Instagram Growth for Dietitians or Dietetic Students

Your 5-Step Guide to Grow on Instagram as a Dietitian or Dietetic Student

Prefer to listen? Check out episode #47 of The Dietitian Success Podcast

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Social media is an important part of marketing yourself as a dietitian or nutrition student. But without the right strategy, it can be frustrating and downright discouraging.

Today, we’re sharing the 5-step framework to grow on Instagram and beyond as a dietitian or dietetic student. Learn the strategies that will help you grow your social media presence while attracting the right people, staying true to your message, and having a bit of fun too!


Step 1: Show up consistently

On Instagram, showing up consistently means posting to your feed and adding to your Instagram stories regularly. 

This matters for growth for two reasons:

  1. The Instagram algorithm favours users who are most active on the platform.
  2. Showing up consistently builds loyalty and trust with your audience.

To show up consistently on your Instagram feed, start with a posting schedule that you can stick with week after week. If you have the time and interest to post daily, that’s amazing! But even 2-3 posts per week is a great place to start. The important thing is to stick to a schedule so your audience knows you’re reliable. Take a look at your schedule, decide a posting frequency that’s realistic for you, and stick with it.

Instagram stories will require a bit higher frequency because they’re even more valuable. Instagram stories are viewed by your ‘warm’ audience. These are the people who are starting to know, like and trust you, and who are extra interested in what you have to say. 

To show up consistently on Instagram stories, we recommend posting at least 4-5 times per week. This should include showing your face on camera and letting your personality shine. It’s okay to be a little less formal and a little more fun—this is the place to be yourself!

Here are some simple and fun ways you can show up on Instagram stories:

  • Post a picture or video of your breakfast.
  • Post a selfie and add your agenda for the day.
  • Elaborate on something you posted to your feed.
  • Put up a question sticker and talk through responses.
  • Film yourself preparing a meal or snack.
  • Weigh in on nutrition trends.


Step 2: Engage, engage, engage

The next step in this 5-step framework is to engage with your people.

Engagement matters for growth because:

  • It keeps you active on Instagram and favoured in the algorithm.
  • It helps you build deeper relationships with your audience.

What does engagement really mean? Quite simply, it means to connect! Talk to your people. Instead of posting, closing your phone, and walking away, make more opportunities to connect with your growing community.

Engagement can be fun, though maybe a little time-consuming. Here’s how we recommend you tackle it:

  • Be available when you post. Schedule 20-30 minutes after you post to hangout on Instagram and chat with your people. Respond to comments, answer DMs, and engage with the posts on your feed. 
  • Create engagement in stories. Instagram stories have so many fun features to help you connect with your audience! Ask questions, put up polls, and try quizzes. Put up question boxes and respond to some requests more in-depth.
  • Respond to messages. Don’t let genuine comments and questions go unanswered. You don’t need to respond to everything immediately, but you do want to respond thoughtfully and kindly. Ask more questions and keep the conversation going, too.


Step 3: Lean in to analytics

Another important part of growth on Instagram is understanding the numbers and using them to your advantage.

Analytics matter for growth because:

  • They show you what types of posts and what topics your people love.
  • They show you what types of posts and what topics your people could do without.
  • Once you understand what content does and does not resonate with your audience, you’ll know what to repeat to keep up your momentum.

Leaning into analytics means carving out time in your schedule to review the numbers. 

Each week, schedule time to review the analytics from the past week’s content. Ask yourself these questions to guide your review:

  • What metrics matter most to me? If you want growth, pay attention to the number of new followers from each post or overall reach. If you want sales, look at the number of website clicks.
  • What posts did well? 
  • Which posts didn’t do so well? 
  • What can I learn from this? What did the top performing posts have in common? What did the poor performing posts have in common? What should you do more of, and what should you do less?

And remember, it’s a process. Instagram analytics are just data and they’re there to help you learn and grow. Sometimes, they don’t work in our favour and it’s just a part of the journey!


Step 4: Adapt to trends

The next step is to stay vigilant watching trends and deciding when and where to adapt your content.

Why does this matter for growth?

  • The Instagram algorithm is constantly evolving, so it’s important to stay current to grow and keep growing.
  • Keeping your eye on what people like sets you up for success on social media and in business long-term.

Looking for and adapting to trends can be simple. Here’s how:

  • Look at your explore page.
  • Analyze what you see. What types of posts are you seeing more? What are you seeing less? Are there any topics, imagery or formats that seem popular?

We recommend scheduling time to look for trends regularly. It may be helpful to build this into your analytics routine as discussed in step 3!

And remember, you don’t have to hop on every trend you see. Simply keep your ear to the ground and pivot when it makes sense for you and your audience.


Step 5: Be authentic

The last step in this 5-step framework to grow on Instagram and beyond is arguably the most important. And that is to be authentic. Be YOU! Showcase your personality and be vulnerable in a way that you’re comfortable with.

Being authentic matters for growth because:

  • People buy from people. When you show the real you, people are more likely to connect with you and want to work with you down the road.
  • Authenticity helps you stand out on a saturated platform.

Being authentic on Instagram consists of two main elements.

  1. Make your content unique to you. Remember that what worked for someone else worked for them. Pressing copy and paste won’t guarantee you the same result! It’s okay to draw inspiration from others, but real growth happens when you infuse your unique secret sauce into everything you do.
  2. Stay true to your unique message. People on Instagram have strong opinions, and it’s hard to share messages that go against the norm. But there are people out there who need your unique view… and you won’t be able to find them unless you share it! Never forget, trolls are part of growth (and ultimately what the block button was designed for).


The bottom line

The 5-step framework to grow on Instagram and beyond as a dietitian or dietetic student is simple:

  1. Show up consistently.
  2. Engage, engage, engage.
  3. Lean in to analytics.
  4. Adapt to trends.
  5. Be authentic.

With this strategy and a little patience, you’ll be well on your way to a bigger (and better engaged) audience on Instagram and any other social media platform you decide to tackle.

Dietitian Success Center provides high quality, evidence based professional development for dietitians and dietetic students in Canada, the United States and worldwide. Our mission is to make it easier for dietitians and dietetic students to build expertise. We do this through evidence based online nutrition courses for dietitians, a community to network and ask questions and ready-to-use dietitian client handouts. Plus – we give you the tools to start and grow your dietitian private practice! 

Check out our membership options here.

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