Learn to use Instagram for your therapy practice - it can become a great tool that wins you steady leads
Instagram has more than 1 billion active monthly users, with nearly 150 million in the U.S. The demographics are nearly evenly split between males and females, and an average user spends 30 minutes per day browsing using their Instagram app. Because of this, more and more private practitioners are becoming interested in Instagram marketing for therapists. In this article, we'll show you how you can set up Instagram for your therapy practice and how to avoid some common Instagram marketing mistakes:
1. Create an Instagram business profile
The first thing you should do is create a business profile on Instagram. This gives you access to more analytics and insights about your audience than a personal account. With these insights, you get to see when your followers are most active, which posts engage, and a lot of other valuable goodies that can help you further develop your Instagram therapy practice profile.
2. Create an Instagram marketing strategy
As with any marketing activity, Instagram marketing for therapists requires a strategy with goals and metrics to work. This may sound difficult and challenging, but it doesn’t have to be. Ask yourself: who am I producing content for and why? Do I know my potential client’s most pressing questions, needs, concerns, and worries? Do I know what kind of content they are interested in? Find out how often you should share images, when your target audience is most active, how often you should post or create stories, and which topics work best for the therapy services you provide. Make sure your posts contain an authentic tone so that you can start building genuine connections with your followers. Give other followers a shoutout every now and then, and feel free to ask for one back. The more you prepare your Instagram marketing strategy, the easier it will be to see results.
3. Write a great therapist Instagram bio
You only have seconds to make an impression, so when it comes to your therapy practice Instagram bio, you need to be extra concise. This is especially important since your Instagram therapy practice profile will only show a portion of your bio and people will need to click "more" if they want to read the entire thing. Therefore, the first two lines of your bio should entice visitors to click on the "more" option, while giving an insight into who you are and what you are already doing in the first two lines. Make sure that your @username is your actual name or therapy practice name. This means that you can use your Instagram username and first lines of your bio to quickly let people know what your profession is and/or add some of your magic keywords. If we take our own account as an example, our username is @sparktribemp, and our bio reads "Marketing that sparks demand and generates profitable growth. Based in Calgary, serving Canada and the US." This describes some of our keywords and if anyone is searching for marketing on Instagram we might come up with that search. And we include our service areas, so potential clients know if we cover where they are located.
4. Follow others on Instagram and be active
The big caveat here - be careful to observe patient confidentiality and never follow your clients, or potential clients, and do not offer health advice on social media. Consult HIPAA and PIPEDA guidelines for more information before you start. A safe bet is to follow other psychology practitioners and wellness providers in the same category as yourself and be active in liking their posts. It's important that you engage with your Instagram followers if people commented or followed you, so visit the Instagram app daily so that you have the opportunity to promptly respond to your comments. This could have a positive effect on the Instagram algorithm, and lead to you becoming more visible. It's best to respond to your comments within a day at the most. So be active, ask questions, comment and engage in conversation. In this way, you get both valuable information about your target group and at the same time build your therapy practice Instagram presence and improve the awareness of your brand - and over time, this will be reflected in an increase in the number of your leads and thus in new client bookings.
5. Use the correct Instagram hashtags
Hashtags are a very important part of Instagram marketing. You can use them to organize and promote your therapy practice, and if you do it correctly, potential clients who are interested in your services will be able to find you easily. Don't ignore hashtags - they're a way for potential clients to find you and track your posts. Hashtags must be short, relevant, and easy to search. Look for the hashtags that are popular in your psychology or therapy practice category and use them in your posts. You can add a maximum of 30 hashtags to one Instagram post, but doing it incorrectly can actually harm your business. In earlier days, it was an effective strategy to spam every image posted with as many hashtags as you could fit. Today, Instagram penalizes accounts for using popular, but irrelevant hashtags.
6. Change your Instagram profile link regularly
Unlike other social media platforms, Instagram doesn't allow users to include links inside their posts. The only place where a link is allowed on Instagram is in the profile - a big hindrance since it's a huge marketing advantage to drive visitors to your website to further them in the consideration funnel. A way to get around this is to regularly change your Instagram profile link. For example, if you want to drive visits to a new blog article on your website, change your Instagram profile link to the article link, then publish your Instagram post with a teaser about the article and ask followers to click your Instagram profile link to read more. As an alternative to changing your profile link, you can also look into a service like Linktree.
7. Remember quality over quantity
Instagram today is characterized by carefully curated and edited images. Therefore, your therapy practice Instagram images should be well thought out before they are published, and should be published regularly. Still, it's important not to spam your followers with too much of a good thing. Find a golden mean - most therapists post something a few times a week, and some every day. Test yourself and find a pace you and your followers are comfortable with. Don't publish just to publish!
8. Produce content that interests your target audience
If you only post general "inspirational" images, or worse, completely random pictures that don't follow any strategy, your therapy practice won’t get much out of Instagram. Instagram is about producing genuinely value-added and interesting content for selected audiences. Because of this, it can be tricky to figure out what to post, especially if you don't have a marketing background. When planning your Instagram content, consider what challenges your potential customer has. How could you help them? What are the most common questions you get from them? Always keep these questions in mind when making content: what added value does this content bring to its reader, and your potential patients?
9. Use Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories are highly-engaging and will give your therapy practice the opportunity to be more playful and show those who follow you what happens behind the scenes. While you should be a little polished in the feed, in Stories you can post more "real" photos and videos that capture moments worth sharing. This is also a great place to get to know those who follow you better. You can have polls, ask questions and collect data that can prove very valuable for further marketing on Instagram. If you find yourself with many followers who watch your Stories, but few who watch the feed, use Stories to remind people that you have a new post, and encourage people to take a look!
10. Commit to a regular Instagram posting schedule
This is a roadblock for many therapists. Social media marketing, in general, can be quite time-consuming, and this is especially true with Instagram, where each post image needs to be carefully curated and designed, and engagement followed up on in a short timeframe. It's a good idea to prepare an Instagram content calendar and have at least 1 month of prepared posts that can be scheduled in a tool like Hootsuite, or Buffer. An idle Instagram account can have a negative effect on SEO, and be counter-productive to your marketing strategy, but regular posting and engagement is simply not a reality for some busy therapists. If you find yourself in this boat, hiring a social media specialist, or outsourcing your Instagram posting to a marketing agency is a good idea.
Instagram marketing for therapists, in summary
Instagram marketing requires time and effort, but when done correctly and consistently, it's a very cost-effective way to promote your therapy practice, differentiate yourself from other therapists, and gently guide your followers to become your clients. We hope that the above tips get you well on your way to marketing your therapy practice on Instagram. If you need any help with getting started, let us know! We're experts in Instagram marketing and offer complete marketing plans for therapy practitioners and psychologists in Canada and the U.S. Curious if our marketing services would be a good fit? Contact us. 🙂
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