Welcome to the ultimate how-to guide for getting Speech-Language Pathologists (SLP) started with social media marketing (Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, etc.) today or help improve what you’re already doing.
You created an amazing speech therapy resource and you’re excited to share it with the world. Maybe you’ve started your own practice, or maybe you want to just share tidbits of what you’ve learned to inspire other Speech-Language Pathologists and your community.
Regardless of the reason, now you’re thinking, “What’s the best way to share my unique experiences and knowledge to support other Speech-Language Pathologists (SLPs) and my community?”
One of the best ways to promote and support yourself, your business, your work, as well as other Speech-Language Pathologists and your community is by using social media marketing— you know, marketing using Facebook, Twitter, and the like.
If you’re a Speech-Language Pathologist and not using social media to promote your speech therapy resources, speech knowledge, Speech-Language Pathologist services, and so on, you’re missing on the chance to support countless people.
Consider the following statistics from EdTechReview:
- 59% of schools say their students use social networking for educational purposes.
- 27% of schools have an online community for teachers and administrators.
You sharing your knowledge and services doesn’t just extend to other SLPs, consider and know that your work can benefit teachers, parents, and students.
Even if you offer a product or service in exchange for payment, there is a community out there that needs it, and you deserve to get paid for the value you provide.
SLPs, Social Media Marketing & This Article:
This article is an introduction to social media marketing for speech therapy resources — to get you started today or improve what you’re already doing— and is part of a series that will be developed to support SLPs across all their marketing needs.
Each section below can arguably have its own book written about how to use strategies and tactics effectively.
Our goal is to get all Speech-Language Pathologists going now, with a strong foundation.
Leo Morejon, a social media keynote speaker and professional with 15+ years of experience working with brands such as Oreo, Trident Gum, and The Estée Lauder Companies, shared his knowledge to help write this article.
Leo has always taught marketing at West Virginia University as well as Iowa State University.
And, the thinking and techniques here have/are/will be used on Speech Therapist Tools to promote resources that focus on such things as fluency practice, speech therapy resources for parents, or career development topics like the salary of a speech-language pathologist.
SLPs & Social Media Marketing Terms
First, let’s get familiar with some terms that will be useful for understanding and using this article:
- Social Platform: The platforms themselves; Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest are all social platforms.
- Social Channel/Handle/Account: This is a respective account you have on a platform. For instance, one social platform we are on is Facebook.com and our channel is https://www.facebook.com/SLPTools.
- Content/Post: The content you share on respective social platforms. This can include a Tweet, a Facebook post, a photo you share on Instagram, or a Pin you pin on Pinterest. It might include just plain text, images, links to resources, a mix of the aforementioned, and so on.
- Engagement: An action taken on your content/post. Most commonly these take for form of Liking, Re-Tweeting (RT), and Sharing of items, though they can include clicks, links and more.
- Organic Social Media: Any content you or action you take on a social platform that does not take the action of exchanging money to take that action. (More on Organic Social Media below.)
- Paid Social Media (Social Media Advertising): Any content you post that you then exchange money with the social platform in order to have them “boost” or amplify the content. You can this of this as an ad/advertisement vs. just “posting content.” Note: You can post something organically (for free), then decide to amplify it, and this would then go from “Organic” to “Paid.” (More Social Media Advertising on this below.)
- Speech Therapy Resource or “Resource:” Any material you create to support other SLPs, this includes everything from a worksheet to a full book, to a blog post or article on a website.
- If at any point you feel overwhelmed or feel things can be explained better in the article, please contact us.
What is Social Media Marketing?
Social media is a blanket term to define anywhere on the internet where people can be “social” — that is engage with one another. This includes and is certainly not limited to just Facebook. If the main use of the website is to engage with other people, it can be defined as social media or a social media network. Using this broader definition, you can include any website or feature of a website that includes capabilities such as:
- Direct Messaging: The ability to “instant message” or “private message” another user or a group of users on a platform.
- Commenting: The ability to comment on content posted, generally, this is a feature that also allows for specific or general discussions.
- Reacting: Reacting is the ability to show your feelings about something in a single click, this can be a “Heard” on Facebook or a “Like” on Linkedin.
Using this broader view of social media gives you power by opening up almost endless roads for you to discover and have an adventure on. From the comment section of your favorite blog to a forum/message board that you belong to, social media is everywhere and there ready to support you.
