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Archive for the ‘Twitter’ Category

Therapy Marketing: Part 2: What It Is

Good news!  Therapy marketing is not about blasting yourself.  Even those of us extroverts don’t enjoy blasting ourselves.  Therapy marketing is not about putting an ad in your community paper.  It’s not about having a fancy website.  It’s definitely not about having fancy brochures and business cards.  (Or putting said paper products on tacks around town.)

Therapy Marketing (all marketing, really) is

Being in Relation With the Marketplace

What does this mean?  “Being in relationship?”  It does not mean what your Bad Therapy Marketing Instincts may be telling you. It is NOT:

  • Doing informational interviews to get yourself noticed by the big guns in your industry
  • Emailing everyone you’ve ever met that you have the MOST AMAZING book, workshop, coaching program, etc.
  • Joining linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, and spending 99% of your time blasting yourself and/or finding new people to blast
  • Going to networking events like BNI and sharing your business cards and brochures
  • Direct mailing or calling local businesses who serve your client base to let them know about your services
  • Hiring an expensive web designer, PR firm, graphic design team
  • Emailing journalists that you’re awesome and have an AMAZING perspective on a story (already covered 12,000 times in the last week)
  • Writing a book proposal assuming that having a book contract is not just marketing, but will land you a bunch of clients and cash
  • I know I’m forgetting a lot more….basically insert 95% of your ideas in this bullet point 😉

There is a word that is so overused, so grossly used by people who are not the word they self-describe, but I’m gonna say it with those caveats.  It’s about being authentic. It’s about honest to God LOVING what you are doing, who you are serving, and coming with your whole heart, ego left at your front door, and figuring out what awesomeness is already going on, who is really amazing out there already, being extremely open to the unknown, and thinking outside everything you’ve ever been taught about what being a therapist is, what therapy is, and what you “should” be doing.

Know there are key allies out there that can help you. You’ve got to find them, not annoy them (that deserves its own blog post!), and try to create a mutually satisfying relationship with them.  It can literally start with a sincere compliment to them.  It can start by reading everything they’ve written to deeply learn who they are, what motivates them, and where you can see a potential connection.

Know you have competition, even if it’s not another mental health professional. Whoever you work with, those folks are doing something, going somewhere, reading something, even if it’s not yet your awesomeness.  Instead of freaking out (I’ve got the charter membership to the freak out club, by the way) when you see people doing things you want to do, only they do it bigger, more boldly, and with more of a budget, consider instead what you can learn from them and maybe whether you can work together.  And if nothing else, remember without competition there is no actual need in the marketplace.  Competition is a very good thing.  In fact, without competition do you really know how you’re differentiated?  And come on therapists…isn’t self-differentiation one of the pinnacles of therapy? 😉

I believe this post is still too high, floaty in the sky.  I apologize.  Part of my “brand” if you will is to not be so flighty but REALLY GROUNDED ON PLANET EARTH.  Soft kittens and lollipops are nice to talk about but they don’t leave you with any action.

So.  Action?

One of the most powerful actions you can do is to be on Twitter to network with the marketplace, both locally and internationally.  From the ease of your laptop and a twitter account you can learn what the marketplace is up to, join in, and develop honest, real relationships with people who are in a shared passion with your client base, who are current serving them in a different capacity, or who are your client base and can get you MORE of their kindred spirits.  I’m creating a unique Twitter training for new/intermediate users and am pleased to say it’s gonna be really targeted to what I don’t see therapists doing, and really affordable. Sign up to learn when it’s live!  And an FYI, I’m very into the emotional side of technology so you’ll get a real raw look at the emotional ups and downs of Twittering.

I’m not even in graduate school yet and have made extremely powerful personal and professional connections because of Twitter. (I even have an internship offer in a town overflowing with therapy students, because of a huge amount of time I’ve given writing for local therapists and earning the respect of the editor who would love to help me become a therapist!)  I have many layers of Twitter with my many varied professional and personal interests all in one simple place. You heard me, I’m already marketing and I’m not even a therapist yet.  But it’s a journey.  A sloggy, uphill journey.  This @marriagekids account is my third account and is the one that has the real juice.  (I tried to have a personal account but I’m simply way too holistic in being who I am so I’m following therapists, entrepreneurs, parenting experts, local Minnesotans, and anyone I think is funny, interesting, or awesome.)

Today alone, because of a single Tweet reply, an amazing man not only followed me back, but called ME OUT as an amazing person and someone his 9,000 followers should follow.  WOW!   I thought he was amazing before he followed me.  Now I’m in even more awe of him (not because he thinks I’m awesome but because he took his precious time to read my site, call out what I was doing, and compliment me as a human being.)

