The Dark Side of Being an Osteopath on Social Media

What is the dark side of being an osteopath on social media? What do osteopaths say about the downsides of being on social media?

Know what to expect before getting started 

We’re all aware of the dark side of social media, but what about for osteopaths?

Over the years, social media has been put on a pedestal as a being the holy grail for osteopaths to find patients without needing to spend any money.

We’re told that social media is here to stay, it’s a powerful way to get patients, but is it really?

In this blog, I’m going to cover:

  • The secret reality of social media marketing
  • Top considerations before getting started with social media
  • What osteopaths who have been on social media for years say about the downsides of social media
The Dark Side of Being an Osteopath on Social Media

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The secret reality of social media marketing

We all have hopes of starting a social media profile and using our enthusiasm as rocket fuel to get thousands of followers, subscribers and free patients.

The truth is that in order to build your social media up to a point where it becomes a reliable place to get new patients, you’ve got to know that it will take more than posting a few times a week.

Consistency, consistency, consistency

If you’ve done any research into what it takes to make social media a success, you’ll know that you’ve got to post several times a week.

Which sounds reasonable enough.

You’ve got to post content to be seen, right?

But being able to do that over weeks, months and years is a serious ordeal.

Here’s Head of Marketing & Training at Osteo & Physio, who have a YouTube channel with over 11,000 subscribers, Louise Pratley, to explain:

“The honest truth is that we had to post once a week for 2-3 years before we started seeing traction.” – Louise Pratley.

So you’ve wrapped your head around the fact that it’s going to take a serious level of consistency.

But what if we want to post high-quality content?

Surely that’s going to have an effect on how often we can post?


Here’s owner of Six Core Outcomes, Matt Corbin, who has over 4000 Instagram followers:

“Whenever I sit down to create the content I want to post for the month, there’s a looming sense of self-doubt that what I put out there must be up to a high standard and provide plenty of value, the same high standard and value I hope to provide for my patients.” – Matt Corbin.

Right, we now know that we have to be consistent and have plenty of time put aside to produce great content.

How do to get my message out there?

It’s all about video

I’m sorry to everyone who feels like they hate being on camera, and the sound of their voice.

In 2022 social media success lies in your ability to condense information down into easily digestible snippets that are long enough to keep our attention, but short enough to have them wanting to watch more.

And that means video.

Ding dong, memes and images are basically dead.

Social media analysis giant Sprout social say:

“More than half (54% to be exact) of marketers say that video is the most valuable content type for achieving social media marketing goals.”

While this is obvious for YouTube, the rise of TikTok have forced Facebook and Instagram to follow suit.

Video has taken over social media so much so that organic reach for image-based content is basically zero.

A pinch of common sense will tell you that social media platforms make a lot of money from paid advertising.

How can they make more money?

Keep people on their platform to they see more ads and increase their odds of someone buying something they defiantly need.

Of course, you can absolutely use a no-video approach to grow on social media, but know that you’re going against the grain and fighting an uphill battle.

Okay, we’re going to be smart and produce video-based content on a consistent basis for a long time.

Sorry to be the bearer of bad news, there’s more twists.

Adapting to keep up with new features

From Reels, Guides, Groups, Lives, Stories and even link stickers!

New social media features come around more often than superhero movies.

Keeping up with them all is draining.

On top of that, social media companies love pushing the latest feature on us.

“Yeah, but social media companies can’t tell us what to do…”

Uh, yeah, they can.

If you care about organic growth on social media, you need to care about the latest feature because social media companies push people using new features hard in the algorithm.

Remember on Instagram when carousels were the bees knees?

Well, now it’s all about Reels.

And Reels were introduced in late 2020 meaning that we’re likely on the brink of a new superhero hitting our screens.

There’s nothing saying that the only way to build an amazing social media space is to only use new features, but what is clear is that you’re playing against the algorithm.

Right, just so we’re on the same page, we have a very specific way to grow organically until the rules change by the introduction of a shiny new feature.


Posting great content that flops

Before jumping into your social media journey, it’s important to know that not everything you post will be given the recognition you think it should.

As you continue to create content, you’ll continue to learn, making each piece better than the last.

That’s classic progression.

But what you believe to be your best bits might fall flat.

Here’s owner of Osteo Allies, Anisha Joshi, with over 18,000 Instagram followers and 7 years under her belt to explain:

“Engagement is very hit and miss, especially now that the social media it is extremely saturated. So if you’re expecting to get lots of likes or engagements with your posts try not to because it’s not reflective of how good you are as a therapist. Just keep going.” – Anisha Joshi.

Alright so we’re going to keep posting with our chin up by not paying attention to the number of Likes and Comments counter.

But will other aspects of social media effect us?

Oh you betcha.

Mental health issues

We all know how social media has been strongly linked mental health problems, including anxiety, depression, addiction and psychological distress through cyberbullying and hate speech.

Here’s Anisha, Matt and Louise again who’ve been very open about her mental health struggles caused by social media:

“I’ve experienced anxiety, panic attacks and sleepless nights just because of someone’s negative comment or a DM that judges my appearance or point of view. I consider myself to be pretty thick skinned and the block button does help, but sometimes people can get in your head.” – Anisha Joshi.

“There’s always a fear of criticism whenever I post something because when you put something out there, it’s not just content, it’s a piece of you. And with anything in life, when you put yourself out there, doubt does creep in.” – Matt Corbin.

“Oh, absolutely you should develop a thick skin if you’re going to use social media to promote your business. I’ve had strange comments about my appearance and even sexual comments that make me laugh and cringe, so I believe it’s important to ignore the negativity and look after yourself.” – Louise Pratley.

Beyond everything else we’ve covered, this is the most serious side effect.

Therefore, it’s essential for you to ask yourself if being on social media to promote your business is worth the possibility of negatively impacting your mental health.

‘Social’ media is dying

I don’t know about you, but when I go onto Facebook or Instagram, I see the same faces over and over again, and they’re rarely my friends posts.

Well, guess what, it all makes sense now as in early August 2022, Meta announced that Facebook will be making a serious shift in their algorithm.

They’re shifting over to what’s always been the case on YouTube and TikTok and what’s been happening to Instagram for the last few years, a recommendation-based model of content distribution.

What does that mean?

Well, the content people will see will be less of your mates stuff and more of carefully curated, magical algorithmic experiences that match the perfect content for you.

So, the content you engage with by watching, commenting or reading will be practically everything you see.

What does that mean for advertising your business?

There’s been significant backlash from Facebook and Instagram users, complaining and even leaving the platform because the social side of social media is being thrown in the bin in favour of what’s already popular or what has been paid to be put in front of you.

The times they are a changing and social media will look a lot different in just a few years compared to now.

Written by Alan Zaia M.Ost

Founder & CEO of Osteohustle. You’ll find Alan coaching osteopaths, travelling in a van or writing our weekly newsletter, The Hustle.

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