Social media marketing is the work of promoting and selling products or services using social media.
Speech-Language Pathologists can use social media marketing for many reasons:
- Promoting a Business or Service
- Personal Branding
- Career Development
- Connecting with Clients
- Sharing Speech Therapy Resources (free or for money)
Why does social media marketing work for Speech-Language Pathology?
You know why, especially as SLPs, you REALLY know why marketing speech therapy resources on social media works:
- We are social beings, that need connection and community. Social media provides that need for connection and community.
When it comes to your promoting your speech therapy resources, social media’s importance is based on the concept of “social proof.”
Social proof is a psychological and social phenomenon wherein people copy the actions of others in an attempt to undertake behavior in a given situation. The term was coined by Robert Cialdini in his 1984 book Influence, and the concept is also known as informational social influence.
Therefore, you sharing your speech therapy resources on social media, and allowing for others to be able to share and engage with your resources, adds credibility to and authority to your resources.
Is social media free for Speech-Language Pathologists?
No, social media is not free for anyone.
It’s a very common misconception that social media is free. Sure, you can sign up to most platforms without ever giving your credit card information — this does not mean it’s free. (While we can get into how platforms like Facebook are set up so that they don’t need any monetary exchange to get started, that’s a topic for another day.)
The focus for right now should be on your time. Your time has value, it’s worth money, it has a cost.
Each time you log in to an account, each time you create a new Facebook post or Tweet, it’s using up your time.
Another goal for this article is to make your time investment worthwhile to produce the best ROI (Return on Investment).
Return on Investment (ROI) is a performance measure used to evaluate the efficiency or profitability of an investment or compare the efficiency of a number of different investments. ROI tries to directly measure the amount of return on a particular investment, relative to the investment’s cost.
For the best success possible, you must also be open to monetary investments as well, and we will show you how the best invest your money so that it’s working for you and planting seeds that will grow.
How soon can I see a Return on Investment (ROI)?
The benefits of marketing speech therapy resources on social media begin right when you get started and results start today, tomorrow, 10 years from now.
Before you can measure your ROI, you need to define goals and measure those goals. Without this, you will not know if something working out not.
You might hear someone say, “I received 1,000 likes on my post,” and think wow, that’s amazingly great results.
We will cover an in-depth overview of goal setting and measurement in another article. For now, consider the following with respect to the above example.
- Do most other posts receive 1,000 Likes? If they get 10x that, then that’s not good at all.
- Your goal was to send people to your Teachers Pay Teachers account. There might have been 1,000 likes, but 1 click-through (the act of having someone click on your link and visit the desired webpage) to your account.
Regardless of your goals, you may not see results in your expected time frame, and this does not mean it’s not working. Remember:
- You need to be in it to win it.
- Overnight successes are often years in the making.
- Your goal can be simply to support others, and that can mean just a few people.
Overall, have intent and a goal in mind for when you get started. More importantly, just get started and the rest of the article will get you going today. Before we move on, here is a list of basic metrics to consider and be aware of when engaging in social media:
- Impressions: The total number of times content has a chance to been seen. If someone is scrolling their Facebook feed and your content was there (regardless of if they actually saw it or not), it will count as an impression. The more times anyone sees it, the higher the impression count.
- Reach: It’s like Impressions, however for “unique” views. Regardless of the chances someone has to see content, this metric represents a unique person and is only counted once. Therefore, if one person has the chance to see the content 10 or 100 times, they will only be counted once.
- Engagement Rate: The number of engagements (likes, clicks, and so on) someone takes on a post divided by reach/impressions/followers and multiplied by 100 to give a percentage. (Note: Engagements are defined differently per channel (For example, one might count clicks as an engagement and another might not). The same is true for what they divide engagements by (For example, one might divide by reach and the other by follower count.)
Engagement Rate might sound like a lot to consider so here’s the best recommendation to start with until you feel more comfortable working through different platforms:
(Likes + Comments + Shares) / Reach * 100
- Click-Through Rate (CTR): Usually more related to Social Media Advertising (where you define a final destination for people engaging with your post — a website, profile, etc.), this is the measurement of users that click on your own post and go to the respective destination.
- Cost-Per-Click (CPC): Related to the above CTR metric, this is the measurement of how much a click is costing you. If it’s $2.00, this means it’s costing you $2.00 every time someone clicks.
Whole books can and have been written on the measurement of social media, your main goal today is to just get started and have at least a very basic understanding of goals and metrics.