That, my friends, is true bliss.  A real, authentic human connection.  It’s the reason I want to BE a therapist, not just talk TO therapists. There is no greater gift, in my opinion, than giving your undivided time and energy to another human being. Especially when you are not doing it to get something out of it for yourself.

Please, then.  Leave your Bad Marketing Instincts at the door.  Breath a sigh of relief!  Start engaging as a real human being to other real human beings.  You know, like you do every day with clients.  (Only this time you get to share your whole self!)  Watch my Twitter account and how many people I talk to, how rarely I tweet my own awesomeness but instead talk with people, share what they’re sharing.  And then imagine all that is happening behind the scenes with these authentic connections.  If I can be a random non-therapist, not-even-graduate-student, imagine what YOU CAN DO!

Please, let me know what questions you have, clarifications, cool things you’ve done, or cheer lead others reading this on your success making authentic connections!


Twitter for Therapists – new training coming!

I’m really nervous because this is my first ugly, gross “one page sales website.”  But it does the trick, so for now, sorry for the slickness.  I’ve been working on this way too long, since this summer I think.  I need to be kept honest and have too many people wanting it so by making it public I hope to get it done.

The next Networker magazine will have an article written by me on Twitter so I want this ready for those readers as well.  Deadlines – a good thing.

I’m not a normal marketer in that my approach is much more feet-on-the-ground, educationally based rather than having a lot of fluff, hype, then sharing a couple points, all while overcharging you AND upselling you on other stuff.  For any of you who have been to a workshop of my father and professional mentor, Bill Doherty, you walk away actually knowing stuff!  My specialty is to get people excited which, in my opinion, is half the battle in learning.  Boring stuff is hard to learn, don’t you think?

Check it out and please do sign up to be notified when it’s available.  I will not harass you if you sign up and don’t want to buy it later.  I’m way too busy for that.

Twitter for Therapists – learn more about it and sign up here.

Are you an Innovative Therapist on Twitter?

Lately I’ve been having a lot of fun convincing non-techie, middle aged folks the value of Twitter. Well, first, what the heck it IS.  Then it’s value.  Watch for a Psychotherapy Networker article on Twitter I’m writing, coming before the March conference.  I may also be doing more with Twitter during the conference and helping them build Twitter into their amazing new webinars and teleclasses they are offering to therapists.  (Ie, live Twitter conversations a few days after a webinar to allow further engagement.)

For today, a therapist friend asked a great question: “What does innovation look like on Twitter?”  It’s a big question but let me give a few easy to implement ideas in this blog post:

You can’t innovate if you don’t have people following you!  And innovators don’t wait around for people to notice them.

Step Number One: Be more aggressive on Twitter, finding and following therapists.  I have a therapist list on my @marriagekids account, and Twitter.com offers a great “follow suggestion” list that may give you other people to follow.  I would stop if you’re several hundred people higher on following than followers….wait for the follower count to catch up.  (If you run into a therapist who hasn’t tweeted in at least two months, you probably don’t want to follow them.  Really, if they get back into Tweeting you’ll find them again anyway when they’re active.)  You can also look at the follower or following list of any other therapist to grow your following list.  The goal of course is they’ll follow you back, though they may very well not, which is why we go on to step 2 and three.  But please remember, raw quantity has zero relationship to your innovation.  My other account has 2500 followers and yes, I’ve done innovative work over there, but my newer, smaller Twitter account is night and day different in the quality of followers and engagement.  In fact if you go into some Twitter people whose followers are 3,4,5,6,000 or more, you’ll find many pages of junk accounts that have nothing to do with the person.


Step Number Two: Don’t discriminate.  By this I mean, with some exceptions for obvious spammers, follow people who follow you.  If you’re not sure, Tweet them “Hey, curious why you want to follow me!”  The real people will respond, the rest you can ignore and never follow back.  You just NEVER know who or why people are following you that could lead to cool things.  Speaking as someone who may appear to be a “little person”, I’ve actually got a huge amount of leverage with key people to make things happen in the real world.  Just because someone doesn’t splash “Look at me and how cool and powerful I am!” doesn’t mean they should be ignored.  In fact one of my favorite Twitter friends had NO idea I do website marketing until yesterday.  Some business coaches make be shocked and horrified, but I think it’s proof that I’m building honest friendships with real people and leveraging the right part of me with the right people.  (She knows about my premarital site and has agreed to do a cool Q&A for it, as that part of me is where I wanted to connect with her professionally.)  I’m not a one-note kind of person, nor are you!  Don’t box yourself in when you engage with people.  You’re not just a therapist, but a fellow citizen, a hobbyist of something, an advocate for a variety of issues.  On Twitter I’m a mom, Minnesotan, therapist-to-be, mental health advocate, marketing fan, entrepreneur, marriage advocate, health care and social media discussion fan, and more.

