Teri Lichtenstein is an APD and director of FoodBytes, a nutrition consulting agency specializing in digital nutrition communications. With Instagram being loved by dietitians and foodies alike, Teri has shared great tips and tools to grow your Instagram community and use this powerful platform to expand your nutrition business.
A gram is not always a gram
When I was studying to become a dietitian, a gram was an essential measurement used to create the perfect nutrition concoction to feed a critically ill patient who required total parenteral nutrition.
Fast forward almost two decades and a “gram” now has the power to reach thousands of people and influence many more on the very successful platform Instagram. Likes and comments on Instagram are 50 times higher than Facebook and Twitter.
It’s one thing to use Instagram to show off your well-staged food porn, but there is so much more that can be achieved including increased website traffic, social shares and engagement, which can in turn help to drive a financial return for your business and increase your nutrition influence.
1) Hash Power
Before you post, find relevant hashtags that will engage with your audience. There are great tools to help you find relevant hashtags, like Tags for Likes. This website allows you to search for popular hashtags that could help you to get maximum views and engagement. The image below shows some general food hashtags that are popular. By using these in your food-related posts, you are likely to reach a wider audience who will be searching for these specific tags.
Another great app is Grama. Grama allows you to perform a hashtag keyword search, in a similar way to how you would use Google keyword search tool. Here is a search I have created for #dietitian, which shows similar hashtags that could be of relevance to the same audience.
2) Dietitians as Designers
Instagram is all about beautiful visual aesthetics. With so many easy to use and free design apps, you certainly don’t need a design degree to create beautiful-looking posts.
Whilst some people seem to spend more time styling and photographing their food than eating it, the rest of us can use free tools like Typorama, that creates graphics that are visually appealing. You just choose a background, type in your words and your creative typography is ready to go. I love Typorama as the search function taps into Creative Commons images, which means these images are available to use without paid royalties (appropriate Creative Commons referencing is required). Below is a search I did for strawberry images. From here I could add in text using a variety of fonts, add my business logo and much more. Branding is extremely important because as your account grows, more people will share your images which helps to increase your brand awareness.
3) Take action
Instagram, like most social media platforms, are places for you to grow a community and let people find you and learn about what you offer. But at some point, you want your community to take an action of value to your business, and this usually means leaving your platform to go somewhere else (e.g. your business website). This action may generate a financial return but not always. It may involve booking an appointment to see a dietitian, purchasing an e-book, signing up for a newsletter or simply contacting you for further information to enquire about your services.
One of the easiest ways to get your community to take an action is to ask your followers to click on the link in your Instagram bio. This will then take them to a key landing page where the action can be performed (e.g. download an e-book). If you do sell products that are visually appealing (e.g. cookbooks), you can use images of these products in your Instagram posts and then send your followers directly to the sales page in the link in your bio.
Instagram is a really fun platform. Unlike Facebook, which is fast becoming a platform that requires publishers to pay to have their content seen, Instagram is still mostly free (for now). Also setting it apart from Facebook is that it is purely chronological and not curated, which means your posts will end up in the feeds of your followers.
Being a pure visual platform, it can work really well for dietitians, especially if you can trigger an emotion of some sort to get higher engagement. Make sure your content is valuable to your target audience and most importantly, have fun with it!
Do you want to take your social media skills to the next level?
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