The best practices for hashtags have changed exponentially in the past few years. We’re here to demystify how they really work and how you can use hashtags as a therapist to categorize your content in a way that improves reach, engagement, and brand awareness.
Originating on Twitter in 2007, hashtags have become a staple feature of most digital media channels. In the beginning stages of social media, the right hashtags could help you directly gain authentic engagement and followers. Hashtags were a major factor in posts appearing on Instagram’s explore page.
But, in 2022, things have changed. Now, hashtags are used by most platforms as a way to label and categorize posts. They group content together based on a common topic, which makes them easier to find for those interested in that particular topic. They can connect posts related to an event, conversation, or theme. Being a part of the ongoing conversations regarding mental health on social media through hashtags can lend authority to your name and bolster your practice’s brand identity.
Before you start implementing a hashtag strategy to attract therapy clients or create brand awareness, here are some basics.
While hashtags can help your social media strategy, you should not focus all your time and energy on planning what hashtags to use. Focus primarily on creating engaging, authentic content. Excellent hashtags won’t save a mediocre post, but they can support the reach of a quality post.
Your hashtag strategy could vary greatly as a therapist, depending on which platforms you use for marketing your business and existing online.
With Twitter’s 280-character post limit, you want to make sure that you make your hashtags count. They recommend using no more than one or two hashtags in your post.
Be intentional with the few hashtags you use on TikTok because your caption is limited to only 100 characters. You will often see users tagging their videos with #fyp or #foryou in an attempt to appear on users’ “for you page” or feed, but there is no confirmation that this actually helps performance.
Try using a mix of location-based hashtags, branded hashtags, and niche hashtags on each Instagram post. You will also want to add a few unique hashtags for every post to further categorize your content and to avoid using the same exact hashtag group on every post. Doing so would fall under Instagram’s definition of “posting repetitive content,” which is not allowed by the platform and is punished by its algorithm.
According to a recent update from Instagram, you should include hashtags in the caption of your post, not in the comments, for best results. The number of hashtags to include on Instagram has been a highly debated topic. Although you can include up to 30, Instagram advised last year to include 3-5 with each post, and that 10-20 tags are too many. However, a 2021 study from Later found that the reach of posts with 20 hashtags out-performed posts with other numbers of hashtags, and posts with 30 hashtags had the second-highest reach. Posts with 30 hashtags gained the highest engagement. All this to say, you may want to experiment with the number and see what works best for you.
You can use up to 10 hashtags in an Instagram Reel. Although Instagram has not commented on the importance of hashtags with Reels, we think it’s a good idea to include them because Reels come up in any hashtag search.
Because Facebook and Instagram are owned by the same company, it’s recommended that you use the same hashtags on Facebook that you do on Instagram. However, the value of hashtags on Facebook has been debated because they are not one of the primary ways Facebook’s algorithm shows content to users. The algorithm is more focused on what users have engaged with, serving them similar posts.
LinkedIn functions similarly to Facebook, showing users posts based on what they’ve engaged with. Try using hashtags as a way to connect with niche audiences on LinkedIn.
LinkedIn has a few unique features when it comes to hashtags. First, when you begin typing a hashtag, related tags are recommended. Second, you can add up to three hashtag topics that matter to your business page. To do this, select “edit page” and then scroll down to “hashtags” under “community.”
We’ve broken hashtags down into five categories. Each of these types of tags has a purpose, but don’t feel like you need to use all five with each post.
As a service-based business, especially someone who mainly serves clients in-person rather than online, you should be using location hashtags. These help you connect with your community and build awareness in your local area. For a practice located in Little Rock, Arkansas, they could use tags like #littlerock , #northlittlerock , or #pulaskicounty .
When posting to Instagram as a therapist who serves clients in person, you will want to make sure to take advantage of the geotag feature in addition to hashtags. When posting, tap “add location” and use your best-fitting city, town, or county name. Users will see your post if they visit the geolocation tag for that area.
As a therapist, you can use hashtags to start or contribute to an important conversation happening in the mental health space. Make sure you take note of important dates or months and tag your content surrounding them. For example, May is Mental Health Awareness Month. If you were to share a post related to this topic, you should try using hashtags like #mentalhealthawareness or #mentalhealthmatters .
Combining location-based and awareness hashtags, you can use hashtags to categorize a post addressing an important issue impacting your community. For example, if your practice is located in Sacramento and you discuss the mental health impacts of the recent tragic shooting that happened, you could use hashtags like #sacramentostrong .
This is where the types of services you offer and who you offer them to come into play. Niche hashtags are specific to the demographic you are targeting. For instance, as a New York City therapist marketing a webinar to parents, you could use #NYCMomLife .
A branded hashtag should be unique to you, using your business name, a branded phrase or word, or a campaign slogan. They build your brand identity and awareness by communicating important facets of who you are. You can use them to create or contribute to conversations on social media.
When users become familiar with your branded hashtags, they’re more likely to use them, creating user-generated content for you. In the case of a therapist or counselor, your clients may not want to post about their therapy experience publicly. However, other accounts in the mental health space may. These could be thought leaders, other clinicians at your practice, interns, community partners in your network, or those that engage with your online content.
Sometimes, hashtags can help give your post caption context. Maybe you want to keep your caption brief, so you label it with a hashtag to help users understand your point.
Like many social media trends, specific trending hashtags come and go quickly. Here are some of the currently trending hashtags to try using on your posts. But remember, don’t copy and paste these into your caption! Only use the tags that are relevant to your content.
Stay on top of trending mental health hashtags by being actively engaged on the platform you’re posting to and checking in on mental health thought leaders and competitors. If you’re still stumped, you can use a free hashtag generator to find the top tags and get your ideas flowing.
Save your hashtags in a document or the notes app on your phone for convenient copying and pasting into a new caption. As we’ve said above, do not use the same set of tags for every single post. However, what you can do is create multiple sets of hashtags for different types of posts, and add a few unique hashtags specific to the post when you go to share. For example, you could have one set of hashtags for content that focuses on trauma recovery, and another set for content discussing the latest updates from your practice.
As a busy clinician or private practice owner, outsourcing your marketing efforts to an expert can take a weight off of your shoulders. At Theory About That, our team specializes in marketing for those in the field of mental health. Contact us or schedule a call to find out how we can help!