Addiction treatment is a very personal matter. In fact, Many individuals’ fears that their substance abuse might be exposed is an influential factor that drives them to full-blown addiction.

Even after years of sobriety, the perceived stigma surrounding past drug addiction keeps many from sharing their experiences.

This can present quite a challenge for addiction treatment centers hoping to expand their influence via social media channels. With the right foundation, however, your facility can take advantage of your social scope to attract new clients.

By creating a foundational presence, setting a positive tone, and actively engaging users with real help, you can create trust and admit more clients through social media marketing.

Create a Solid Foundation

Setting up social media profiles for your facility isn’t too difficult, and those with a moderate level of web expertise can set up a Facebook page or Twitter account without any major headaches. The real challenge is developing a community of loyal followers for your social profiles.

A common error comes just after the setup. Generally, the page owner is so excited to share all the wonderful links back to their treatment facility website, a flurry of self-promotion flies right out of the gate.

Share the Right Content

Sadly, this is about as far as most business profiles ever get in the social media sphere. Once those links are exhausted, the page owner has nothing of real value to offer, and consequently, no way to build the following for which those links are valuable.

A better option is to build a foundation of social content that offers value to followers, not just you.

A profile that only speaks of itself can be a turnoff for potential new followers, and becomes nothing more than advertising.

In contrast, sharing engaging related or third-party content is more likely to encourage sharing by your followers, and consequently bolster your following.

We have found at least a ten-to-one ratio of “other” versus “your own” content in the early stages of social media can make a huge impact in the social public’s perception of your page. In other words, for every ten posts you share, nine should be from other sources, and one from your own website.

Types of content to build a foundation

  • Industry Related Articles
  • Drug Treatment News
  • Recovering Blogger Posts
  • Inspirational Memes
Hashtags can help new users discover your posts, but use them wisely. They work better on some platforms (Twitter) than others (Facebook). Use them, but don’t abuse them.

Set the Tone

Once you have a solid foundation of relatable content, you’ll start to see followers engaging with Likes, Shares, Retweets, etc. How then, do you encourage those few followers to join in the conversation when rehab is such a personal topic?

In our work with addiction treatment facilities, we have found that presenting a page as a positive resource and safe place to share can break down reservations some may have about connecting to your profile.

Everyone is affected by substance abuse in some way. It may be the individual himself, a friend, spouse, relative or child. When addiction plays even a small part in your personal history, it leaves an indelible mark, connecting you to anyone with similar experiences.

By creating a page focused on the big picture of why your facility exists, more people are likely to say “Yes, I like this.”

Sharing inspirational memes is a great example. An engaging image with the words “On the other side of fear lies freedom,” means something in particular to an individual in the midst of recovery, but it also carries a broader message to which anyone who has endured and overcome fear can relate.
It’s a hopeful message that your followers will want to share with anyone they know facing difficult circumstances, including their connections considering rehab.

After all, your facility isn’t about drugs. It is about life, and your social media profiles should reflect that.

Quality addiction treatment offers every individual hope for a better life, restored relationships, a future filled with love, joy, and dreams. Those are the messages to which your social media followers will connect.

Engage in Conversation

The biggest mistake nearly every business makes on social media is merely creating a profile and waiting for the followers to roll in. Social media should be just that—social. Without any conversation, your treatment center cannot take advantage of the wonderful benefits social media offers, and you will not be able to build the trust your potential clients need to see when they discover your page.
Still Waiting

Opportunities for engagement vary between social media platforms. Actively contributing to a Recovering Addicts community is a great start for Google+, while Twitter might require you to search for tags related to recovery and respond to users already sharing their experiences.

Google+ Parents of Addicts Community

Google+ Parents of Addicts Community

You cannot limit your social reach to those who necessarily need your services right now. Often, it’s those who have already experienced the benefits of in-patient treatment and after care (even from another facility) who become cheerleaders for your message. These are the people who can connect your center to those who need treatment. This is the wonder of social networking!

Direct engagement is a necessity across all types of social networks. Be ready to respond immediately to any post comment, directly shared link, or private message. These are valuable opportunities to share links back to your site, or even immediate offers to help with a phone call.

By taking the right steps from the very beginning of your social media efforts, you have greater potential for long-term success, and this puts your profile in a great position for paid social promotion—the next step to exponentially increase your reach. Create a solid foundation presenting a trustworthy, safe presence for engaging conversation, and you will break down psychological barriers so more individuals will benefit from your social media offerings and discover your treatment facility.