Written by Hannah Blum, author of The Truth About Broken: The Unfixed Version of Self-Love,
You want to start a mental health Instagram account but do not know where to start? Don’t worry, you are not alone! When I published my blog and created an Instagram account (@hannahdblum), I was in the exact same boat. Instagram is an excellent platform for advocates and mental health influencers to spread their message creatively. Outside of building my own platforms, I work as a Creative Director, helping clients create inspirational content for social media. You have a voice, a story, and a unique message that deserves to be shared. First let’s cover the basics!
@Username & Create a Bio
Coming up with a a catchy name for your account profile is an important step. Look up other mental health influencers on Instagram to get a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. Always check to see if the account name you’ve come up with is taken.
Tip 1: Utilize words related to mental health, wellness, self-love and positivity.
Tip 2: If you have a blog, consider using your blogs name. When I first started on Instagram, my username was my blog @halfway2hannah. You can also use your own name if it suits your account.
The Bio is a brief description box that gives users an idea of who you are, what you stand for and the purpose of your account. Users should have a good idea of who you are and what you stand for just from the bio.
Who are you and what is your message? A Mental Health Advocate, A Yogi, Artist, Therapist, Writer, Poet, A Wellness Blogger, A Body Positive Advocate, Spreading awareness about mental health, Sharing inspiration and coping skills, Sharing my life with ____(anxiety, depression, ocd, ptsd, bipolar) etc.
Tip 1: Go to LinkTree and create a link to put in your bio. It’s where you connect users to all of your content in one place.
Tip 2: I would switch from “Personal Profile” to “Instagram Business Profile.” Go to your profile, and under “Settings” and make the switch from a personal to business.
What Type of Mental Health Content Do I Want to Post?
There are many different types of content to post: quotes, graphics, personal stories, imagery, tips, video clips, IGTV etc. Be consistent with your content. Create content that tells a story, makes you feel and gives users a glimpse of who you are. Do not be afraid to experiment with content! Your content should be based around your message.
Here are some other tips:
Tip 1: Utilize Pinterest to find different design styles and ideas for what you want to post.
Tip 2: Share mental health resources with users on your feed, your InstaStory and/or your highlights.
Tip 3: Use Canva as a program to design different graphics. It’s awesome! I still use it for my posts!
Tip 4: Captions are one of the most important pieces of your posts. Use captions to share more about your content.
Tip 5: Preview is great for laying out your Instagram feed before posting.
Tip 6: Keep track of your Instagram Insights to see what content is connecting with people.
Below is a one of my posts that I shared with a caption that describes the meaning behind the quote. Click on it to see the caption!
Utilize InstaStory and Features
A great way to establish a connection with your audience is through InstaStory and the various features within it. Utilize the polling and questions features to engage users. Use the Question and Answer feature for users to ask you questions and you respond.
The best mental health instagram accounts are the ones that give a sense of community. Do personal videos sharing whatever is on your mind. I use my InstaStory to not only talk about mental health, but also to share my life outside of activism. Get playful with it. Dimensions of InstaStory are: 1080 X 1920
Utilize IGTV and Videos
Videos are huge on Instagram, especially for sharing mental health and inspirational content! It can be a 1 min video for your feed, or you can do an IGTV video. Share your thoughts, your personal story, tutorials or anything you want to share with your audience.
Recently Instagram launched the IGTV Series. If you want to know more, check out How To Create Your Own IGTV Series.
Tip 1: Keep videos between 3-5 minutes. When people see a lengthy video, such as 10 minutes, they tend to scroll past. The average time a person watches a video on Instagram is 3-10 seconds.
Tip 2: Keep in mind the use of a thumbnail and the proper dimensions for the video. When videos are not cropped correctly, users are less likely to watch. Recently I posted a video on my IGTV about suicide prevention. Video posts are an incredible way to build a deep connection with people in the community. You have an inspirational message to share, go for it!
Build A Community
I don’t refer to those who follow me as “followers” and definitely not “fans.” I refer to them as the community, because thats exactly what they are. Creating a sense community is essential to your success in mental health on Instagram.
Tagging other accounts in your posts is a great way to build community, but do not overdo it! If you see an awesome mental health post by someone else, repost it on your feed, but always credit them.
#Hashtags are important for your content to be seen. Make sure you use relevant hashtags according to what you post. Search hashtags that correlate with what you are posting. Use an Instagram #hashtag generator, such as Display Purposes to find relevant and popular hashtags.
Commenting, reposting, tagging and sharing the content of other users is a great way to show your support.
Tip 1: In the mental health community people want to be seen, so respond to every comment you receive genuinely.
Tip 2: Share other users inspirational posts to your InstaStory. Always credit the person who posted the original content
A major part of advocacy on social media platforms is building community and supporting other mental health influencers. It is a selfless attitude that leads to all of our success. If you are in it just to promote yourself, you won’t go very far.
Things to Remember
You have to be responsible with your content. We are in a different category of influence, mental health, which means we have to keep followers in mind with everything we post. This includes sharing specific medications that you are taking. This type of promotion can put you at risk for liability issues. Sharing pictures of self-harming, or triggering content puts you in a very bad position. When discussing suicide always put the suicide prevention hotline in your caption. There is a difference between sharing your truth and sharing it in a way that could potentially be harmful to your audience.
Authenticity is key to becoming a successful mental health influencer on Instagram. If you are sharing parts of your personal story, your life is your content. Instagram, like most social media platforms is a two way dialogue between influencers and their followers. Users can communicate directly back and forth with one another. Do your best to respond back to comments and messages. Your followers want to get to know you and you should want to get to know them. If you are not authentic, and want to gain a bunch of follows and likes to impress people, it won’t lead to long term success.
People think that if they don’t gain a massive following overnight then they aren’t going anywhere. False! It takes time, and it takes work. I did not gain over 100K followers overnight. Do not buy fake followers or fake comments. I have been working in social for a long time, and I can promise you, especially in 2020, it will backfire. It’s all about engagement, more-so than it is about followers. Organic growth is the best way to establish a presence on social media.
Believe In Yourself
Believe in yourself and your story. You have something to say, don’t wait any longer! Enjoy the process and have fun!
For more mental health content, follow me on Instagram @hannahdblum
In her first book, The Truth About Broken: The Unfixed Version of Self-Love, Hannah Blum redefines what it means to love yourself and takes readers on an unforgettable journey towards embracing what makes you different by sharing captivating stories that will never leave you after reading. A book that will give you a new perspective on mental illness as Hannah shares her unapologetic message rooted in her life as living with a mental illness in a society that has labeled her and others as broken.