Step Number Three: OK, so now you’re authentically (such a tiresomely over used word, I apologize!) building followers and people to follow.  Now you’ve got to start engaging!  Compliment something they said or their website, express your shared passion, link to a cool article on their website, or even just respond to simple banter they Tweet about.  The problem with Twitter is there are a lot of people talking which makes you think you should talk.  But the best talkers are actually ENGAGING, not one-way talking.  If you go to my Twitter account you’re very likely to see the great majority of my Tweets being engaging-with-others.  What you then don’t necessarily see are the Direct Messaging, Facebook friending, emailing, etc that often goes on when people make a connection. My favorite marketing guy, @unmarketing, Tweeted 10,000 times before he ever self-promoted.  The dream ratio in my mind is about 75% engaging with others to 25% sharing your own stuff.  But be careful – if someone looks at your Tweets and see’s all RT @ they may wonder if you have your own voice.  Remember a lot of us follow the same person, so RT too much and it just gets annoying to see the same Tweet 100 times a day.

I’ll stop here so you can digest the above and begin to Tweet the way I believe innovators Tweet.  I could talk at length about the cool things that have come of my Twitter use, but at its core, it starts with the above three steps.  You can’t skip those steps and be innovative.  Real innovation is not always public, shouting aloud how cool you are, or even forcing everyone to know you are doing innovative stuff.  I think of my innovative mind as more of a slithering, slow build, then pouncing on an idea and seeing where it takes me.   I have a Twitter training I’m developing so please sign up for my mailing list to get first dibs on a great price when it comes out!

Awesome News for Therapists and Social Media

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)

Twitter Tip: Following vs Listing Someone

**WARNING** this blog post assumes SOME knowledge of Twitter.  If you’ve never done Twitter, I am not writing this as a tutorial for you.  Please feel free to read it but know that I am aware of the huge gap between what you don’t know and what you need to know to even understand this blog post.

As I grow my second Twitter account (the first being @thefirstdance)  I’ve been more intentional about what I “do” with people who 1) follow me first, 2) I follow because I knew them pre-Twitter, 3) follow because they appear in my recommended list or I saw them from a retweet.  It is very useful to know the differences and benefits of following vs listing (or both!) It is making my Twitter experience on @MarriageKids way more fun, time-efficient, strategic, and sanity-saving.

If you FOLLOW someone on Twitter:

Everything they say, including most of their banter with their friends, shows up in your “Twitter stream.”  These are your overall people you want to read and build a connection with.  Your entire Twitter steam fills with their stuff and for most people they maybe send a few tweets a day and it’s not a big deal.  Some people however, don’t know how to Tweet (may be as high as 80-90% of the people you follow) so they ONLY get on Twitter once, for 30 minutes, and blast the fool out of your Twitter stream by replying to everyone, posting every single bit of news they find fascinating that day, or chose to give you as many random quotes as humanly possible.  You thought you were reading a bit from a lot of people and all the sudden you are inundated with the Clueless One. This is where the Rubber Meets the Twitter Road, so to speak.  You have to decide whether your annoyance or desire to connect with that person is higher.  Or perhaps you can gently tell them the point of Twitter is not to Tweet 15 random quotes in a row.  Or you can chose to build up your tolerance and patient Zen-like stance towards the world and give them a few days/weeks/months to Get A Clue. Otherwise, unfollow!  (And the beauty of Twitter is there are plenty of people to connect with, so if I, or anyone else, annoys the crap out of you, by all means, unfollow.  Diversity of personality and Twitter-interest is naturally going to mean people share the same profession but collide.)

The other thing that happens is people connect (gasp, what a concept!) on Twitter through a hash tag.  What this does is allows everyone interested in that topic to read and join in by simply Tweeting and putting in the hash tag.  One of my favorites is the #mhsm which is the mental health social media hash tag, a weekly conversation among a wide variety of people on Twitter.  This is great for you but if you’re following your neighbor in a different industry, you may get annoyed at her banter about industrial parts for farm machinery, should that be a “live Tweet chat” she is participating in.  It is easier, however, to forgive her constant Tweets because you recognize she’s actually using Twitter the right way…which is, building connections and being social.  And those chats usually only run an hour.

The huge benefit to following someone is they can Direct Message you.  Often you can be quippier, more controversial, or more personal in direct messages than you might be to your entire Twitter list.  Note: STOP auto-direct messaging new followers. PLEASE.  For the love of God, it’s annoying and ridiculous considering most of your followers don’t live nearby, aren’t clients or ever going to be customers.  They are your PEERS wanting to see what you to, connect, and share in PEER-related ideas.  If I wanted an automatic communication from you I’d sign up for your newsletter!

