What are the Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Physical Therapists?

What Are The Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Physical Therapists?

You’re about to set up your first campaign on social media, and you’re wondering what strategy pays the most. This guide will help you find the right strategy for your physical therapy clinic.

One mistake many business owners make when injecting dollars into social media advertising systems is that they lack a well-thought-out strategy. Let’s be clear: Mark Zuckerberg or Elon Musk won’t lose a night of sleep if your campaign doesn’t yield results. 

The core responsibility of social media platforms is to provide advertisers with great tools. Still, the tools are only as powerful as the strategy of the person in charge of the campaign.

Why burn your budget when you can triple your investment with the effective strategies discussed in this guide?

No One Man Should Have All That Power

If you squeezed your company fund to buy airtime on radio or television, there are words you cannot say, guidelines you must follow, and video or audio quality standards you must adhere to. However, digital marketing gives physical therapists more power than many realize to reach the audience they would not have been able to otherwise reach with other forms of marketing. 

The birth of the internet opened a new way of marketing. Digital marketing is a broad term defined as using digital tools to promote your business in any way or form. These tools include websites, social media platforms, search engines, software applications, and gaming sites.

What’s The Best Digital Platform for Physical Therapists?

Any digital platform that allows private individuals to advertise directly or indirectly is a digital tool that can be used in digital marketing. Every online platform has its bane and boon. 

Digital platforms feed off their advertising systems. A good percentage of online platforms are maintained with the money made from ad placements. For instance, Spotify offers a freemium package where listeners can listen to songs with ads. Users who want an ad-free experience will need to pay a monthly subscription. Spotify can be seen as a digital marketing platform for businesses interested in audiences that love music. These businesses can be health businesses, show promoters, local businesses, or simply budding musicians.

Twitter (now known as “X”) uses a similar business prototype. After Twitter Blue launched on the 3rd of June, 2021 – it was clear the platform wanted more revenue, and they weren’t shy to ask directly from users. However, the ad system still funds a good percentage of their operations.

Your preferred platform should be premised on your campaign goals. For example, if you want to reach Gen Z and relatively younger adults, TikTok is the place to be. On the other hand, if your target audience is older adults, you should consider Facebook and its subsidiaries.

What Are The Best Digital Marketing Strategies for Physical Therapists?

Every strategy discussed below depends on three factors, including but not limited to content quality, time to create content, ad budget, consistency of posting, brand quality, etc. The strategies work when done properly with the right tools. 

Below are the 6 strategies you must incorporate into your physical therapy digital marketing campaign.

1. Leverage great short-form video content for free organic traffic

A recent study by Sprout Social, a globally recognized social engagement platform, revealed that “In 2022, the percentage of consumers finding short-form videos as the most engaging type of social media content increased to 66%, up from 50% in 2020.”

Since Instagram launched the Reels feature, the engagement of regular posts and pictures reduced dramatically. Users prefer videos to other media formats. 

To build relationships with Instagram users, create more video content and post them as Instagram reels. You can create a long video, then create short reels from it.

The rule is similar for TikTok. Short video content outperforms longer content. The reverse is the case on YouTube — longer videos trump shorter ones.

Your paid ad campaigns on any platform should only complement performance in the green zone. My favorite rule for promoting videos on social media is “Any video that performs well organically will yield healthy traffic when promoted” 

Digital Marketing is not just about inputting your card details on Facebook ad manager and getting debited by the Zucks of the world. About 20-40% of your traffic should come from the green zone (organic followers).

People like to follow brands they trust and have bonded with over time. Before introducing the call-to-action triggers, you must get familiar and connect with your audience.

According to Joey Akan, a journalist, and specialist in digital marketing, the trick to getting high engagement on social media boils down to connectivity. Connecting with people on social media increases their trust, boosting your brand reputation. 

You can connect better with your audience using short-form video content like Reels on Instagram, TikTok video, and YouTube shorts.

2. Generate free organic traffic by following the steps below:

a. Create shareable content

The share button is the most powerful tool on social media. If enough people share your content on Instagram, the algorithm will push your content to the Explore page for more visibility. It is the “word of mouth” of the internet. 

According to Adobe, shares and saves are the two "most valuable types" of engagement determining what content succeeds on Instagram. Both actions depict that users find your content useful, and the algorithm rewards your content with more exposure.

No matter how resourceful your content is, if people cannot connect with it on a deeper level, they will most likely not share it. Adding humor, exciting headline, background music, and lovable scenes can get you in front of millions of Instagram users for free.

b. Be consistent 

Shopify recommends that brands post "at least once a day." They advise brands to post "3 stories a day" for Instagram stories.

The regularity of your content helps you know the best time to post and the elements or pattern your audience prefers. The best part of posting consistently is that it teaches the algorithm about your type of content and the best audience. 

