The Best Practices for Therapist Instagram Marketing
In case you haven’t checked in a while, Instagram is no longer just a platform for photos of cute terriers and avocado toast by millennials. In fact, Instagram has become one of the biggest heavy-hitters in social media marketing today.
Over 1 billion people actively use Instagram each month, with over half of that number logging in every day.1 That is a whole lot of attention that could be directed towards you and your private practice!
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In fact, Instagram’s numbers are beaten only by Facebook and Twitter.1 Everything from Snapchat to LinkedIn can’t compare with Instagram’s access to active, interested users.
Instagram is also used by many different demographics, making it a great source of potential clients for almost any practice. Although Instagram is the most popular platform for teens, it’s still used by over a third of all online adults. The platform is also just as popular with both men and women. 1
However, Instagram is more than just a popular platform with lots of potential clients for your practice. It’s also particularly well suited for building your brand as a therapist.
Why is Instagram Great for Therapist Marketing?
As many of you know, the heart of therapist marketing is showing your potential clients that you empathize with their personal struggles. The best therapist marketing goes a step further and demonstrates an expertise or unique ability to understand those struggles.
Instagram’s high emphasis on visual content (e.g. photography, visually interesting graphics, live or short-form video) makes it the perfect tool to foster a personal connection with your audience by allowing your marketing to put a spotlight on the personal, unique elements that make you and your practice stand out. In this way you can quickly build your audience’s trust in you, and before you know it, your potential clients are becoming your real clients.
Whether you’re a complete novice at Instagram or you have a bit of experience under your belt, the following best practices will help you keep on top of your social media marketing game in 2019.
Best Practices for Therapist Instagram Marketing in 2019
What Should I Post on Instagram?
Above we mentioned a few different kinds of popular media on Instagram, but which ones would work best for your therapist marketing? In other words, which ones will likely get you the most engagement (comments, shares, likes, and clicks) and build your private practice brand the best?
As with many other aspects of marketing, the key seems to be to diversify the types of media you’re using.2 While still photos are still the most dominant type of media on Instagram, the social media platform is providing more and more tools to its users to help them easily make alternative types of visual content.2 For example, photo and video collages, and stop-motion time-lapse clips. (Imagine using your smartphone and the tap of your thumb to post a time-lapse of the beautiful view from your office window!)
However, there are still a couple standard pieces of advice that will do you well to follow, no matter what type of visual you’re posting.
What Should Be in My Imagery?
The great news is that data shows getting more engagement with your Instagram posts can be as simple as showing your face more.3 Studies have shown that Instagram photos which show faces get 38% more likes than photos without faces.3
That’s great news for a therapist like you who would like your marketing to personally connect with your audience. That number assures us that Instagram is a platform primed for the type of direct therapist-to-person marketing that is best for your private practice.
It’s also worth remembering that while original photos of you and your private practice space will likely work the best for you, Instagram users will also occasionally enjoy seeing images of things that inspire you or motivational quotations geared towards your ideal client.3
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What Size Should My Images Be?
Keep in mind whenever you are shooting or selecting your Instagram imagery that Instagram visuals display best in a square or widescreen format (so a standard landscape aspect ratio of 4:3 would end up looking odd).4 More importantly, however, the width of the images’ resolution (or size) shouldn’t be smaller than 1080 pixels.4
If you upload an undersized image as part of your Instagram post, it will end up looking a bit pixelated or otherwise stretched, so be sure to double-check your image sizes before you upload.
(And if you’re wondering exactly how the heck you do that, check out our pocket-sized beginner’s guide to photo resolution!)
What Should I Put in My Post Captions?
Your captions on Instagram are the textual portion of your post that accompanies your visual imagery. Captions are important because they work hand-in-hand with your imagery, giving it context and telling your followers how you would like them to respond or take action (such as making an appointment with you!).
When you’re writing your Instagram captions, try to follow these standard formatting guidelines to maximize your engagement.
How Many Hashtags Should I Use?
Instagram users love hashtags arguably more than any other social media platform users. The optimum number of hashtags per caption on Instagram is somewhat debated, but in general you will see the best engagement rates from using 11 to 30 hashtags per post.5
Tip: Your hashtags will actually perform better if they don’t appear more than once in the same caption.
How Long Should My Captions Be?
While Instagram allows you to make your captions as long as a whopping 2,200 characters, it won’t surprise you to learn that your ideal caption length is actually much shorter.
Keep your captions between 138 and 150 characters in length (not counting your hashtags).6
How Often Should I Post Per Day?
At the moment, a good starting schedule for your Instagram posts is one to three posts per day.7 For example, many of the most successful brands on Instagram post an average of 1.5 times a day.7
An additional and important rule of thumb for your Instagram posting frequency is to remember the old adage “quality over quantity.”7 You should only post as frequently as you have a genuinely good content to share. In other words, it’s better to post nothing than to post something of poor quality.
What Time Should I Post?
The “perfect” posting time is a tricky thing to recommend because it will likely be different for each therapist and their unique audience. The best way to discover your practice’s perfect posting time on Instagram is to start testing different posting times against each other on your own. But that doesn’t mean we can’t help you out a bit!
I highly recommend checking out our recent blog post about The Science of Social Media: When to Post for Maximum Engagement.
The good news is that Instagram has already made this process a little easier on you. When you sign up for an Instagram business account (or convert an existing Instagram account to a business account), you’ll gain access to awesome analytics about your followers. You’ll even be able to see what time of day people view your posts the most. Talk about helpful!
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Now that you’ve polished up your Instagram skills, it’s time to put them to use! If you don’t already have an Instagram business account, it’s free and easy to sign-up for one using the Instagram application on your smartphone. Start integrating Instagram into your online marketing now and your practice will thank you!
Growing Your Business
Now that you have a pretty good idea about the best practices for marketing your private practice on Instagram, it’s time to put that data to work!
Social media automation tools, like Brighter Vision’s Social Genie, allow you to schedule content to post exactly when you want on the days you want.
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1. Clarke, Todd. “22 Instagram Statistics That Matter to Marketers in 2019.” Hootsuite Social Media Management, 12 Mar. 2019, blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-statistics/.
2. Johnston, Alicia. “How to Create an Instagram Marketing Strategy.” Sprout Social, 4 Dec. 2018, sproutsocial.com/insights/instagram-marketing-strategy-guide/.
3. Bullas, Jeff. “10 Types of Visual Content On Instagram That Get Shared Like Crazy.” Jeffbullas’s Blog, 18 June 2018, www.jeffbullas.com/10-types-visual-content-instagram-get-shared-like-crazy/.
4. Chacon, Benjamin. “Instagram Image Size & Dimensions for 2018 ( Free Infographic!).” Later Blog, 1 Mar. 2019, later.com/blog/instagram-image-size/.
5. Myers, Louise. “How to Use Hashtags on Instagram for Explosive Growth.” Louise Myers Visual Social Media, 13 Jan. 2019, louisem.com/7198/how-to-use-hashtags-on-instagram.
6. Jackson, Dominique. “Know Your Limit: The Ideal Length of Every Social Media Post.” Sprout Social, 7 June 2018, sproutsocial.com/insights/social-media-character-counter/#instagram.
7. C, Liz. “How Often Should You Post On Instagram in 2019?” Social Buddy, 20 Mar. 2019, socialbuddy.com/how-often-should-you-post-on-instagram/.