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How clinicians can use Instagram Reels

Do Instagram Reels for clinicians really work?

If you’re using Instagram to grow your healthcare practice, by now you’ve likely heard that Reels are key to Instagram growth and engagement. Ever since Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram, shared on June 30 that Instagram is “no longer just a square photo-sharing app,” marketers have been in a tizzy announcing it’s past time we all get moving on Reels.

Are Reels right for clinicians?

Knowing your goal for social media is essential to determining the right strategy for your practice.

If you are a local physician, therapist, PT, OT or SLP, the truth is that you can fill your appointments with a small, engaged audience. Unless you have bigger goals of supporting many more people at once, such as offering virtual workshops or group courses, you don’t need thousands of followers on Instagram…or views on your Reels. Find out how to get more followers and if you even need them in this blog.

If your goal is to reach more people outside the walls of your practice, Reels is a great way for your ideal audience to find you. And even if that’s not your goal, Reels still might be a good choice for you if you’re already making short videos for social media, explaining something or even meditation videos.

Of course, I’ve heard many reasons clinicians have no interest in adopting Reels as a social media content format. You likely don’t want to dance, point like a monkey or change your outfit multiple times on a video. Your subject matter expertise may even be quite serious, and Reels just seem silly.

The biggest hurdle is time. Reels take a lot longer to create than posting a photo.

To the former concern, you’ll see below that there are loads of ways you as a clinician can use Reels to deliver information–even important, relevant information–and maybe even show some personality. As for time restraints, Reels become easy to make with practice, especially if you batch them. Even one Reel a week can be a powerful tool in your social media marketing strategy.

A great way to jump right in is a 5-day Reels Challenge

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How to make Reels for clinicians

Reels are easy to create once you play with the feature. You can even make several at a time and save them as drafts. Here’s a video on how to make a Reel, followed by ideas for easy Reels you can make.

Instagram Reels for clinicians idea #1. Introduce yourself

If you’re not sure where to start, this is a great first Instagram Reel video idea to post on your account. You can simply point and list things like:

  1. Your name

  2. Where you’re from

  3. What you do

  4. Who you serve

  5. A fun fact about you

Here’s an example from the @fannypacktherapist (could their business name be more perfect?!)

Instagram Reels for clinicians idea #2. Teach or introduce something

This is just about as easy a Reel as it gets…as long as you can snap and nod.

Here’s an example from @TherapyLux, who has been rocking the Reels since they were released. She creates Reels in two languages to reach her Latinx and English-speaking audience. The audio she uses from Dr. Julie Smith is the audio you should use as well. Dr. Julie will give you loads of more Reels ideas.

Instagram Reels for clinicians idea #3. Counter an objection

You know that issue that always comes up in your practice? Here’s your chance to counter that common misconception in a fun way. Your Reel grabs their attention and then your caption can fill your audience in on the facts.

Here’s an example from Dr. Inna Lazar, OD, who’s grown her account exponentially since Reels was released and was recognized in industry magazines for her public eye education on Instagram.

Instagram Reels for clinicians idea #4. Showcase a process or something in your practice

For this Reel you have two options. You can hold up your phone to film something in your practice or office. I do this when I teach a fun Canva trick in a Reel.

Or you can guide your audience through a process you do in your practice. If you’re a dietitian, this might be how to prepare a certain food. A dentist can show how to properly brush your teeth.

Here’s an example of how Rebecca Marcus, LCSW uses Reels to show how to do boxed breathing, meditation or have affirmative thoughts. If meditation is something you promote in your practice, you can make a series of Reels with just a tide or clouds video featuring your calming voiceover. How easy is that?!

Instagram Reels for clinicians idea #5. Lip syncing

Lip syncing to a punchy line from a movie or a meme that’s trending on Reels are one of the easiest Reels to create. Allison Puryear from Abundance Practice Building has made many Reels in this format. Most of them show her empathy for her ideal client’s problems and all of them are entertaining. She typically gets 3K-5K views on them, but this one even went viral.

No doubt it took her only minutes to make.

Some tips for getting more views on Reels

  1. Use a viral song rather than uploading your own. If it’s not viral, at least use someone else’s audio.

  2. Copy other Reels that are trending and then tag the person. This actually a form of compliment, and not stealing their content. It helps the original person’s Reel go viral.

  3. Keep it short, with helpful tips as text so that people are more likely to watch it multiple times.

  4. Get a tripod for your phone or a smartphone holder adapter. You can film your videos hands-free without someone holding your phone or building a make-shift tripod to get the perfect height.

  5. Share your Instagram Reel to your Stories and Feed to boost engagement.

  6. Add industry 30 hashtags in the first comment right after posting your Reel.

  7. Encourage viewers to read your caption for more insights. This is where you really add value, plus it keeps your Reel playing in the background while people read it.

Most importantly, don’t get caught up in trying ot make your Reels perfect. The first few will take some time, but it definitely gets faster and eventually can take only minutes to create.

Don’t worry about a low view count on Reels for clinicians

And finally, don’t get discouraged if you create Reels that don’t perform well. The time of day you post, the hashtags you use and how often you post to Instagram all play a part in the performance of all your content, especially Reels. I’ve personally had the exact same style of Reels, where I offer marketing tips while playing guitar, become my highest engaging posts some days and then totally flop other days.

Keep in mind that everybody doesn’t need to see your content for social media to help you grow your practice. All if takes is for a few of the right people to find you.

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