Mental health is a sensitive topic and one that’s difficult to navigate on social media.
Only recently has society acknowledged that bringing mental health into the light rather than hiding it under a rock would be better for the 1 in 5 U.S. adults and their families and communities who are affected by these issues in a given year.
In addition, patients need their privacy in order to heal, something that HIPAA ensures is not breached.
So how do you market your mental health clinic on social media while advocating for and protecting your patients?
We believe that these two ideas are not exclusive, but in fact, complimentary!
Today, we’re going to talk about appropriate voice for the mental health industry on each of the top 3 social media platforms, as well as how frequently you should be posting to get engagement.
We’re also going to be sharing 11 safe post ideas that you can use right away and an introduction to Facebook boosted posts!
Our hope is that this guide will help you sort out the nuances of mental health on social media so that you can succeed.
Best wishes to you as you tackle this next step in your marketing journey!
If you want to take a look at a successful mental health social media campaign, check out our work for Juneau Youth Services!
An Overview of the #1 Social Media Platform: Facebook
We’ve all heard the chatter: “Social media users are leaving Facebook.”
Although this may be true, even with the loss of an estimated 15 million users within the last two years, Facebook still has the lion share of users at 85% of the internet users worldwide (excluding China).
This makes Facebook the top social media platform in the U.S. despite bad press, a drop in the stock market, a loss of users, and ever-growing competition.
Because Facebook is a popular platform for everyone, the content that performs best is based on shared humanity.
The voice of your mental health clinic on Facebook should be personal yet professional but not cold and stuffy.
Seek to draw ties and make connections with your followers and followers to be.
That said, of course, do not share the personal names, faces, and details of your mental health patients.
Do this with your staff instead (with their permission) or by sharing anonymous stories that no one can make inferences from.
You can also provide mental health education to people in a way that is not cold but conveys the importance of the information to their everyday life.
We will talk more about post ideas later on in this article.
Your posting schedule on Facebook should be 3-5 times per week.
Many of our clients are on a posting schedule of every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
At this rate, you are creating content consistently enough to draw attention but not too frequently so as to push people away.
Why You Should Be Using Instagram for Your Mental Health Clinic
Instagram is Facebook’s product that is performing best with a younger demographic.
For this reason, if many of your mental health patients are millennials or generation z, you should be using Instagram.
Instagram’s share of the marketplace is 63% of internet users.
This makes Instagram the #2 social media platform in the U.S. (not including YouTube, which is a video platform).
Instagram is a visual media-oriented platform with posts based on pictures first before text.
It’s like Facebook, only flipped on its head.
Instagram does not allow for sharing and demotes messy-looking memes and images that would perform perfectly well on Facebook.
The content that performs best on Instagram is composed of clean, artistically-angled photographs with creative, thoughtful, poetic or witty copy.
Your voice on Instagram should not be too different from Facebook with one exception.
You can experiment more with the artistic side of personal expression and social justice around mental health on Instagram.
The best way to think of Instagram is as an art gallery.
Post to Instagram 1-2 times per week.
It is very important that you maintain a more conservative posting schedule on Instagram than Facebook because Instagram penalizes brands who post too much.
On both Facebook and Instagram, you should be aiming for quality before quantity.
The Value of LinkedIn Among Social Media
Although LinkedIn is not the third most popular social media platform out there (Twitter and even Google+ are bigger), it still has 40% of internet users and it is very important for one particular niche audience: B2B.
If much of the marketing of your mental health clinic is directed toward other practices and organizations for referrals, you should be on LinkedIn.
Your voice on LinkedIn should definitely lean more on the professional side than personal, although a clever mix of personal and professional is what typically performs best.
People use LinkedIn to find business connections, but they also want to know that the people they are working with are in fact, people.
A good posting schedule for LinkedIn is the same as that for Facebook, 3-5 times per week.
How to Help Your Mental Health Clinic Thrive on Social Media
What is the best way to help your mental health clinic thrive on social media?
Plan posts ahead of time and lay everything out in an editorial calendar.
Nailing the voice and posting schedule for a particular social media platform is one thing, consistently coming up with creative content to those ends is quite another.
Even the best social media writers struggle to produce brilliant images and copy when put on the spot.
Here are a few post types you may want to consider:
1. Education About Mental Health
As we mentioned at the beginning of this article, it is only recently that people have begun openly talking about mental health.
There is a lot of opportunity for education in your field.
Include posts in your editorial calendar that use powerful statistics about mental health and explain what is really going on that people might not expect.
