Quick Tip #1: The easiest way to start networking today
This first quick tip is how to best make use of this site – by participating in the “heart” of this network. Posting in the Denver Therapists Network Primary Group forum.
1) Click on Groups along the top of the browser. You can get to this on the left, under “My Account”, or along the upper right.
2) Click on the group “Denver Therapists Network Primary Group”.
3) Below the group name you will see you are automatically take to the “Forum”, which is where all the main content for the group resides.
4) Click on “New Topic”. Then add a “Title” and “Content”. The title would be the same as your email subject and the content will be the same as what you put in the body of your email. Note, you can post a response to existing threads instead of a new topic if for example an existing topic fits, i.e. the referrals topic.
5) Wait for responses. You will get emailed direct to your mailbox for every response.
It is that simple, the next tip I will discuss how to manage your email settings so you can optimize how and when you get emails.
Quick Tip #2: Customizing Your Experience – Email
Personally one of my top favorite things about this site is the ability to completely customize what email you have and don’t have sent to your personal email inbox. And once you have done it a couple times you will realize how easy it is to do again and again.
1) First, there are specific email settings that can be made for the general site (not specific to groups). This to me isn’t that big of a deal to change, but to do it is easy. Click on Settings – Notifications on the left, or Settings on the right (then notifications below). Then read through the options and customize.
2) But the real power in customizing your email settings comes in the groups. Every group you belong to has a different email setting (it is defined by the group owner when they setup the group). Click on Groups along the top of the browser, either on the left or right.
3) Once you click on this it shows all groups you currently are a member of below. Simply click on the Change button to the right of every group to change your email preferences – you will notice right next to the Change button your current group email status. Note it is slightly hidden in some groups behind the Leave Group button. If you can’t click on it skip to the next step to change. Once you click on change select your preference. My recommendation is picking either All Email (everything updated in the forum for the group will be emailed to you) or Daily Digest (at 4 PM every day you get an email with a summary of every forum post).
4) If you don’t change your preference above, simply click on the group and change it in that location by clicking on Change.
5) Now is the real fun and cool part. Change any specific topics in the forum to more specifically match your needs. Go to the Forum in the group (you find the Forum link below the Change button shown above). Then in the Forum simply “Mute” or “Follow” the topics that interest you. When you put your mouse over those buttons the site will show you what your current setting is, and what clicking it will change. But let me give you two examples. Let’s say you are on Daily Digest, but want to know immediately when someone posts a comment in the Referrals topic. Simply go to that topic and click on “Follow”. Or let’s say you are set to All Email and you want certain topics, like Support, to never be emailed to you. Simply go click on “Mute” next to that topic.
That is really it. And the great thing is you change this as you go. You see you get an email you don’t want, just logon and change it. When I first started testing the site my inbox was full of email, now I get a handful a day and the ones I get are the ones I want.
Quick Tip #3: How IS this website organized?
I understandably get some questions around the “architecture” of this website – specifically how it is organized. The reason this is such an important tip is to make best use of the site you need to understand where to go to find and post information. In Quick Tip 1 I outlined this but here I wanted to give more detail. This will be a bit longer than the other tips :).
Really we have 2 main communication or community components.
Site Activity, Home, or Wall – you can call it any one of these, but they are all really the same. This is like the wall in facebook where it shows a constant stream of what is going on all over the site, or in your specific group. You can also post right into any of these “streams” of content. This is where it gets confusing, at least to me, as for the most part you want to post in the forums in the groups and not in these activity streams or walls.
Forums – This is the easier part to explain. There is a forum in every group. These forums hold all kinds of topics and responses. These are meant for the long term retention of data for that specific group and also are meant to be managed in a way that you can personally customize what emails you get on the content in that group, like I covered in Quick Tip 2.
Let’s explain these further by stepping through it. But I put together a nice Mind Map which will really help you see it. Check it out by clicking here.
1) Go to the activity stream, or “Site Activity”, of the website.
2) Now scroll through and check out some of the content in the “stream”. There is some great, and important, data contained in this thread. ALL content, posted in ALL public groups is visible from this stream. You can see an example in the screenshot. So if you see something in here note that it can come from 2 places. Any public group, whether you are a member or not (meaning member of the group, this content is NOT visible to non-members of the website), and any information posted directly into this thread at the top.
3) Note on the screenshot above you can tell where the content is coming from and click on the links shown above. If you are not a member of the the public group you have to join to participate. The key thing to understand is this can be a good place to review data, but posting here is not as effective as it gets “lost” in the stream. You almost always want to use group forums, and a lot of the time the Denver Therapists Network Primary Group forum. NOTE: If you post right into this thread it shows up on your PUBLIC PROFILE. This becomes data that end users can see. This can be great, and VERY effective, but you don’t want to post in this thread if you are not prepared for anyone to see it. They will only see what you wrote directly into this – nothing from groups or forums. See below, this is identical to what a non-member will see when viewing my profile, but if they try to click on the View button they will get access denied.
