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Reel 'em In: 10 Ways Rehab Therapists Can Utilize Instagram Reels to Attract More Patients

Use these 10 Instagram Reels tips to create engaging content that’ll catch more patients’ attention—and lure them into your clinic.

Ryan Giebel
5 min read
May 17, 2023
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Rehab therapists looking to tap into the direct-to-patient referral could consider adding Reels to their marketing strategy—if it makes sense for the audience you’re trying to reach, of course. With that, we’ve outlined 10 tips where rehab therapists can utilize Instagram Reels to drive patients from their smartphones to your clinic.

1. Be intentional. 

The biggest piece of advice we have for creating a successful Instagram Reel strategy is to do it with intention. Before posting, you must be clear on why you want to post. Is it to gain more followers, educate and attract potential patients, re-engage past patients, or maybe network more with other professionals? There is no wrong answer—and your strategy could be a combination of these goals—but ultimately, the decision of what’s best for your practice rests with you.

 As Julie Wiebe, PT, DPT, President of Julie Wiebe Physical Therapy and Clinical Assistant Professor at the University of Michigan – Flint, stated, “Understand your why. You already have expertise, so share, and post what feeds to your wheelhouse. Have a good starting point to build up from—don’t just post because everyone else is doing it.”

Your timing also plays a role in posting intentionally. Knowing when your target audience is most likely to see your Reels and posts is critical, so use the data available to you for greater insight. But, more on that later. For now, just know that being intentional and having a clear direction for marketing your practice will help you create cohesive, meaningful content.

2. Show engagement with your people.

Now, onto the ideas portion of this article. Wiebe explained that an easy way to create more buzz around your Reels is to make some community focused. Attend events that align with your brand and post a video of you interacting with other participants. Find a local stairway that people use to exercise (like the infamous “Rocky Steps” or the Manitou Incline) and create a fun workout incorporating the landmark. Or, use a local statue as a stretching apparatus (legally of course), and show yourself performing an activity that piques the interest of your target population.

3. Showcase clinic facilities and equipment.

Take your Reels from the community and into your clinic to show Instagram users (a.k.a. future patients) what your space has to offer them and why it's the clinic they want to be in. Offer behind-the-scenes glimpses of what goes on in your clinic, such as team meetings, staff training, or patient consultations. This is a great opportunity to show prospective and current patients what your clinic has to offer—and infuse a little personality into your content. People love seeing people on Instagram, and especially enjoy seeing that they’re real people with whom they can relate.

4. Highlight success stories. 

No one loves a success story more than a patient looking for optimal outcomes after a scary injury. To that end, sharing success stories of patients who have achieved their rehab goals through your clinic will help build trust and credibility with potential patients. Similarly, posting an educational Reel demonstrating how effective your services—like dry needling—can be in treating a variety of conditions (like what Domenic Mainelli, PT, DPT, does in his Instagram feed) is an awesome way to show your expertise and build credibility.

Before posting any Reels of clinic or your services, however, make sure you are following all HIPAA guidelines and getting documented consent for any social media activity that involves your patients. 

5. Focus on education.

As a PT and educational instructor, myself, I often remind patients and students that we are the musculoskeletal (MSK) experts. Therefore, you don’t need to be the most creative or outrageous influencer to generate good content. Use your specific MSK passion to create Reels that align with your clientele’s needs and desires. 

JP Gloria’s Instagram is a prime example of this. Gloria caters to runners looking to learn more about their mechanics to improve their technique or why certain injuries tend to affect these athletes. And while some of these accounts have the backing of a production team, you don't have to go to those lengths—there are quite a few tools available online to help you get started.

6. Collaborate with local businesses.

One quick engagement tip for providers is to link up with fellow businesses or other healthcare providers in your area. These partnerships can help expand your online community, in turn helping to grow your “in real life” community. To do this, you can post a Reel of you or your team engaging community members at a local gym or race even. This type of content can help highlight the quality of care you provide along with demonstrating your commitment to the well-being of your community—a true win-win!

7. Use trending hashtags. 

Hashtags are not new, but that does not mean their importance has dwindled. Just search #physicaltherapy, #rehabilitation, #healthylifestyle, or #traveltherapy to see just how useful hashtags are in aggregating posts around specific topics—thus, how much more visible your posts can be with the right hashtag. For example, the travel therapy world comes with lots of questions, and Travel Therapy Mentor does a great job of using hashtags to boost their posts and Reels to the top of related searches in Instagram. This approach provides people with the answers they were after as well as establishing Travel Therapy Mentor as experts in their field.

8. Encourage followers to take action.

Using Instagram to attract prospective patients means there are some rehab therapy marketing best practices every provider should employ—especially the call-to-action (CTA). By using a strong CTA at the end of your Instagram Reel, you can make it easy for patients to book an appointment or contact your clinic for more information.

Utilizing witty CTAs can definitely spice up your Reel, but remember that you are a movement expert—so, give your target audience a directive that solves whatever problem you are intending to address. They’ll appreciate you all the more for your clear communication.

9. Track the success of your Reels.

What would a digital application be without data and analytics? Luckily, you don’t need to hire a marketing firm to do this since Instagram has many built-in functions to help you track the success of your posts and Reels. Use this data to refine your Instagram Reel strategy and create content that organically generates engagement. Taking this a step further, you can boost posts that perform well on their own for maximum results.

Beyond some of its analytics functions, you can also add Instagram to your list of "How did you hear about us?” options on your intake forms and use this information to see how successful your outreach on Instagram really is. 

10. Use Instagram’s algorithm to your advantage.

According to this resource from, “If your videos are original, entertaining, interesting, and high-res, the Instagram Reels algorithm is more likely to suggest it.” The visual content you create for your target audience should engage them to interact through likes, spend time on your feed, and post comments. Employ those keys, and the algorithm will push your Reels—and similar ones—to the forefront of followers’ future feeds. 

Rehab therapists can utilize Instagram Reels to engage your target audience, widen your reach, and produce a steady stream of new patients coming through your doors. With a little creativity and savvy messaging, you can create intentional content that reflects your practice’s mission and culture. 

If you’re in need of further guidance on a marketing plan—and more specifically, how to successfully incorporate social media within it—then check out our free guide for modern marketing.


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