While Instagram user numbers are lower than Facebook, they still have a substantial 2.4 million users In Ireland. Importantly, their audience is growing at a much faster rate and skews younger. By choosing both platforms, you will future proof your activities by reaching the widest possible audience and decision makers.
A huge benefit and time saver is that once you have a Facebook account, setting up your Instagram practice page is easy as they are owned and operated by the same company.
To create an Instagram account, simply download the app to your phone (it is intended as a mobile phone app rather then desktop use) and follow the signup procedure. Use your practice name in your Instagram name and Username (handle) so that you can be searched for and be found easily. There is a maximum of 30 characters for each.
Make sure to include the term Psychotherapist or Psychotherapy! This simple step is so important for search purposes.
Jane White Psychotherapy
Add your website address and complete the bio section. Here you have 150 characters to succinctly describe your services.
Use your services list from Tool 1 here to populate your bio with your priority services - this will allow you to be found when audiences are searching for your areas of interest.
Jane White is a Tipperary-based accredited Psychotherapist with extensive experience in treating clients with OCD, eating disorders, depression and anxiety.
At this stage, you should change your account status to a professional account. If you have been using a personal Instagram account, you can add a new professional account.
In the menu on your profile, go to Settings/Account and choose between ‘Switch to Professional Account’ to use your existing or ‘Add new Professional Account’ to add a practice specific account (see right).
When you switch to a business account on Instagram, you’ll be asked if you’d like to connect a Facebook Page. If you choose this option, you can sync all the business information you have on your FB business page with your Insta account.
Updates made on one app will appear on the other app. You will also be able to view all Instagram comments and direct messages from your Facebook page inbox, saving a lot of time.
Most importantly, you can share your Instagram posts to your Facebook page and vice versa, so once set up is complete, you can manage two key social media accounts for the time it takes to manage one!
If the Page you’d like to connect is not showing in the drop down from your profile, it may be because you are not an admin of that Page. Check your FB Page’s settings and make sure you have permission to add that Page to your Instagram business profile.
Complete your Instagram profile details:
Under the Public business information section, complete the fields as follows:
Content is all of the messaging that comes from your Instagram account - posts, stories, ‘lives’ etc. As per Facebook, you don’t have to be an expert ‘content creator’ to develop a successful Instagram account, you just need to be organised. The Messaging section further on will bring together themes, topics and tools for you to use to create your content plan, including Instagram posts. Remember, you can use the same post across both your Facebook and Instagram business accounts - an amazing time saver.
CONTENT STRATEGY: POSTS, REELS, STORIES
At a basic level, Instagram account holders post images and video with accompanying captions, hashtags etc. A simple post will contain one image, some text and optional features such as hashtags and references to links - see image right.
Reels are short videos that are a single clip or multiple clips together.
Stories are a selection of images and videos that last 24 hours on your profile. Additional features such as polls, direct message buttons and filters can be used and depending on your account status, you can add a swipe up link (soon to be stickers). They are extremely popular - one in three stories results in a direct message.
If you have numerous updates in a day, perhaps a conference or key topic, stories are a great way to group them together, and you can save them as a highlight on your profile that people can refer back to.
We recommend using posts to start with and when you feel comfortable, move on to reels and stories. It’s best to use a mix of both over the long term.
BUILDING YOUR FOLLOWER BASE & COMMUNITY
TOP TIPS FOR INSTAGRAM POSTING FOR PSYCHOTHERAPISTS
(this list is extensive - start with 5 tips and go from there!)
Audiences will only spend a few seconds deciding whether to watch your stories, so make it easy for them to figure out who you are.
Create great captions - the words up front (125 characters before ‘more’) should be the most impactful. Experiment with different caption lengths (can go up to 2200). Short captions are good when the image speaks for itself. Ask a question to encourage comments
Use extra features - polls, questions, chat stickers to get users engaged.
Post content that encourages sharing - infographics etc - others might insert your post into their blog posts, or share main feed posts in a story
Use engaging, high quality content
Make sure that your imagery/video is of quality resolution and that there are no typos
A great way to encourage contact directly from your story is by adding a Direct Message tag/sticker
Use the Location field as your potential clients may choose you based on this
Hashtags are searchable - use them well - quality not quantity - highly targeted & relevant
Create a consistent brand style / aesthetic / style of imagery, think of the overall grid
Pin comments - you can pin 3 comments & can use this space to continue the story or highlight your favourite followers who engage a lot
BUILDING YOUR FOLLOWER NETWORK
If you have a blog on your website, embed your insta posts into your articles.
Share your account name on your website, email signature, business cards etc.
Follow relevant accounts - it is likely they will view your feed if you follow them.
Follower ratio is important so don’t follow too many people too fast.
Influencers - 60% of consumers would follow a person/brand if promoted by an influencer they trust - if a high profile person is covering one of your areas of interest, reach out to them and offer to be tagged in their posts for more information.
Collaborate with other Insta accounts - colleagues, local medical practice, etc - this could be a simple awareness message stating the various professions / services with a practice.
Highlights - use them well to introduce your brand. Use cover photos to make them look good and link to your brand design.
Think of your audience when posting at certain times - what does their day look like?
Use the Insights tool (menu option from profile page) to see how your account is performing and to identify top performing posts. You will see impressions, reach, engagement, top posts, demographics etc.
If you are a confident Instagram user, read on...
As a Psychotherapist, are you fielding the same questions over and over again? A successful way to tackle topics and widen your audience is to engage in a Q&A or seminar type session via Live Streaming on Instagram. Users are notified when you go live so it attracts a lot of attention.
Live Streaming is one of the most popular activities on the platform with users 10 – 20 times more likely to watch through to the end compared to regular videos.
Why? The combination of suspense (anything can happen!), being involved in the actual moment and a sense of belonging to the community creates a desire to watch. So much so that 80% of Instagram users would rather watch a live video than read a blog and 82% prefer live over social posts.
Live streaming encourages more authentic interactions and responses to discussion items in real time.
To get your Live video in front of a whole new audience, use the “Go live with a friend” option to co-host a live video with someone else in your industry. Appears as split screen, you then share each others followers.
TIPS FOR LIVE STREAMING
Start with your expert topic, one that you feel extremely confident discussing. Write out the top 5 questions you field in relation to that and how you answer them. This is the framework of your content.
Let your followers know that you will be going live with an eye catching post or story promoting it - do this a few times over the course of the week leading up to it.
When you go live, there will be a lag time of when people start to connect so don’t start straight away. You can use the time to welcome people casually.
This type of communication lends itself well to real time engagement so keep an eye on any questions that come through and answer them as you go.
Live videos appear within your brand’s Story. When the live video ends, you can let it disappear, choose to make it available for replay on your Story for 24 hours, or add it to IGTV.
Create an IGTV series
Live videos can go up to an hour long so you can save them into a series to show real expertise on certain topics. This type of format has a huge benefit in that under the ‘Explore’ tab, IGTV posts appear four times larger than photos - much stronger real estate & promotional space.
Finally, if you see something that is very relevant to your practice and audience, you can re-post it to your own profile. You must first reach out to the Instagram user whose content you want to reproduce and obtain written permission to do so. You can do this by commenting on the image and asking, or by sending them an Instagram Direct Message, which can be accessed by tapping the paper aeroplane icon in the upper right-hand corner of the app.
You could also collaborate with other profiles - colleagues, local medical practice, etc - this could be a simple awareness message stating the various professions / services with a practice.