How can you use social media to make a positive impact?

The good news is that social media does have its benefits and it can be put to good use. It can even be used to address and, hopefully, reverse the very issues it created in the first place. All we need to do is use it right.

We, the mental health practitioners, therapists, and counsellors. We, the wellness professionals, life coaches, and mental health first aiders. We, the best of listeners and the advocates of change. We can help – and while it sounds unlikely, social media is a great way to do it.

Here’s how:

Start positive conversations

Stigma and shame are still the biggest blockers when it comes to mental health, with many people of all ages still hesitant to voluntarily share their stories or ask for help. It can therefore be incredibly liberating and encouraging for these people to see open and honest conversations being started and engaged with by influencers and ordinary, everyday people on social media.

You can start your own conversations about relevant and important topics that align with your own goals and services. Keep an eye out for current and trending hashtags that relate to the messages and sentiments you want to share, as using these in your posts can help people find your conversations more easily.

Pick a topic and get a positive conversation started, whether it’s on Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, or any relevant platform you choose. It can help to share your own stories and experiences to get the topic moving, and you can encourage people to comment on, reply to and share the conversation to expand its reach.

Try making a regular spot out of your conversation starters if you can. Maybe it’s once a week, or once a month, and you pick a new topic to talk about each time. Give it a name and an identity too if you can. It’s all about consistency, as this will eventually create a reliable pattern of content that people can look out for and come back to when they need it.

Extra tip: You could reach out to other key influential people in your field, whether it’s a specific mental health topic, fitness, and health, or general wellness, and ask them to share and join in the conversation. This can help enormously with reach, ensuring more people are exposed to the positive messages and healthy conversations you are starting.

Events and meetups

Granted, given the current climate and an ongoing pandemic, physical meetups are still largely on hold for the time being. However, virtual events and meetups can still have a positive effect and generate plenty of positive energy around the topics you choose. Social media platforms such as Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook are ideal places to generate awareness and excitement around your events, invite people to join in and even host the event itself.

There’s also no harm in looking further ahead and planning physical meetups and events when pandemic restrictions are eventually lifted. We humans, as we mentioned earlier, are highly social creatures who crave interaction and positive experiences. By planning physical events we can look to replace the validation people receive through social media with validation from real-life encounters, a big step that we hopefully generated the trust and confidence for through our earlier conversation-starter campaigns.

Events don’t need to be scary things to organise, nor do they need to be especially advanced or expensive. It can be something as simple as a hired space for coffees and conversations, or it can be a series of physical talks, group yoga sessions, craft sessions, or even a walk. The key goal is to get people interacting and engaging in meaningful encounters beyond their social media accounts.

Offer and promote your services

If you’re reading this post, the odds are that you have something positive and beneficial to offer the world. Whether you’re a trained therapist, a life coach, a yoga instructor, or simply somebody with experiences and advice to share, social media is the perfect place to offer these services out to those who may need them.

It’s about letting people know you are there to help, educating them on how your service works, what it offers and what they might get out of it. You could ask previous clients if they wouldn’t mind sharing their story or a testimonial to highlight the impact your help has had on their experience. These make ideal pieces of content to share on your social media channels and generate awareness of what you can offer.

Offering your services on social media can be done organically (just using your own regular posting tools) or through paid social media advertising (this is relatively inexpensive, easy to target to specific social groups, and can generate a much wider reach). Organic is great if you already have plenty of followers and engagement on your social media channels and posts, while paid options are a good way to get instant reach if you’re just starting out in your field. Most social media platforms have their own built-in advertising management tools on their business account setups, and they’re all packed with advice and guidance on how to get started.

Extra tip: Once again, hashtags can be incredibly useful tools here as they can help you reach the right people with your services. Use this hashtag generator to enter some keywords related to your services, and it will show you related hashtags you could use in your posts.

Share body-positive, realistic self-care tips

Social media is perfectly built for sharing snippets of easily digestible content such as self-care tips. They’re compact, easy to absorb, and – most importantly – easy for people to share far and wide. Sharing content like this gives people the opportunity to learn something new and apply something positive and tangible to their lives straight away.

The key to making these work is to ensure they are directly actionable tips, as opposed to wistful quotes or ideals. It could be a tried-and-tested method for aiding sleep, a myth-busting fact to combat negative body image, a new yoga pose to try, or even simply a link to a useful resource you have discovered (or created).

Whatever form they take, these tips are a great way to fill people’s social media feeds with positive influences, realistic goals, and accurate facts they can rely on –  a much-needed antidote to the misinformation, negativity, and unrealistic expectations we (and young people in particular) are exposed to every day.

Listen.

One of the best things we can use our social media channels for is listening. As wellness practitioners and generally caring folk, it’s one of our strongest natural talents, and one we can put to good use to educate ourselves and identify people who need our help the most.

Again, hashtags are great for this. Keep an eye out for posts using hashtags that ask for help or mention topics that align with your services and expertise. Reaching out to these people, whether it’s to offer services, give advice, invite them to an event, or even just to lend an empathetic ear, could make all the difference to one person’s day.

Just as importantly, we can use social media to keep up to date with new trending topics, data, reports, research and discover other opportunities for our own ongoing education. This form of listening is just as useful, as it enables us to offer up-to-the-minute advice and guidance for our followers, and keep our topics of conversation relevant to what’s going on in people’s worlds.

But, who helps the helpers?

Anyone who works in the mental health and wellness arena knows it can be a challenging and often relentless task, though incredibly rewarding. The good news is that there is always someone out there whose goal is to help the helpers and care for the carers. In this case, that “someone” is us, right here at Design Wellness.

We specialise in building and hosting beautiful, affordable websites for anyone operating in the mental health and wellness space, whether you’re an established organisation or just starting on a solo venture. We can help you with everything from creating a strong brand identity to building and launching your professional website and even setting up your social media accounts.

With this strong foundation, you can begin to build the trust and confidence your service needs to start addressing those key mental health issues via your social media channels and starting those all-important conversations. We’ll provide all the guidance, help, and advice you need to get the best possible start with your website, giving you the headspace to focus on what you do best.

Want to know a little more?

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Happy blogging!
Graham