What the Influencers Got Right: Social Media Marketing in Rehab

If you aren’t happy with the results you’re getting on social media, here’s a new approach. Instead of posting the same content you’d expect from a typical rehab clinic, why not take a page from the social media influencers’ playbook?

If you aren’t happy with the results you’re getting on social media, here’s a new approach. This article will give you five ideas to do social media differently. Instead of posting the same content you’d expect from a typical rehab clinic, why not take a page from the social media influencers’ playbook?

I know, you might roll your eyes thinking about “influencers” of rehab social media, but they’re out there! And they gain millions of followers, thousands of engagements per post, and a very loyal community – all benefits that you can tap into! So, keep reading for actionable lessons we can learn from social media influencers.

Using Social Media for Rehab Clinics

I know a lot of rehabilitation providers don’t love using social media for their business, or don’t have the time for it. It can feel like “one more thing” you need to learn and add to your already growing list of to-dos.

After all, why do you even need it when you have a steady flow of referrals?

The answer to that very question will be answered here.

I see a lot of providers constantly posting about their products, services, and why people should be coming to see them because they’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. The problem is you haven’t yet spoken to the person you’re trying to attract about how they feel. You haven’t connected with them.

#1 – Use One Profile

People connect with people before they connect with businesses. If you have a personal profile and a business profile, you’ve just created more work for yourself. Chances are, most people aren’t going to connect with your business page first. I’m not saying having a business profile is unnecessary, but I am saying that you will attract more ideal patients to your personal profile.

I always advise people who are just starting new businesses to use their personal profile because there are already people who follow you and know you.

Make your profile “public” and change the handle (name of your profile) to something that tells people what it is you do. For example:

  • Sarah.Smith.dpt
  • John_Jones_PTA
  • Jjohnson_physicaltherapist
  • Jane_pelvictherapist

I know some of you will say, “I don’t want people on my personal page because I post pics of my kids and stuff.” I get it. However, what you share is up to you. People will identify with you and connect with you simply because they see you living a normal life just like them. People like to know others understand what they go through as parents, or dog owners, or business owners, etc.

Think about it from a prospective patient’s perspective. Say you were choosing between two doctors and you find their social media. One posts solely about their practice and the other posts about their hobbies, sports teams, and pets as well as their office setting… which one seems more approachable? Which profile makes you want to visit them?

I’m sure you would see the one that you identify with because they would “understand you.” Which brings me to my next point:

#2 – What to Post (Five Things)

Too many healthcare providers post only about their business – exercises, medicines, surgeries, procedures, diagnoses, etc. This is a big mistake. You will only attract other followers of medical content. The majority of those are peers in your niche and most likely won’t refer to you.

Instead, pick five things that are uniquely you and talk about them. Here are examples of the five things I post about regularly:

  1. Time with my son / family / dog
  2. Beach volleyball
  3. Traveling
  4. Business and personal growth tools
  5. Aspects of my businesses

This allows people to connect with who I am. Think about it – if other people like sports (beach volleyball in my case) they are more likely to connect with me on that aspect before they do my business. Eventually they will learn about me. They’ll feel like they know, like, and trust me, and are more likely to reach out to me for business inquiries.

When they need your services, potential patients will think, “I know this great physical therapist that I follow in my area and he/she has five kids too.” This may seem crazy to some of you, but I’d much rather connect with someone that will understand my situation versus someone who is constantly talking about how they are the best PT ever because they went to the top school in the country.

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#3 – Insider Language

When you’re posting about rehab topics, be careful not to use too much insider language. Don’t talk to people about their lumbar radiculopathy or their lateral epicondylitis. They have no idea what that is, nor do they care.

Most people communicate with a fifth-grade l vocabulary. Talk to them about their back pain or their elbow pain in language that they can understand. Most importantly, talk about how you can help them fix it so they can sleep at night or lift weights at the gym without pain.

Use language such as, “I understand how it feels to….” And offer them a suggestion about how to deal with it or how doing business with you will give them their life back.

Use empathy first and then authority. Something like, “I understand what it’s like to suffer with back pain and not be able to enjoy time with your family, play that sport you love, or be able to work. It’s frustrating and at times depressing. That is why we are committed to offering you same day appointments with highly qualified physical therapists who can help you get back to living life – pain free.”

This very simply states what you are here to do for your patient.

#4 – WHY Not WHAT

People care more about WHY you do what you do rather than what it is that you do. We’ve all heard the saying, “No one cares what you know until they know how much you care.”

Why is this exercise important and how will it help them achieve a goal? Why did you choose to be a healthcare provider in your specialty? Is it because you saw a family member suffer through back pain and multiple surgeries and you wanted to help those people avoid the same suffering?

These are feeling-based posts rather than technical content. People want to feel heard and understood. Make sure you show that in your language.

A great picture will help catch people’s attention and stop the scroll, but then you have to captivate them in your caption. Don’t be afraid to share experiences – good, bad, or ugly.

#5 – Use Hashtags

You should be using hashtags every time you post. Hashtags place you into a group that other people can search. For instance, if I search #BackPain I’m going to see all the posts that have that particular hashtag – I hope yours is on there.

Make sure you use these types of hashtags:

  1. Niche hashtags that are specific to your services like #Orthopedics, #GeriatricCare, or #HandTherapy
  2. Post specific hashtags that are directly about your post #BackPain or #FallsPrevention or #ACLRecovery
  3. Branded hashtags are specific to your brand. This helps people tag / refer to you on social media and increases engagement. It could simply be your business name, like #SmithPhysicalTherapy or #SmithPTOrlando
  4. Location hashtags help you connect with people in your area like #OrlandoFL or #OrlandoPhysicalTherapy
  5. Trending, if applicable. What’s happening in the world right now that your post could add value to, like #COVID19

Make sure you look at the number of posts that are using that hashtag. For example, adding a hashtag with 10 million posts won’t help your visibility, but it’s fine to include if it’s extremely relevant to your post. You could adjust the wording slightly to find one with a lower count. Similarly, a hashtag with only a handful of posts won’t help you reach people, either. There is no one-size-fits-all rule for hashtags – it takes some trial and error, and it can change for each post.

Closing Thoughts

These five things can help you maximize your social media efforts and attract more potential patients. Social media is becoming the way a lot of people do business. They can connect with you, your office, and the outcomes you offer. Social media presence is a must in this day and age.

Rehab offices that rely solely on referrals can miss out on marketing directly to their ideal patient. Don’t be afraid to show more than your treatments or educational posts.

Bonus – Call to Action

Always, always, always, have a call to action on your posts about your services. Comment here, call us, click the link, etc. People need to be told how to do business with you. Make sure it’s one single call to action – not seven.

Get Help With Your Social Media

Want to know more about how to maximize your social media, save time, do it right the first time, and expend less energy? I offer personalized coaching to help guide you through your business challenges and I can make recommendations for a great company to use if you want to have a reputable company do it for you. With all the people out here offering “social media services,” wouldn’t it be great to connect with a group that does it specifically for healthcare providers? Stop wasting time and money wondering if you made the right choice. Instead, get the help you need to attract your ideal patient.

Send an email to daniel@coachtribby.com with the phrase, “I need social media help,” if you would like to schedule a FREE call with me.


Daniel Tribby, ATC, CEAS, ITAT, CNP, Healthcare Business Coach
Author of “Unf*cking Private Healthcare”
Owner of Regenerative Sport, Spine, & Spa
Co-Host of Edgy Entrepreneur Podcast