What social media accounts should Speech-Language Pathologists focus on?
The golden rule is to focus on the social media accounts that you can afford, based on time and energy, to operate and maintain properly. You of course can try the spray and pray approach — creating as many accounts and posting on all of them. But, this will not give you the best return on investment in the long term.
That said, it is wise to create accounts, so you have them when you need them and no one else can take your channel/username. You then just “park” them, meaning you just let them sit there with no activity. It isn’t a bad idea to add some basic profile details and link to other channels or website with one post or in your bio.
Start with considering your time and resources. You will need time to consistently:
- Create Content: Write text, source images, and so on, including the process of uploading and posting the content across channels.
- Engage: Like, comment, share, etc. other people’s content. Not engaging with other people’s content is a huge mistake — seems needless to say, but being social with others is key to having your content socialized with more. Some channels even give look at this as a metric to further share your content. On LinkedIn for example, the more you comment on others’ content, the better your content will perform.
- Report/Measure: Analyze what’s working, what’s not working, and most importantly — why. If you’re not collecting data and turning it into insights, you will do considerably worse and never reach your full potential.
All that said, if we had no choice and had to recommend platforms to begin with, or else, they would be:
- Facebook/Instagram: Simply because they are the most popular, and have a lot of options (from groups to direct messaging and so on).
- Pinterest: Popular for SLPs sharing resources and other materials.
- LinkedIn: SLPs must not avoid LinkedIn, it’s a great place to network — and networking is important for EVERYONE (even if you’re not in business) and even better today (2021) than ever before. (See: Business Networking is Alive)
- Reddit: Hello to the SLP subreddit. This is a great place to learn, support others, and grow together. It has over 20k members! Jump right in: https://www.reddit.com/r/slp/
We will cover Twitter and other social media platforms in future articles, the above is good to start with.
How do should a Speech-Language Pathologist manage their social media accounts?
Managing your accounts, which includes posting content, engaging, and so on, is going to be the biggest time and resources expenditure that you need to consider and work to optimize.
The biggest mistakes most do is to think they have to manage social media accounts natively (directly on the respective platform) or even themselves.
There are other ways you must consider:
- Content Management Tools: These are digital services that allow you to manage most of your social media accounts from one place, compared to logging into each and every single account, one by one, each time you want to do something.
- Getting Started: The below are some of the most popular tools and each has a free version to get you going. Picking the right one is based on you as an individual; which do you like using, does it support your channels, can you afford the upgrades in the future, and so on.
- Hootsuite: Great for managing most networks in one place and engaging — has a lot of different upgrades for when you’re ready.
- Sprout Social: Like Hootsuite, but it looks and feels (user experience) different. Of course, it has a few different features as well.
- Later.com: Fantastic for Instagram and Pinterest — also offers features for Twitter and Facebook.
If you do not want to use a tool for any reason, Hootsuite offers great templates to get you started on your social media marketing.
- Virtual Assistants (VAs): These are people, yes real human beings, you can hire to do the work for you. Virtual Assistants certainly exist and reside in the United States, while most commonly reside in places like India and the Philippines. Virtual Assistants may charge per hour or per project and hourly rates can range anywhere from $3–$100+ based on location, experience, technical knowledge, and other factors related to the Virtual Assistant.
- Getting Started: The below are websites you can use to discover and hire virtual assistants around the world.
- Fiverr: Easy to navigate and offers posting by VAs in the form of “gigs” (tasks) where people offer everything from copywriting to graphic design and more. You might go there to get quick help on one thing or another.
- Upwork: Focused more on overall projects vs. “gigs.” You might go here if you’re looking for support on a bigger project and for a long time frame.
The best thing you can do is build a relationship with VAs so they get to know you and you get to know them. Tim Ferriss (Writer, Entrepreneur, Podcaster…he does a lot), provides one of the best explanations as to why and how to use VAs in his book 4-Hour Workweek. This book can also show you how to better optimize and automate your Speech-Language Pathologist business and services. Highly, highly recommended.
Of course, many people do not have the money to pay others to support their work. If this is the case for you, you must use a free Content Management Tool to support your work.
In either case, Content Management Tools will be important, because you can provide the tool to your virtual assistant to monitor and support their work.
How should a Speech-Language Pathologist promote and grow their social media accounts?
Remember, the focus of this article is to get you started; whole books can be written on each topic below, so we’ve generalized it in the best possible way.
