some of the most popular channels on Youtube have been started with a simple webcam and an inexpensive but nice USB microphone.
Focus on helping people, finding your OWN voice, and creating your OWN style!
By now you have a good idea of what you need to do, and how to go about doing it.
If you take one thing away from this post, I encourage you to remember that this is a marathon. The rewards will come, but you have to keep pushing and working. You don’t have to devote 10 hours per day, but try to put in 1 hour per day. If all you do is write one blog post per week and promote it to your Facebook profile, page and the groups you’re in, at the end of one year you’ll have put in 365 hours of marketing efforts.
In the immortal words of Dory the Fish “Just Keep Swimming!”
Accent Connection (www.accentconnection.com) takes the work out of marketing and advertising and lets you do your job: Helping clients! By subscribing to our service you get the opportunity to create a profile that clients can browse. They can then message you and you can connect with them to discuss how you can help them improve their accent with your services.
We spend thousands of dollars to bring you those clients so you don’t have to learn how to build and deploy Pay-Per-Click (PPC) advertising on sites such as Google, Facebook, Pinterest and others, monitor and perform single and multi-variate testing on those ads, develop and maintain a marketing funnel that provides a pathway to move Interested People through the process of becoming Learners and finally transforming them into Buyers.
We’re very excited to offer this service to you, and we hope you’ll consider signing up! Click here for a special, limited time offer!