I just spent the morning listening to a panel of five companies discussing social media. I learned almost nothing, but that’s what is so “awesome.” Yes, there are a LOT of things to learn about social media and specifically for mental health professionals…….. BUT, truly, really, positively I can say without a doubt that social media is still the WILD, WILD WEST for even multi-billion dollar businesses. There is no one answer to all the complicated questions and issues that arise with social media.
All the tools in the world, all the analytics in the world, and it still comes down to YOUR industry, YOUR goals, YOUR capacities, and YOUR innovation-level on how you will use social media. And the great thing is solo-businesses like therapists have maximum flexibility and innovation-potential over a lot of companies who are big and sluggish and are dealing with millions of customers.
I came away feeling more secure and confident that I’ve got some amazing things to share and unique perspectives over the world I follow – crazy geek social media marketer folks. Those folks stress you out, overload you with data, and ultimately for nothing. It comes back, as always, to the chatterbugs with the podium who may not actually be able to translate the noise to the “bottom rung” user, like you and me. I see this with executives who don’t really have a clue what’s going on at the ground level and miss hundreds of opportunities. I see it with marketers who profess what they sell applies to EVERYONE even though it can’t, and I see giant marketing and PR firms still working to figure out social media.
As a panelist said well, “social media is the most expensive free tool we’ve ever seen.”
I say this is great news for therapists because as late adopters to technology, many are actually doing an awesome job jumping on board. It’s also great news because there is no one way to use social media and it’s NOT too late by a long shot, to join in. So, for any of you who go to the Psychotherapy Networker Conference in March (or read the magazine), I’m doing my third article on Twitter and will be working with the conference in some capacity to help therapists move forward with Twitter, or maybe even just a “Tweetup”, which is a fun word to describe meeting people in real life that you befriend on Twitter. (My two cents on Facebook is the walls are a bit higher and as a private community a lot of therapists aren’t getting large fan bases because people don’t want to tell everyone in their life that they’re interested in therapy. There are a few big exceptions….but mostly Facebook has its own unique issues separate from Twitter. I think of them as separate animals in the world of social media)