Ah, social media! It seems people either love it, hate it, or a mix of both. But regardless of how you feel about platforms like Facebook and Instagram, one truth remains self-evident: they are not going away any time soon.

If you have sworn off social media as a professional time-suck and ethical minefield, it might be time to reconsider. Seventy percent of American adults are on at least one social media platform, and therapists are increasingly using social media to network with other professionals, connect with potential clients, and raise mental health awareness. Here are 7 tips to help you leverage social media to benefit your clients and your practice:

Define your goals

What do you want to gain from social media? Is it increasing your client base, sharing helpful information with clients, professional development? Knowing what you hope to achieve with your social network will help guide you to the right platforms and content.

Choose your platform(s)

Depending on your goals, preferences, and target audience, you might find certain platforms more useful than others. For example, Instagram is best for visual content like eye-catching graphics or short videos. TikTok tends to be more popular among adolescents and young adults. And Belongly allows you to publish articles, join professional groups, and access educational resources specifically for therapists.

Start small but keep it consistent

Particularly when you are still getting your social media “sea legs,” you’ll want to start with one or two platforms and then decide if and when to expand. You can use a social media management tool like HootSuite to monitor how your posts are performing, track trends, and even schedule future posts to save time. Speaking of time, you will want to set some aside (ideally, daily) to post, comment, and respond, as consistency is key when it comes to social media.

Stay professional

Social media can help therapists appear more relatable and human, effectively demystifying the therapeutic process. However, get too human, and you may come across as unprofessional. Make sure your posts are in line with your brand and focus on universal versus personal struggles. Prioritize facts over opinions. And last but not least, create a social media policy and review it with your clients regularly.

Use disclaimers

More and more young people are turning to TikTok for mental health information, advice, and even diagnoses. For this reason, many therapists attach disclaimers to their posts specifying that their content is intended for educational purposes only and should not be a replacement for therapy. Similarly, therapists should avoid providing clinical recommendations on social media, as this could constitute a therapeutic contract without informed consent, which is unethical.

The importance of being eye-catching

Like it or not, we live in an attention economy, in which a myriad of things constantly vie for our focus. Social media monetizes this phenomenon with likes, followers, and targeted advertising. In order to catch the attention of prospective clients and referral sources, you will need posts with eye-catching images, graphics, and/or catchy hashtags. Otherwise, there is a chance that your content will be overlooked.

Ignore the haters

No matter how much consideration you give your posts, there will be those who disagree with or dislike what you have to say. Prepare for negative comments, but don’t focus on them. Invest your time and energy in responding to the “likers” as opposed to the haters.


Whether you are looking to grow your practice, network with other therapists, or challenge the stigma surrounding mental health and therapy, social media is a powerful tool. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram promote your brand while establishing you as a thought leader in your field of expertise. Belongly’s groups, blog, and webinars allow you to share information with like-minded colleagues and get referrals for your practice. And TikTok and YouTube can help you connect with a younger clientele. Who knows, you might even shift towards the “love” end of the social media love-hate spectrum!

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About the Author: Belongly
The community for mental health professionals. A free, secure space for mental health professionals to collaborate with and meet new colleagues, support each other through referrals and stay connected to a trusted network of peers.

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