Social media marketing is quickly becoming one of the most used and accessible forms of marketing for small businesses. Social media is becoming more than just a space to share cute photos or connect with old friends. With a purposeful strategy, social media marketing has the potential to increase your client workload and form genuine relationships with other practitioners and small businesses. This article will focus on Instagram marketing and how you can use it as part of your overall marketing strategy for your private practice.

What is Instagram marketing?

Instagram marketing is a form of content marketing used to build brand awareness. Instagram is a highly visual platform but thoughtful written content has gained traction recently as captions are morphing into micro blog posts.

Instagram consists of feed posts, stories and IGTV. When mapping out the social media marketing strategy for your private practice, consider using a combination of at least two of these mediums on a consistent basis.

Feed posts are typically where you’ll share content with the intent to build your know, like and trust factor. A feed post will consist of an image and a written caption.

Instagram stories are more like instant snapshots and can be used to share aspects of your life behind the scenes and other personal details with your audience. You can share feed posts, still images and video through stories. Stories can be filmed in four 15-second increments for a total of 1 minute per story.

IGTV is similar to YouTube so popular content includes tutorials, mini-series, guided meditation, etc. IGTV videos can be up to an hour in length but many users tend to stick to approximately 10-minute episodes.

The anatomy of an Instagram feed post

Feed posts should include high quality, on-brand images or infographic images. Images that include people especially (the small business owner) are known to perform better as your audience can get a feel for the person behind the screen.

Infographics and memes are becoming popular. Instagram started hiding the number of likes on users’ posts recently and as such a greater emphasis is being placed on content that is shareable or is frequently saved by other users.

Captions should be crafted to be entertaining, educational, or inspiring your audience. Sharing relevant personal anecdotes and educational content such as mindfulness techniques with your audience builds reputability. Feel free to use emojis or branded language (like slang) where applicable. Adding your personality in your social presence helps to build strong connections with your audience.

Always include one single clear call-to-action to encourage engagement from your audience. For example, ask your audience to share your post with someone that might find it valuable or prompt them to click the link in your bio to read more of your latest blog post.

Use relevant and well-researched hashtags in your posts as this is often how prospective clients will find you through the app. Essentially it’s like a label on a file folder and categorized content based on the tag that is applied to it.  Location tags can also be used on your Instagram feed posts as this will add your post to the specific location tag in a similar way to the hashtags. For example, a post that is location-tagged under Toronto will show up in the Toronto feed.

The key aspects of building an Instagram strategy 

Hashtag research

Make it a habit to research and update your hashtags regularly and create several groups of hashtags that reflect your service and brand. They should include keywords that your ideal customer may be searching for in the app.

Location-specific hashtags ensure that you reach a more local audience if that is something that is applicable to your business. For example is better to use #Torontotherapist rather than simply #therapists to reach very specific users that reflect your ideal customer.

Hashtags that have approximately 1000 to 100,000 posts are ideal so that your content reaches your ideal audience but it is okay to mix in a few broad popular tags as well so long as it’s relevant to the content that you’re sharing.

When generating your groups of hashtags, think about the service you offer the clients you serve and your location when researching the best hashtags for your content number to engagement and also your industry peers.

Engagement

Consistent engagement is another key aspect of Instagram Marking. Be sure to actively engage with accounts similar to your own, accounts that your ideal client would follow and with your ideal clients.

Aim to carve out approximately 15 to 30 minutes each day to like, comment and message with other users. This includes not only those commenting on your posts but also through searching hashtags you use and identifying the accounts of potential leads or collaborations.

Post Consistently

In order to experience growth on Instagram you will need to post consistently while also engaging regularly. If possible, it’s best to post 5 to 7 days each week but 3 to 4 days is okay – just be sure to engage every day.

It’s better to post one to two times per week consistently than post every day for a week and then not post for another month.

Posting and engaging consistently will tell Instagram’s algorithm that your account produces content and facilitates connections with other users which results in better overall reach.

Develop Content Buckets

As a small business your audience wants to see the person behind the brand so be sure to share aspects of your life to build trust and increase relatability. Having five or six pillar topics that dictate your post content is a great start.

These can include:

  • mindfulness and meditation
  • family and personal life including Hobbies
  • inspirational quotes
  • tips for your ideal client
  • showcasing your offer or services

These topics can be reflected in not only your images but also the captions and the stories you tell in your overall content strategy.

An example week might look like:

  • Monday motivational quote
  • Tuesday educational tip or resource
  • Wednesday personal stories and anecdotes
  • Thursday sharing your services, a new offer, a freebie opt-in, blog post or podcast
  • Friday behind the scenes hobbies and interests 

Plan in Advance

Scheduling your post in advance helps to alleviate the pressure often felt by small business owners when posting in real-time. Having a plan for your social strategy will allow you to share purposeful content with your audience with a goal to entertain, educate or inspire.

Final quick tips:

  • Stock photos from sites like Unsplash, Haute Stock or Social Squares (to name a few) are fine to use as long as they are on-brand
  • Photos that show you as the business owner help your audience develop a stronger connection with your brand. If possible invest in brand photography or set up a DIY photoshoot or select some selfies that have been taken in good lighting, Feel free to use Pinterest for inspiration
  • Take advantage of planning and scheduling apps such as Plann, Later, Planoly, Preview App or Tailwind to map out your post in advance and to help you create an aesthetically pleasing grid
  • Be sure to repurpose already existing content to us as Instagram posts, stories or IGTV content. This can include blog posts, checklists, podcasts, webinars, etc. Using the content that you’ve already created helps to maintain consistency across your marketing efforts, and makes for a lighter workload!

Looking to develop a clear and effective marketing plan? Book a free 20-minute Business Mentorship Consultation to see how I can support you! 

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