Once you can establish your audience, the algorithm can push your content to lookalike audiences (people with similar preferences to your fans)

c. Make the best use of hashtags

Opposite to popular belief, hashtags are not dead. Many users stopped using hashtags because they got shadow banned for abusing keywords. If you use irrelevant keywords and the hashtag followers report your post as “irrelevant,” you will get shadowbanned from using the hashtag. 

Also, using too many hashtags per post can easily get your account flagged. According to Instagram, the hashtag limit is thirty various hashtags per post. It was last updated on September 2021. On TikTok, there is no hashtag limit, but you cannot post more than 300 characters per post.

These hashtags can be broad or ultra-specific. Examples include #mobilityexercises, #PTEducation, #rehabilitation, #painrelief, and many more. It is important to note that these hashtags can change over time, and you must keep your hashtag library updated to keep enjoying the feature. 

Hashtags help you target fans that are interested in your field. They can be used to get organic exposure and ad-based exposure. In addition, you need to comply with the hashtag limit per post. 

d. Engage your audience

Don’t drive your audiences away with your silence. If someone asks a question via the comment section, the polite thing to do is reply. At best, you can make a video to answer their questions. That would show other timid users that you have a listening ear and care about your followers. 

e. Collaborate with other physical therapists

The customers you are looking for are already gathered on the accounts of other influencers, popular professionals, new blogs, and health brands. One of the cheapest ways to stay relevant is to Collaborate with these popular individuals and engage their fanbases in their comment section.

A thoughtful or humorous comment can get you more followers, provided you let them know you are a professional willing to help. 

f. Do more than posting: Go live and engage

If all you do is post cool pictures and videos, you are underutilizing the power of social media. Features such as stories and live streaming will help you strengthen your fanbase and show the human part of you.

Best believe people don't connect with companies. Instead, they connect with people with interesting brands with memorable personalities. When navigating the online sphere, you emit the energy you want to get. And people with similar energies would converge. Simple as ABC.

The best time to start live videos is when a controversial issue is happening in your industry or concerning a topic related to your brand.

You are probably thinking – “but I'm a medical professional, not an influencer or celebrity. You're right.” However, to attain organic success on social media, you need to let go of the brand mask and expose your humanity.

Companies that won't do that must spend a lot of money (billions of dollars). Uber or Apple kind of marketing budget. Yeah, that's right.

g. Make data your compass

Data is the currency of the internet. Credible data lets you get your brand message across to the right audience. Without enough data, you'd be burning money on unfruitful campaigns.

Promoting your content to an untargeted audience is futile. Precision is the selling point of Google, Facebook, and Instagram ad services. Without being able to target an exact audience, there's no point in advertising in the first place.

What you need to do after every campaign is to analyze the obtained data and adapt to it. If your content is doing great in another part of your city, you might want to double down on that region. 

When initiating a campaign, have it at the back of your mind that your initial plan is bound to change. There's no absolute blueprint for nurturing a successful campaign.

3. Niche Down to Stand Out

How would you feel if you got into the mall to get groceries and every item was jam-packed? Toiletries, groceries, and clothes are together. There is no proper direction on where to turn when searching for products. Then, customers must browse through the mall to locate and purchase goods. It doesn’t make sense, right? 

Although physical therapy is a niche, you'd have to narrow it down to stand out from other physical therapy brands on Instagram. For instance, you can specialize in providing resourceful content regarding children, adults, elderly ones, or athletes. Your category can also be based on a part of the human body. The slimmer your category, the easier it is to stand out from the social media noise.

When done perfectly, niche branding can get you popular on social media within days or weeks.

What if my brand covers an expanse of niches? The ultimate solution is to create several subpages focusing on these different areas. A business can have multiple pages if they have the resources to maintain and consistently brand all pages.

In addition, ultra-specific hashtags get you seen by the right people. Those that care about the topics would see your posts on their feed.

4. Start a Community

Brands with no fan bases have no option but to spend 2x the budgets expended by similar brands of the same size. A dedicated audience will leave the algorithm no choice but to push your content their way.

A solid community isn’t just made up of the average Joe. It also includes fellow professionals, reviewers, and fans caring about your brand. 

A good example is Physiogram, a popular physical therapy page on Instagram. They have 191,000 followers on Instagram. Every time Physiogram drops a post, their followers, especially those with their push notifications on, will see their posts. They’ve attracted a large community of people who genuinely care about their services, and Instagram rewards them with consistent exposure.

The algorithms of many social media sites help users fit into communities by studying their shared patterns and directing them to the most trendy content on specific topics.

Remember, no one falls in love with a product or a service. They end up falling for brands. You do not have to be as big as Apple or Tesla to command a loyal following online. You just have to make people care about your brand. 

