Online Social Networking with Counseling Clients: Six “Facebooking” Rules

I have profiles on Youtube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg, Reddit, Technorati, Ning, Squidoo, XING, Yahoo Answers, MySpace, Yedda, Furl, Blogger, WordPress, StumbleUpon,, Yelp, Knol, Facebook, Orkut, Foursquare, and Skype… to name a few.

Most of these accounts I hardly use. Several I’ve been on once to create the account and only remember them when I receive email newsletters, which I unceremoniously delete. And, now that I’m thinking of it, a few of the above sites might be defunct by now.

Students and colleagues have been finding me online for several years, so I’m used to getting the occasional “friend request” from someone I have taught or worked with. However, more and more often I am receiving social networking requests from clients—either my own, or from clients of other providers. This poses some clinical and ethical considerations.

Read Facebook Counseling Article

Marketing a Counseling Practice: Don’t Censor Your Fans!

Hi Readers!

I’m really excited to write this article, which is going to talk briefly about what not to do after you have done the hard work of creating a “raving fan” of your counseling practice.

First, Remember. Getting Raving Fans is the Goal!

In a previous post we talked about how you need to make a great impression on a client to turn him or her into a raving fan. You need to go above and beyond their expectations, provide outstanding service and care, and make for them a “remarkable” experience that they can’t help but to tell their friends about.

Once you accomplish this, and you have clients who are talking about you, writing about you, singing about you, etc., there is something very important you need to do. Ready? This is what you need to do: Stay Out of Their Way! It took a lot of fuel to get that car moving… don’t hit the brakes!

In fact, the only reason you should intervene, is to help (or incentivize) your fans to continue talking about (and promoting) your counseling service.

Isn’t This Common Sense? Don’t Quiet your Cheerleaders?

This seems like common sense, right? Maybe not—companies are making mistakes left and right when it comes to trying to manage their fans. They don’t know when to let go and let their customers spread the word about them, and generate business for them.

It can be difficult for companies to give up that control! And it can feel scary to have persons talking about your business. For sure, your customers won’t market your counseling practice the way you market your counseling practice. They will do it their way.

Your client might post about you in chat rooms. She might blog about her counseling sessions. She might mention that you wore an ugly sweater on Wednesday (my clients have told their friends that I wear brightly colored socks. Not exactly what my marketing message is, but I’ll take it! Obviously, I made an impression, and it’s true! My dress socks are yellow, green, red, light blue, and even pink!).

If your customer (or client / patient) is speaking about his or her experience with your brand / service – don’t censor this! Learn to get comfortable being reviewed (even if it’s mixed. Even if it’s a negative review). And learn to love your clients’ creative and unorthodox methods of spreading the word about your product (which is an exceptional counseling practice, right?).

A Real-Life Example of What Not to Do

I have an example of a company that just this week (Black Friday Week, even!) contacted me to ask me to remove a blog post I wrote that promoted their company. Guys, again. Don’t ever do this!

Here’s the email:


Hi Anthony! I hope this email finds you well. I was doing some

searching on the internet and noticed you posted up our entire Black

Friday email on your wordpress blog

This was a special offer sent out only to our previous customers, and

not intended to be posted up for the public to see. I would appreciate

it if you removed the coupon code and email entirely.  Thanks so much

and please let me know if you have any other questions.

[Name Removed]



[Company Name Removed]


This is a polite email, for sure… but still, it’s the opposite message you want to send to your fans. I had been promoting “Company X” in my writing, speaking, and consulting for some time. Recently, I took an email they sent me about a sale, and posted it so that my readers (you!) could know about it–helping my readers get a deal, and “Company X” get more sales! Sounds good right? Not to the marketing department at “Company X” … how unfortunate! How backwards!

More Articles on Marketing a Counseling Practice

I’m going to be writing on this topic more, for sure. However, there are a few books available that talk about viral marketing, and creating Raving Fans, that I would recommend.

  1. What Would Google Do? by Jeff Jarvis
  2. Raving Fans by Ken Blanchard
  3. The Gift Economy by Gary Vaynerchuk
  4. The Referral Generator by John Jantsch

Thanks for reading. If you’re looking for help building a counseling practice, check out our innovative practice building service at, and be well! – Dr. Anthony Centore