What Every Counselor Should Know About Facebook Page Privacy Options

If you’re a counselor in this generation, you’ve had concerns about Facebook. What if my client friends me?  What if my client sends me a message on Facebook?  In other words, how can you protect both your privacy and theirs? Facebook isn’t a secure medium for any client to contact their therapist. And it can risk exposure for you as well. You may well worry about your client stumbling across pictures of your kids. Or seeing a political post you made and getting offended. It’s good boundaries to keep your professional and your personal life separate.
But does that mean you can’t advertise or market your counseling business on Facebook?
Not at all. Facebook has layers. Your private, personal Facebook profile is one of those layers. In this layer, you might see elderly relatives posting conversations in all caps on your wall. But you shouldn’t talk to clients there. You might reconnect with your old classmates from high school. But it’s not a place to advertise your counseling business.  I don’t suggest marketing or client contact through a private Facebook profile.  But there is another layer. That layer is your Facebook Page (also known as a Fan Page or a Business Page.) A Facebook Page is different than your profile on several counts. The biggest difference is because the Facebook Page represents your business, not you personally. Because of that, this is the ideal place to promote your counseling private practice.

What Every Counselor Should Know About Facebook Page Privacy Options

Please note: The below are options you can choose to take to control your businesses’ privacy on Facebook. Some of the more restrictive settings could impact your ability to market your practice as effectively as you would otherwise. It’s possible some of the more liberal options could open you up to more liability. I provide them to you so you understand all the options available to you, but it’s up to you to decide what is best for you and your business. 
 

What are my options? 

  1.  Control your availability for online interaction. “What if someone is in crisis and sends me a suicide threat?”  It’s scary thinking about getting a message from a client in crisis on social media. You can’t be available all the time! But there’s a simple fix for that. If you don’t want to receive messages through your Facebook Page, you don’t have to! Just go to “Settings” –> General settings –> Messages and select “People cannot contact my Page privately.” Now, no one can message you.  2.  Control your reviews. If you’re stressed about the possibility of getting a bad review and being unable to comment back, turn off your reviews feature at “Settings” –> General Settings –> Reviews. 3.   Control your wall. Wondering about what a casual visitor might post to your Page wall? Visit “Settings” –> General settings –> Visitor Posts to restrict others’ ability to post on your wall. You can disable all posts, or simply require moderation before a post is released to the public.  4.   Control your exposure. If anyone can tag your Page on Facebook, you may run into scenarios in which someone tags you in association with an unsavory Page or group. Then you’re associated with a brand you don’t want to be. The only way out is IF you happen to see it and untag yourself. This is not necessarily a huge risk. But if you want to prevent any mishaps, you have the option to go to “Settings” –> General settings –> Others Tagging This Page to change your settings.  5.      Control the trolls. Want to allow people to post on your Page, but have one or two people abusing the privilege? You can ban individual Facebook accounts by going to “Settings” –> People And Other Pages to remove negative commenters. 6.      Control the separation between personal and professional. When you post on your account with your personal profile, that exposes to your personal profile to viewing by clients or potential clients. Go to “Settings” –> Post Attribution to make sure your posts are posted by the Page, not your personal profile.   Some counselors feel their only option to protect their clients is to avoid social media marketing completely. The goal is worthy. But it’s not necessary to cut Facebook out altogether to achieve it! Instead, work with the privacy settings offered by Facebook. You can market your practice in a way that works for you!    social-network-76532_640

Comments on What Every Counselor Should Know About Facebook Page Privacy Options

  1. Kelly H says:

    Thanks for the ideas Stephanie – very helpful!

    1. Stephanie Adams, MA, LPC, MYOB Site Creator says:

      You’re welcome, Kelly! Glad they were useful. 🙂

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