Each social platform requires its own unique strategies and tactics for optimal growth. Since this article is focused more on getting you started, I will cover some overlapping techniques you should apply across most platforms.
- Posting Content: Start creating content to post. Videos generally work better than images, and images work better than text. Get started by writing and planning all your Tweets, Posts, etc. ahead of time and scheduling in your Content Management Tool. (Your VA can support you with writing content and managing it.)
- Word of Mouth: Tell your friends, clients, brother, sister, cousin about your channels and activity when you’re talking to them.
- Emailing & Texting: Posted something new? Email and text the same people mentioned about, maybe just not your cousin, she was being weird the other day.
Engage: (Same as Above) Like, comment, share, etc. other people’s content. Not engaging on other people’s content is a huge mistake — seems needless to say, but being social with others is key to having your content socialized with more. Some channels even give look for this as a metric to further share your content. On LinkedIn for example, the more you comment on others’ content, the better your content will perform.
Report/Measure: (Same as Above) Analyze what’s working, what’s not working and most importantly — why. If you’re not collecting data and turning it to insights, you will do considerably worse and never reach your full potential.
What about hashtags? What are hashtags?
A word or phrase preceded by a hash sign (#), used on social media websites and applications, especially Twitter, to identify digital content on a specific topic.
Use them and use them well.
Quick Speech-Language Pathologist Hashtag Guide:
- Twitter: Use them, incorporate them into your post too.
- Instagram: 30 is the max and you should use them all. In the caption or first comment.
- LinkedIn: Use them.
- Facebook: Do not use them, they don’t help to meaningfully boost your content like in the other platforms.
Just Some Common SLP Hashtags Include:
#slp #slplife #schoolbasedslp #speechlanguagepathologist #speechtherapy #speechlanguagepathology #slplife #slpeeps #speechtherapist #education #language #speech
Organic Social Media vs. Paid Social Media
It’s vital for all Speech-Language Pathologists participating in social media marketing to understand this topic.
In case you missed the explanation of each, here they are again:
Organic Social Media: (Same as Above) Any content you or action you take on a social platform that does not take the action of exchanging money to take that action.
Paid Social Media (Social Media Advertising): (Same as Above) Any content you post that you then exchange money with the social platform in order to have them “boost” or amplify the content. You can this of this as an ad/advertisement vs. just “posting content.” Note: You can post something organically (for free), then decide to amplify it, and this would then go from “Organic” to “Paid.”
Note: You will need a business account on social platforms to take advantage of social media advertising features.
The wonderful things about Paid Social Media include:
- Specific targeting ability (Demographics (location, age, etc.) and Psychographics (lifestyle)
- Help ensure viewership and/or engagement of your content
- Ability to share content without posting it on your main organic feed
It’s important that Speech-Language Pathologists utilize organic and paid. Start with organic to get going, then venture into paid.
SLPS SHOULD NOT IGNORE PAID SOCIAL MEDIA.
It also doesn’t take a lot of money. You can get started with just $10 or less and reach a lot of people.
Not using paid social media is a guaranteed way to limit your growth, exposure, and support, because social networks limit the reach your organic content has more now than ever before and there are signs it’s only going to get worse.
A simple strategy to follow to:
- Post content organically
- Determine your average engagement rate across content
- Invest in advertising content that performs higher than your average
By doing this you will be better at spending your money by investing in the content you already know resonates with your audience.
Getting paid social media right may take some time and the most important thing is to
- Hypothesize — “I think that content with ABC will send people to my website because of XYZ.”
- Test— Experiment to prove or disprove your hypothesis.
- Learn — Review data and come to a conclusion.
- Optimize — Take learnings and make changes.
- Repeat — Start over again.
Here is an overview from some of the top social platforms on how to get started:
Jump right in. The most important thing is to just get started and focus on your intent to support others. Forget if you’re not doing it right or doing everything, just go, go, go.
The above is only a tiny piece into a few things related to social media marketing. If you have questions, need support, or just want to say hello to us or Leo Morejon, please do not hesitate to connect with us:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/SLPTools/
- Twitter: https://twitter.com/TherapistTools
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/speechtherapisttools/
- LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/company/speech-therapist-tools
- Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/SpeechTherapistTools/_created/
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCjAvDRwEq-oKWxQHZ55RXdA
- Email: https://speechtherapisttools.com/contact-us/