Have you noticed your social media engagement tank lately?
We’re smack in the dog days of summer (cue the tunes, Florence), and this Chicago gal loves this season so much it hurts.
Yes, friends, Chicago has a legit beach scene…4 months a year.
Except for what it does to my social media engagement.
On social media, mid-summer is a bummer season…that is if you’re not a travel agent 🏝or swimwear line. 👙
This year, especially, when everyone is making up for lost time by living their BEST lives, posting healthcare tips on Instagram is kinda like trying to get people at the pool to register for a colonoscopy. Um…no thanks. 🕶
If you’re seeing low engagement, fear not!
Do clinicians even need high engagement for their practice?
I recommend first figuring out what are your practice goals for using social media. Once you determine that, you’ll know how much your engagement rate even matters for your practice. I talk about this at length in this blog on How to get more followers for your private practice. The quick summary is that if your social media is just a place, like your website, where your ideal audience can get to know, like and trust you, then engagement isn’t as important.
This is you if you’re using directories, like Psychology Today, for example and you realize Instagram is just another place where people who hear about you will look you up. This is also you if your practice has a waitlist, and you don’t have much need for more clients/patients.
If that’s the case, move on if you’re finding lower engagement stats this summer and focus instead on maintaining best practices, posting consistent content and showing up for those who need you.
Know your goals, and then you’ll know how much engagement even matters.
But, what if you need to reach more people? Maybe you are expanding to a group practice. Maybe you’re offering workshops or a course. Perhaps you want to collaborate with more colleagues. Or maybe you’re new, and you’re not ready to build a whole website. Social media can be a great way to get your name out and build your practice with your ideal clients/patients.
If you do use social media to proactively get more clients or patients, then read on for how to give your audience content they want. If you’re sharing meaningful content in an engaging way, your low engagement rate is not a sign of failure. It’s a numbers game. There are a billion users on Instagram every month, and the average person posts there daily.
That’s a massive amount of content posted on social media every minute. So how do you stand out?
Know what’s working now to increase engagement on Instagram
Social media is constantly changing, which makes it more interesting for us to use but harder to navigate as business owners.
Adam Mosseri, head of Instagram shared on June 30 that Instagram is “no longer just a square photo-sharing app.”
Marketers were in a tizzy letting everyone know about this BIG change, but really Mosseri was making an official announcement of what most people have already noticed.
Stories are as important a feature as posts.
Video in the form of IGTV, live video, gifs and Reels are typically performing better than square photos
The good news is that we have a clear path for what works on Instagram. Follow that path, and your followers and engagement will continue to grow. The bad news, is that this takes a lot more work than just posting a cute photo.
3 ways to change your content to deliver what your audience WANTS to see even in the summer
The format that’s working best on Instagram these days is Reels. Reels is Instagram’s version of Tik Tok, and the platform is prioritizing it over other content. You can see this for yourself by posting the exact same short video clip once in video format and again as a Reel. You’ll see exponentially more reach on a Reel.
Seventh degree Tae Kwon Do master, Sunny Levi, tried this recently with a video vs. Reel format. She posted the same concept twice, and the Reel got over twice the views. This would have performed even better if she had used viral audio instead of her original audio from another app. (Give her some love and follow her, will ya? She’s incredible.)
Using carousel posts to grab attention and increase engagement
The second strategy that is working really well for my clients and myself currently are carousel posts. These kind of posts are the ones that appear in Instagram slides.
When they first came out, carousels typically showcased products. Picture a series of fall dresses from Target on a carousel.
Now, though, they’re often a way to teach something or to make multiple points. The slides made in Canva don’t have to be fancy to grab attention. On LinkedIn you can use them as well. You would need to save them as a PDF and upload it as a document to your post. I know, not intuitive. But it will have the same effect as it does on Instagram where your user will slide through your images.
Carousels don’t work in Facebook well because they’ll just be posted at separate photos and not as a slider.
One thing I done lately to make this even more effective is to use the slides to showcase other people. If, for example, on follow Fridays I share two to three people who I want to encourage my followers to also follow. These could be people doing a great job, people who open a new practice, or people who just make me laugh. Each side is where I feature one different person. Then, I can tie them in the caption and the carousel post then also becomes is more of a social conversation.
Get in the direct messages
By far, the most powerful tool on social media is the direct messages. This lets you get right in front of your target audience. I start out every relationship with direct messages. So if a new clinician follows me on Instagram, I head over to the DMs to introduce myself and ask them about themselves.
Here’s an example of what I typically do. If the conversation moves into questions, I’ll typically answer with voice messages, since these are easy and friendly. If you’re sincerely trying to help people, the DMs is a great way to reach them one to one.
I do the same thing on LinkedIn and on Facebook. This often leads to a conversation where we can determine right from the start if there is a way that I can help them. It’s nice to have free services or a freebie that you can offer at this point. No one wants a sales pitch in the direct messages unless they ask for one. Be sure to be conversational and natural the way you would if you are meeting at a party or a business conference. Keep this social heart a social media in your direct messages and they will be a great tool for finding new clients or new opportunities for collaboration.
Phew! That’s all a lot of work, right?! If you’re overwhelmed, don’t give up. I’m starting a new membership to make this so much easier for clinicians. Starting in August, you can join The Clinician’s Social Media Club to receive monthly customizable social media captions and Canva templates designed with clinicians in mind. Join the waitlist here.