So why would you not follow someone?

There are quite a few groups that I have chosen not to follow but are listing. These include: marketing people who talk a lot and I don’t want to listen to their banter.  Another big one are mental health organizations who are really bad about just being a stream of blog links (sorry, Twitter is NOT another blog…it’s about engagement.)  I don’t want those mental health orgs to show up with 10 links to news in my Twitter stream.  (Annoyance and lack of Zen-patience win!)   And there are also therapists and other folks of interest who do NOT get how to use Twitter so I chose to unfollow them but list them so should I want to see what they’re saying I can go to the list they’re in.  This is perhaps limbo – I want to connect but they don’t know how to connect so instead of losing them forever, I’ll put them in a list in case I eventually see they start engaging…then I’ll follow them.  And there are others, like local Twitter accounts that, when I want to see the “local stuff”, I can just GO to that list rather than have the latest soup menu from Panera show up on my Twitter stream.  (There is no wrong/right way to do lists.)

The other nice thing about a list is you can categorize your interests. Mine include the people who I generally say are about “the business of therapy” as well as the marketing people, money people (I’m fascinated by the psychology of money), Minnesota people (I’m newly connecting with great local folks), funny people (where I would put celebrities and others who crack me up), mental health orgs, therapists, survivors (mental health survivors who Tweet), parenting (topic of parenting, from lay journalists who deal with kid stuff to therapists who ONLY focus on parenting and parent educator types). I may split the therapy folks out some day.  I could easily have a therapists-sexuality, therapists-kids, therapists-MFT’s (since I’m applying to grad school for MFT this winter.)  Right now my list of people I follow is about 400 so already it would be time consuming to go through everyone and relist them.  (See how it’s useful to do it at the start?)  Keep in mind you can only have 20 lists so be careful.  Also be aware others can see your lists.  I am an extrovert but get embarrassing going into who lists me, so I rarely do.  When I have, it’s either normal stuff, or sometimes fun ones like “Go-Getters.”  That’s a fun list to be part of!!  Just don’t have a list “People I want to Schmooze” because, well, they can see that.

With a list I can immediate hone in on an area and catch up with people.  Lists will NOT display Tweets, usually, that start with @’s to people which is fabulous since to do Twitter the right way you’re @’ing people a lot more than talking to everyone who follows you. This hones down these people to simply what they’re sharing to everyone.

I will generally follow AND list people as a matter of seeing my latest followers or adding new followers.

A lot more topics to come for those interested… Twitter is a huge topic and I have a big, fun post on the amazing, real connections I’ve made and real world benefits to those connections.

Twitter Successes and Uses for Therapists

I’ve asked on Twitter but will ask here as well. If you have a few minutes to donate to helping fellow therapists shoot me an email at info [at] elizabethdohertythomas […dot…com] and I’ll email you the simple questions that I’d love your answers to.

In the meantime, as I craft this big blog post, which may end up being a webpage article or if it gets too big and time consuming, I may create an e-book and charge a small amount.  (Hint: if you share your wisdom you get the final product even if it ends up being an e-book.)   I want you, for those on Twitter, to see how ENGAGED you are on Twitter. By engagement I mean how much do you @ people, RT people, not how often you blather on with a random quote, or link to your own stuff. Twitter is about engagement and I’m going to share what I believe are REALLY fun, interesting stories and connections I’ve been able to build. All of that in the hopes of helping you see the Twitter potential. And as I crabbed about a few posts back, Twitter and social media are for the most part NOT about getting clients. And yet there are many reasons to do social media, depending on your personality and patience level.

This may take a while because, well, a lot of people want to see their stats but go to tweetstats.com and see your stats.  I am very pleased that 75% of my Tweets are talking to people or retweeting what I found interesting from someone else.  It means that I’m learning how to stop talking AT people and talk WITH people, which is the entire POINT of Twitter.  And I can tell you that the numbers of followers has almost no bearing on your success.  I have 2,400+ followers on @TheFirstDance and I can go weeks without any engagement, gain followers, and get nothing for it.  But my new account, @MarriageKids has just 230 or so followers so far (just started in July) and I have a lot of fun.

New Twitter account

Finally I have set up a Twitter account separate from my corporate identity on @TheFirstDance

It took a lot of work because I have a very generic name and on Twitter it helps to have something easy to remember and spell but…isn’t already taken!  A few good options were taken but by someone who had 3 tweets a year ago and nothing since.  Grr!  Ultimately, of all my areas of interest, Marriage and Kids will never go away so I combined those two names for an easy to remember name.

Please join me on my new account where it’s ME, not just “me as The First Dance.”  All things mental health and marriage education stuff plus some fun and humor over at: MarriageKids on Twitter.

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