4) Now go to the Denver Therapists Network Primary Group activity stream. Do this by clicking on Group along the top, like covered in Quick Tip 1. Then instead of clicking on Forum, click on Home.
5) Every group has it’s own stream as well, which you get to by clicking on Home under that group. Once again this is great to be able to see a snapshot of what is going on in the group, but posting into this is not real effective unless you really just want to put in something quick that you don’t expect responses for. Most content should go in the Forum, by clicking the link above.
I covered that more in Quick Tip 1, so you can scroll above to review that. The key takeaway is the heart of every group is the Forum, and that should be the primary way of communicating. The stream is more for quick access to data and what is going on. There are MANY groups on the site, and each group has an activity stream and forum in it. If these groups are “public”, which was defined by the owner that created it, then content posted in that group shows up in the activity stream for the whole site.
Once again be sure to check out the Mind Map as it covers this in a more graphical representation.
Quick Tip #4: Making use of all the great GROUPS
Now that you know how to use the main group to communicate with everyone, and you know how to completely customize what emails you get and when you get them, and you know the difference between the forum and the activity streams, it is time to make use of the other groups on the site. As of the writing of this there are 31 specialty groups!
1) Click on Therapists Resources → Groups.
2) Scroll down and you will see all the different groups you can join. You will notice there are groups that you can join simply by clicking on the “Join Group” button and other groups you can join by clicking on “Request Membership”.
3) When you can join without approval that means the group is a “Public” group. The content in this group is open to everyone that is a registered member of the site, but you still have to join to participate. When you request membership to a group that means it is a “Private” group. You need to wait until one of the group admins approves your request and all content posted in this group is only viewable by members of that group. See above, you can also see what groups you already belong to and what your email settings are.
4) That’s it! Start using the group, but remember the first thing you probably want to do is customize your email settings. See Quick Tip 1. Also remember the Home link under the group can be useful for reviewing posts, but you want to use the Forum of the group.
Interested in starting a new group? Check out this video and PDF to decide if a new group makes sense. Creating Groups – Scroll Down.
Quick Tip #5: Making Use of the Group Calendar
An underused feature of the groups to date, but something that can be very useful, is the group calendar. Every group has a calendar that anyone can post an upcoming workshop, training, seminar, get together or really whatever seems relevant to therapists in the network. Let’s take a closer look.
1) First, go to your groups from the dashboard (the area along the top). Remember you can find that link on the left or right.
2) Now go to the Denver Therapist Network Primary Group. But before you do that notice to the right that up to 10 upcoming events will be displayed on the right for this group. NOTE: This is only done for the primary group. For other groups you have to go to the calendar. So this is one reason why posting events in this main group is so useful – it will be visible in the side bar for all the therapists to see.
3) Once you have clicked on the group just click on the Calendar button.
4) Then just scroll down and create your event. If you put a location in make sure it is an address and test the Map link after you create the event.
5) That is it – now you can just look to the right and you will see your event scheduled (if it is in the next 10 events coming up). Also an email is sent to all therapists when you create an event and as long as this is created in the main group it will show up on the right for everyone as well.
Remember these events are for the therapists and clients can’t see them, but the next quick tip I will review how to create events like these for your prospective clients.
Quick Tip #6: Client Resources
In Quick Tip #5 I discussed how to setup events in the main group, but as you recall these are not visible to your clients and prospective clients. Many of these that you are sharing you might want to be visible to anyone, so this tip is about how to do that. Really it is pretty simple, but very important.
1) Go to the Client Resources page.
2) View the three different pages setup for client resources – Therapy Groups and Workshops, Book Reviews by Therapists and Online Resources and Links. Simply scroll to the bottom and add your group, workshop, resource, etc. Remember you have to be logged on. NOTE you want to reply at the bottom, not to any of the posts already present.
3) That is it. Over time this will have A LOT of value. What you will see is more and more posts here, which will gain more and more organic search traffic. The more it is used the better for everyone. And see below – remember, when a prospective client is looking at your post they can easily click on your name and see your photo, to get to your profile.
That is really it. You want an advanced tip let’s say you just posted a workshop. Now go to Site Activity and do a quick post on your profile, so your profile will show a link to that page.
Now check out my profile.
Of course this last part isn’t necessary, but it does bring a little more attention to current workshops and such. And overtime as this site builds in ranking and gets more traffic you might see this will help get new clients.