When it comes to marketing a private practice on social media, I’ve got loads of experience in regards to what NOT to do. But social media and Instagram marketing are so in right now that I’d be remiss if I didn’t cover it. So I enlisted the help of an expert to talk about how to market yourself as a therapist using Instagram.
Social media is such a HUGE topic. If I tried to capture all of it, not only would I need to cover Facebook and Instagram, but I’d also have to get into YouTube, Pinterest, Twitter, LinkedIn, and beyond. So for today, I’m honing in on how to market yourself as a therapist using Instagram.
Story Time: How I Tanked my Instagram Marketing Strategy
(I’ll give you a hint: there was no strategy!)
Let’s take a walk down memory lane of Marie’s Instagram marketing journey…
I have two separate Instagram accounts: one for my private practice (drmariefang) and one for Private Practice Skills (privatepracticeskills). If you take a look at my drmariefang page, I had no strategy to it. I didn’t have a unifying brand – whether through color schemes or topics covered. And after I found out last December that I was pregnant, I stopped posting to it altogether as I’m slowing down my practice right now and investing more in Private Practice Skills.
I definitely know a thing or two about what doesn’t work on Instagram. So I invited an expert to help me with this article: Dr. Therese Mascardo. If you aren’t following her yet on Instagram, check her out at exploring.therapy, she’s totally killing it in her Instagram game!
Today’s tips are all adapted from her feedback. A huge THANK YOU to Dr. Therese in being a major help with this article.
Can Social Media be an Effective Marketing Strategy for Private Practice?
Absolutely! According to Hootsuite, Instagram has over 1 billion active monthly users, with over 500 million users on the app every day! Chances are, your target market is hanging out on Instagram. it’s just a matter of knowing how to find them!
With that said, there are many ways for all of us to connect with the people logging in to Instagram, but there are some do’s and don’ts for how to do this successfully.
Dos: How to Market Yourself as a Therapist Using Instagram
Let’s talk about how to use Instagram effectively:
If your goal is to reach potential clients, it’s so important that you know who you are and what sets you apart from all the other therapists using Instagram to market their practice.
This is what branding is all about. If you’d like to learn more, Dr. Therese is launching a course called “DIY Your Brand in 30 Days.” Scroll to the bottom of the page and select the corresponding checkbox to stay in the loop.
Use Hashtags relevant to your niche. Yep, those 30 hashtags at the bottom of each post are a huge way that others can find you on Instagram.
I love this example Dr. Therese gave:
Think of hashtags as if each hashtag is a different party – each with a unique venue, theme, and guest list. If you use hashtags that are relevant to your audience, it’s like going to parties filled with people who are looking for what you have to offer. For example, if you’re a CBT therapist looking to meet potential clients, you might use hashtags like #CBTtherapist #cognitivebehavioraltherapy #anxietyhelp #mentalhealthmatters #stressed, etc. When your potential clients look up these hashtags, if things go well, they will see your posts, find your page, and follow you!
How great is that? So be sure to do a little work on the front end to find some hashtags that represent you well.
3. Engage with similar accounts.
Find accounts that are similar to yours. Follow them and share genuine engagement with their posts. Engaging is more than liking their post or leaving an emoji in the comments. Be thoughtful and share a human-to-human interaction in their comments. This helps people find you and share your account with others.
Similarly, respond when others reach out. If others leave comments on your post or send you a DM, write back! This builds connections and credibility that there’s a real person behind your account.
The benefit of this tip is easily apparent to me. There are seasons when I engage more actively on Instagram and seasons when I’m posting just as frequently but I’m not engaging with other accounts. There is a clear increase in the number of followers and engagement I have on my page when I am also engaging with others.
Experiment with these tips and see what’s helpful for you!
The Don’ts of How to Market Yourself as a Therapist on Instagram
With everything I said about how helpful Instagram can be for building your practice, it can also become a total waste of time if not done well. Here are some things to avoid on Instagram:
1. Heartless likes.
Don’t focus all your time liking others’ posts in the hopes that you’ll be discovered. Make sure you are sharing genuine engagement with each other.
2. Regurgitating content.
Avoid exclusively sharing others’ content through reposts or quotes from others. People want to see YOU – pictures of you, your thoughts, your values. Make sure your account is clearly you. It’s okay to share some quotes from others periodically, but you want your unique self to shine on your account more than anything else.
As I’ve built my brand with Private Practice Skills I’ve found Dr. Therese’s tips to be incredibly helpful to my own growth on Instagram. I’m definitely still learning, but I think that’s the beauty of the process! I encourage you to visit my Instagram page privatepracticeskills and scroll down to see how my strategy has shifted over time. I hope you find it encouraging to see how I’ve grown and changed as I’ve learned along the way.
Limitations of Instagram as a Private Practice Marketing Strategy
Keep in mind, Instagram isn’t a therapist directory. It’s not likely to be where potential clients search directly for a therapist. You may find it helpful to be strategic in making yourself more visible in other places online through strategies like SEO and through therapist directories like Psychology Today.
However, Instagram is a great tool to build your brand and develop a following who will then turn to you should they be in need of a therapist in the future.
Most importantly, find strategies that fit who you are. Are you already super into the ‘gram? Then maybe this could be a great marketing strategy for your practice. Do you avoid social media at all costs? Then there are plenty of other marketing strategies that may be a better fit for your practice.
I hope you found this article helpful. A huge thank you to Dr. Therese for her help in making this article happen! Check out her page exploring.therapy and leave a comment saying I sent you!
Until next time, from one therapist to another: I wish you well!
Ready to dive deeper into starting a private practice? I have a free guide for that! Check it out here to grab your free guide: Start a Private Practice in Counseling
Photo by Emma Matthews on Unsplash
Erin Henley says
Thank you so much for this post! I know how to do therapy but have zero idea how to advertise.
Dr. Marie Fang says
I completely relate – that’s the whole reason why I started Private Practice Skills! Best wishes to you!
Sophie Peacock says
Hi, thank you for your insight and experience in this. I’m a trainee counsellor, just starting placement, so I’m not looking for clients yet, but I was pondering the idea of getting a following now but not sure it’s worth it until I have an identity and running private practice. Just wondering what you think, and if I should wait?
Marie Fang says
Sophie – now is a GREAT time to get started! Even if you develop your sense of identity as you go, it will still benefit you once you’re ready. If there’s bandwidth to do it now, I say go for it! 🙂