The ultimate goal is to become influential online and a force in your region. That way, customers would trust you with their health even when they haven’t patronized or know anyone that has done so. 

If you can establish a physical therapy brand that people love, you can open a fitness-type clothing company tomorrow. Brands are like blank cheques of an account with unlimited money, you can write whatever amount you desire.

Below are the tools you would need to start a community online:

a. Blog

Microblogging on Instagram is not enough, especially if you run a company and not a blogging brand. A blog is a double-edged sword, it helps you gain more Domain Authority on Google while offering a landing page and conversion spot for interested users. 

Regularly posting on a blog is equally as important as creating one. An outdated blog does more harm to your brand. How? Users would assume you are no longer in business when they discover it's been a while since you posted. 

Although you can hire a web developer to help you create your company’s blog, you can also create it yourself with DIY platforms like WordPress, Medium, Blogger, Squarespace, Joomla, Drupal, Weebly, etc.  

b. Newsletter

Blogs and websites can become obsolete pretty quickly when old users become too busy to check out your darling young blog posts. To prevent traffic stagnancy, you need to be able to reach them, which they cannot do without checking – their email.  

Newsletters provide constant updates, content, or news to your consenting subscribers through email. Every newsletter needs a signup page that pops up when users are on your site. In addition, they can visit the signup page via links you provide on social media.

The users would have to manually input their email addresses on your signup page and submit them before you can send them newsletters. It is important that you do not buy people’s emails from illegal data-scraping platforms. Doing so can alienate your brand from people and paint you as an annoying, desperate physical therapist. The right way is always the best path.

The platforms you need to create and manage your newsletter platform include; 

  • Mailchimp
  • SendinBlue
  • ConvertKit
  • GetResponse
  • Campaign Monitor
  • MailerLite
  • Substack
  • Revue
  • AWeber.  

c. Community management software

Like all things social, managing a community can be quite exhausting. In the same way, you need tools like Sprout Social to manage and schedule your posts, you also need software for flawless community management. Community management tools include;

  • Vanilla Forum
  • Discourse
  • NodeBB
  • PhpBB
  • Invision community
  • Hiverbrite
  • Muut
  • BuddyPress
  • Higher Logic
  • Mighty Networks. 

These tools support seamless community creation, task automation, and real-time interactions. Please note that their features vary. They all cater to different types of brands. Make proper research about the aforementioned community management tools before committing to one.

5. Do More of What Works Best 

In a bid to “try out new ideas,” most physical therapy brands are guilty of not milking a successful idea. Let’s say a post of you edu-taining your audience while walking on a street goes viral; you should tailor subsequent posts in the same format. Find newer streets to create the same type of content. However, try switching up your story every time to avoid making boring videos.

6. Don’t Be Afraid to Jump on Popular Trends

I know most physical therapy brands won’t want to be seen as attention seekers, but digital marketing requires a bit of attention seeking. Earlier, we talked about standing out by niching down. Here, you need to do more of what your audience already approves. And hop on trendy ideas.

It’s Christmas time, so why not wear a Santa Claus hat in your videos? 

News about Biden’s leg pain leaks out to the media. Why not make a video discussing what people can do when their legs hurt like Biden’s? 

Ronaldo is out of season because of a knee injury. Why not make a video on how upcoming footballers can avoid knee injuries and recover from the condition? 

Trendy ideas are endless. All you have to do is search for what’s popping up and create your content around it.

7. Please Run Ads (influencer and regular ads)

Yes, we told you not to rely only on paid ads. That advice is still relevant. But guess what’s more unrealistic than running paid ads? Your guess is as good as ours — not running paid ads.

Instagram is a business, and they survive on ad revenue. They want you to give them money for more exposure. And you’ll do just that if you want to reach more Instagram users.

At some point, the organic reach would dip, and you would need to run paid ads to gain new followers. 

If you have a sufficient budget and want a more organic approach to paid advertisement, you can collaborate with influencers in the niches you want to break into. Let’s say you need athletes in your region to see your physical therapy program, you can partner with fitness influencers. Influencers charge brands based on their audience size and engagement metric. The higher the follower count, the higher the amount required.

You can either go for a bunch of micro-influencers or a few well-known celebrities. In line with Later's free Creator Rates Report, Instagram influencers charge $100 to $5K.

Key Takeaways

  • Nothing beats great content.
  • Put your ad budget behind posts that perform well organically. If 100 people liked this, more people would when it gets more exposure.
  • Mix organic and paid ads strategy.
  • Post consistently.
  • Follow trends and use relevant hashtags.
  • Collaborate with influencers in the physical therapy niche.

Final Thoughts

Using the above-mentioned strategies, you can create a brand that attracts the right set of customers. Let’s say you want to expand your business, you sell more goods and services to your existing audience. Once your audience is loyal to your physical therapy brand, the sky will be your starting point.