As a newly pregnant, first time mum, I began my search for a private practice midwife with – to say the least – very wide eyes. After I was able to actually blink a couple of times, I started where I think pretty much any new mum starts: the internet. In my search, I experienced all of shock, horror, awe and delight before I settled on the midwife I now know and love (more on that in another post!). After my search was over, I decided it really shouldn’t have been as hard as it was to survey the midwives available to me. For all those midwives out there whose websites and social media pages I stalked – and frankly any practitioner whose job depends on working closely with people – here’s 4 things I’d like you to know about one new mum-to-be’s experience with the ‘online you.’
Your website is an extension of you: give me video!
Trying to find someone to take me through one of life’s biggest milestones was a deeply personal process. This person would be teaching me how to breastfeed, quelling my birthing anxieties and – not to mention – delivering my baby. What I found – or rather – didn’t find – really surprised me. Very few midwives had videos of themselves on their websites. Most of what I found on a any given website was a one or two paragraph bio and a photo (if I was lucky). I called a couple of midwifery offices to see what their process was in matching clients to the midwives in their practice. The advice I received was – ‘Once you have your initial trial appointment, go on our website and read through the bios of our team members and decide who you connect with most, and just let us know your first and second preference.’ Really? How do I ‘connect’ with somebody’s bio? It doesn’t matter how great your bio is, a video is one of the best ways to communicate your personality and style of care for your clients. The great thing about adding an ‘About You’ video to your website is that it’s one of the easiest videos to make. After all, you’re the expert! Tell me about yourself and all your passion and heart for why you do what you do in 2 minutes or less. (Stay tuned for how to make your website video awesome in our online course coming soon!)
Give me a window into your community: show me on social!
Being relatively new to Brisbane and becoming a parent for the first time, community is super important to me. I have no family living closer than a plane ride away and only a few friends who are new parents. A girl needs support! Social media presence was the number one influencer in my decision about a midwifery’s sense of community. After all, the services on their websites were promising a community of new mothers to bond with. But how does a potential client know what that community is really like? An active 2-way conversation on your social channels is a powerful way to show the world you have a connected, vibrant community. Are there photos of your most recent get-together? Are people engaging in conversation? Are they tagging their friends in your posts? When people come to your Facebook page, can they quickly gather that there is a sense of community there? Or is just one-way posting?
Impress me with your knowledge, smarty pants: blog my heart open!
Another key factor in my virtual search for a midwife was blogs. The midwife I ended up going with had a blog on their website, which appeared to be maintained by all of the midwives in the practice. Blog posts were about a range of topics – new pregnancy studies, events, birth announcements (how can you scroll passed photos of a newborn’s chubby cheeks?). A blog is one of the best ways to show off your thought leadership, expertise and your humanism all at once. From topics like staying fit during pregnancy, how to find a safe pregnancy massage, top baby items new parents shouldn’t go without, the content really doesn’t end! And if you’re part of a partnership or team, blogging is super manageable if you each do a post once every week or two.
Support me with recommended books, products and experts
Perhaps one of the quickest wins for your website is to add a Resources section. This can be as simple as a categorised list of links to books, best practices, or the websites of other practitioners you trust. What I loved about the midwife practice I ended up with was that they had links to books about pregnancy, childbirth, sleep training, and a range of topics that – as a newly pregnant first-time-mum, I was really thankful for. Having references on your site gives you credibility and shows you are connected and engaged in your field.
When I took the plunge and decided to go with my midwife, I felt like I was joining a personalised community of women who cared about the whole picture. The way they presented their business online made it clear to me that they had thought of doe-eyed, overwhelmed new mums like me. Before I had stepped foot in their office, I got a sense of calm, community and expertise. That’s what a new mum needs.