It is important not to sound condescending with educational posts, so communicate in a way that lifts people up.
It is also important not to sound pessimistic about mental health–focus on the positive without ignoring the negative.
Show people how these issues affect them and how much it matters for them to take action.
2. Blog/Article Shares to Social Media
Another great way to educate is through a blog or by sharing other experts’ research and opinions.
Linking to more information on a topic can be a great way to lend credibility to the matter.
Blogs and articles perform better on Facebook and LinkedIn than Instagram.
3. Human Interest Stories
This is perhaps the most important post type we can discuss today.
Social media is meant to be social, so people respond incredibly well to faces and stories.
As much as you can, without ignoring HIPAA and with protecting your patients, share mental health stories that will make people’s hearts melt.
This post format works well across all three platforms.
For an excellent example of human interest in action on social media, check out Humans of New York.
4. Behind the Scenes at the Mental Health Clinic
Although you are limited in what you can show “behind the scenes” at a mental health clinic, there are still ways you can creatively show your staff at work to make things happen every day.
The importance of behind the scenes posts is that they communicate transparency.
They allow your followers to see who they will be engaging with and in what environment before they become a patient or register one of their patients or family members.
5. Lifestyle Social Media Marketing
Lifestyle social media marketing is a brilliant way to tie your services into the lifestyle that your patients (or their referrers) would like to achieve.
A lifestyle post shows people in the same demographic as your target audience happy, smiling, and enjoying the benefits of your services.
The best lifestyle posts are not in your clinic, but out and about in everyday life; showing how when people use your services, their entire life is impacted for the better.
Video is the most easily consumed format of media available, making it the most engaging post type we can recommend.
Consider recording video of your staff talking about mental health issues and the importance of treatment.
Or maybe create something more artistic that walks through the life of someone struggling with their mental health.
Does your mental health clinic participate in any community events or put on any events for the community?
An event is an excellent opportunity to create great content for social media.
You could live-stream the event or create a video highlight reel of key moments.
You could also set up a selfie booth that allows your event participants to do the content creation for you.
Sky’s the limit when it comes to event content.
If you ever run promotions at your mental health clinic, you should be sharing them on your social media.
You can also use your social media marketing as an opportunity to run and promote discounts if you have never done so before.
9. Social Media Contests
We love, love, love social media contests.
It is hard not to earn engagement on social media when you are offering people awesome, free stuff.
A popular format that we use is the photo contest.
Followers are required to submit a photo around a particular theme, say, “What makes you happy?”
Your staff can get involved too in voting on a winner.
10. Mental Health Quizzes
Quizzes are also fantastically easy ways to earn engagement.
They give you the opportunity to collect email addresses from potential leads and interested parties.
Don’t know what a social media quiz is?
If you have ever visited a website like BuzzFeed and found out something like, “What flavor of taco are you?” you know what a social media quiz is.
In the topic space of mental health, we might recommend something like, “What does the place you’ve always dreamed of living at say about your mood?”
11. Messaging Campaigns
Messaging campaigns are something we put to use whenever we want to tackle a negative perception about our industry or business or create a positive one.
For example, your mental health clinic might specialize in personalized care, but maybe few people in your community know about that.
You could create a series of posts that reinforce this particular message to make sure it sticks in people’s minds.
An Intro to Facebook Boosted Posts
Have you ever wondered what that little, blue “Boost Post” button was for at the bottom of the posts on your mental health clinic’s Facebook page?
This is where you can pay to give your post a reach beyond your immediate followers (the people who have liked your page).
If you want to grow your following and target new people for your mental health clinic, you will have to “pay to play.”
It is simply the way that Facebook for businesses works.
When you click the “Boost Post” button, you are given options to create an audience, pick a budget, and schedule a timeline for your post to run as a paid advertisement.
We highly recommend that you give this a try if you want to see significant results from your social media marketing, however, it can take some learning and adjustment.
Facebook advertising is best managed through Facebook Ads Manager.
You can learn more in our blog, Facebook Ads Manager: What to Look for and How to Make It Work.
We really hope these suggestions help you succeed in marketing your mental health clinic on social media!
Ideally, you are equipped with a few post ideas that you can implement right away, in the right channel, at the right schedule, using the right voice.
Talking about mental health shouldn’t be difficult, no matter the platform.
Let’s take down the taboo surrounding mental health together!
If you are still struggling or you would like the assistance of an expert social media team, we would love to talk with you.
Please schedule a free consultation with one of the owners so that we can listen to your needs and make an informed recommendation.
We look forward to hearing from you!