I took the month of January to really focus on ways to make my Instagram better. Unfortunately, there are no social media marketing classes in graduate school for the SLP. (Wouldn’t that be awesome though?!) When I started Speech Chick Therapy’s Instagram several years ago, I did absolutely no research. I did not really think about it. You just post pictures of your therapy stuff and like/comment on others’ stuff, right? WRONG!! There’s SO MUCH more to it! So, here’s what I learned.
Planning SLP Content for Instagram
I never thought about planning my Instagram content. After spending a month researching, I learned how important it is to plan your content, even for the SLP. There have been many days in the past when I posted something just to post. Now, I have a weekly and monthly calendar that has every post planned out. I no longer have to find something to post or worry about posting something irrelevant to my feed. I bought a large wall calendar that holds all of my social media content. I also made a weekly sheet of IG posts, blog posts, newsletter content, and TpT content. The weekly sheet is easily transported during the week. During a cancellation, I can easily see what I need to have ready for the next day or two. Planoly is an app I started using and I love it! I had used Hootsuite in the past but had gotten away from it. Planoly allows me to schedule all my posts, input the hashtags I need and see how it will look in my feed. It also gives analytics that I am still learning how to use to my advantage. One of the positives I like is that I can categorize my hashtags so that I can use the ones I need according to the picture. If I post a picture of therapy materials, I can use my “therapy” hashtags.
The next thing I learned during my “focus research” was consistency is SUPER important! Posting regularly is a major component to growing your Instagram following. People seeing your “stuff” on a regular basis allows them to become familiar with you and your business-whether it’s a private practice or a TpT store/blog. If you only post every once in a while, your followers do not get to know you or your business. They aren’t as likely to continue to follow you either since they have not connected with you. I have made it a goal to post 2x a day, even on the weekends. Yes, WEEKENDS! This is where Planoly (or any scheduling app) comes in handy!
Consistency applies to how your photo looks, not just how often you post. Using the same filter, brand colors, and overall “feel” of the picture is important to maintaining consistency. These are areas I NEVER considered before.
Be a Social Butterfly
You can post the most beautiful pictures consistently but if you don’t engage, it does not matter! This is where I tend to need some work. I get busy during my day. Then I do not take the time to respond to comments on my material or comment on others. My goal for the month of February to continue to respond and socialize more. The plan is to take a few minutes at lunch and carve out a little time at night to do this. With the new algorithm on Instagram, I learned that you should respond to a comment quickly to improve your visibility. The ideal time of response is 60 minutes.
Hashtags and Stories
Both of these are big players in getting noticed on Instagram. I have not been big in IG stories but I am trying to improve there. Stories do not take as much planning as your feed because they disappear in 24 hours. I learned that stories can be used for behind the scenes, product teasers or other feed related content. My goal in February to post an IG story at 3-4x a week. I never used Snapchat, so I guess that is why I haven’t jumped on the IG story bandwagon. But for the sake of improving my Instagram, I will.
Hashtags are necessary if you want to be discovered on IG. The gurus say you can use up 30 hashtags, but others say you appear “spammy” with that many. I use the hashtags that are relevant to my post. I think you should use the number you feel comfortable with. My hashtags are a mix of large, medium and small ones. Molly Marshall’s Hashtag Camp is a great little course that can help you with hashtags. I took it over the New Year’s holiday and it was a huge help!
The goal of January was to grow my Instagram organically. That means no buying followers, no follow/unfollow tactics or being fake! I want to engage with genuine followers who enjoy my content AND I enjoy theirs. While I want to grow my numbers, I would rather enjoy the engagement I experience with other awesome SLPs in great little community! I was able to add about 100 genuine followers. I did experience some “follow/unfollowers” which I did not find very nice. I started noticing my numbers fluctuate so I downloaded an app called “Followers+.” It’s a free app but you can upgrade to the Pro version. I have been using the free version but will probably upgrade soon. That’s when I figured out people would unfollow as soon as I followed them back.
Instagram is an interesting marketing tool for SLPs whether you are in private practice or on TpT. Be sure to take advantage of the link in your profile! Promote your website or TpT store!! This is the only place in Instagram that you can post a clickable link so don’t let it go to waste. I use LinkTree to have more than 1 link. My LinkTree can take you to my blog, TpT store or YouTube Channel. You can find my latest blog post or my most recent TpT product.
Missed the first part of this blog? Check out this post which includes some great resources!