5 Tips to Instagram Success
How to use imagery to market your practice.
Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS
Traditionally, written content in the form of blogs, patient stories, and articles has been a trusted way to promote our practices and our profession through social media platforms.
Now in an age of image-centric content, it’s time to rethink marketing strategies that will successfully develop and strengthen relationships, educate the public about what we do, keep our practices “top of mind,” and engage with potential patients, resulting in the targeted growth of our practices.
Since its introduction in 2010, Instagram has grown to be one of the largest social networks, with over 1 billion users worldwide, and over 25 million businesses1 having taken their marketing techniques to Instagram. Follow these five tips to ensure your practice will be successful in reaching your Instagram goals.
1. Create an Instagram Business Account
Instagram Business is a feature that makes it possible to promote your content, expand your audience, and grow your practice. Instagram Business functions as a personal account so you can post pictures, videos, and stories. But it goes a step further and offers unique features like Instagram Insights, adding an address, phone number, and even a call to action button such as “Schedule an appointment.”
Growing your audience is important, but to do that, you must optimize your account to best represent your business. Use the same username that you have on Facebook or Twitter so followers can easily find you, use your logo in your profile picture, and add a link to your bio on your website. Your bio is the only place that Instagram allows you to put a clickable link.
2. Use Instagram Insights
Like any other marketing efforts, you want to create a strategy and know exactly what you hope to accomplish by using this social media platform. The best place to start is by knowing the platform’s demographics. Men between 18 and 24 years old are the largest group using the site, but 95 percent of users are under the age of 35.2
Instagram Insight is a feature of Instagram Business that breaks down audience demographics, and data on engagement and impressions for every post. These features allow you to measure what content is appealing to your audience.
3. Post Visual Content for Your Target Audience
Instagram is all about visual content. If you have great written content that goes out on your blog once a week, showcase it on Instagram by creating an eye-catching image telling viewers to visit your blog for more information. On days when you don’t have blog content, try creating videos and post short clips that would appeal to your target audience. For example: If your target audience is new mothers, post content on exercising postpartum.
Instagram Stories allows you to post videos such as a live feed to a podcast, daily life in the clinic, or meaningful content for your target audience. Tag people and add locations. If you want to highlight one of your patients, be sure to tag them in a post, or if you are live streaming from a new location like a local gym or doctor’s office, add their location to the post to help build engagement.
Hashtags are another way to build your following. Hashtags allow people to see your content even if they don’t follow you. Use branded hashtags unique to your practice, and community hashtags that surround the theme of your content. Try adding about nine different hashtags3 to each of your posts to optimize viewer engagement.
4. Commit to Regularly Posting
A good balance between enough posting, but not too much, is important for maintaining a well-run Instagram Business page. But how do you know when and how often you should post? The answer is it depends! Generally, it is believed one to three posts per day is optimal, and you will see the most engagement by posting on weekdays first thing in the morning, around lunchtime, and between 4 and 5 o’clock.4
But keep up with the latest information. Social media platforms are changing all the time. Every couple of months, set aside a time to research the best times to post content and how many posts per day are optimal. Also research the best hashtags to use for physical therapy, and what the optimal number of hashtags per post is.
It can become difficult to keep up with posting content regularly and at the right times, but by scheduling content a week or two in advance it can be much easier for you to keep up a consistent profile. Although Instagram does not have a scheduling feature, social media tools such as Hootsuite, Buffer, or CoSchedule can be utilized to ensure that your content goes out on time. With regularly posted content, Instagrammers will come to know you as the musculoskeletal expert!
5. Need Content?
Follow Instagram’s @myphystherapist, a Private Practice Section resource that provides consumer-ready posts for members to use. Alternatively, view the Social Media Shareable library in the Marketing Resources section of the ppsapta.org website for almost 150 shareables. Instagram does not have a share option like Facebook, so images must be downloaded to share.
Like any other social media platform, when used strategically Instagram provides the opportunity to grow our practices and further brand physical therapists as the musculoskeletal and neuromuscular experts!
Michelle Collie, PT, DPT, MS, is the chair of the PPS PR and Marketing Committee and chief executive officer of Performance Physical Therapy in Rhode Island. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.