Is social media necessary for acupuncture clinic marketing?

Is Social Media truly necessary for acupuncture clinic marketing? Yes…No?

This is a question I get asked frequently and is a hot topic… is social media necessary for growing a successful acupuncture clinic? Is Instagram necessary for acupuncture marketing? I think that my answer might surprise a lot of people and be controversial…

Watch the video or listen to the podcast or read the transcript below, whichever is more convenient for you. Let me know what you think in the comments below.

And stay tuned, because next week I’m going to talk about how – if you are going to do Instagram and it’s something that feels good for you – how to use Instagram to market your acupuncture clinic in a way that actually attracts patients.

Is social media necessary for acupuncture clinic marketing?

This is a question I get asked frequently and is a hot topic… is social media necessary for growing a successful acupuncture clinic? Is Instagram necessary for acupuncture marketing? I think that my answer might surprise a lot of people and be controversial…

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Ok, so is social media necessary to market your acupuncture clinic? My answer???? I would say no. Nope. Social media is not necessary. If it’s not fun for you, if you hate it, if you are not going to show up regularly, and professionally, and mindfully, it might actually be harmful for you. I do not think it’s necessary.

You are off the hook. You don’t have to do it if you don’t want to do it. I think there are other things that are far more necessary instead, and it annoys me that Instagram is a hot topic right now and people are focusing on that instead of the important things that actually matter.

I think social media can be a distraction from what really matters, from the core marketing strategies that really move the needle for your clinic.

With that said, I think social media is great because it’s free and it builds connection and trust.

It allows you to really connect with the world… with such a large audience of people to share your message, to educate people about acupuncture, about yourself, about what you believe, about what you want people to know. It’s a free platform from which you get to be an expert and show up and connect with people. It’s amazing.

I used to hate it, I actually never go on Facebook for personal use, and hardly ever post on my personal Instagram account, and really resisted developing an Instagram account for my business page. I finally did in 2017 because I launched an online fertility course, the Becoming Mama course. I was like, okay, now I have a more global, worldwide audience, social media makes more sense. I’m going to take some time to develop an Instagram following. You can see my Instagram account here if you like.

I forced myself to do it, hated it. But surprisingly after doing it regularly, I’ve actually learned to like it. I do encourage you to give it a try because you might be surprised. I’ve learned that I’ve created amazing connections with people all over the world, who, we follow each other, we support each other, we interact, get each other. It’s nice to feel like there’s people who get me. Who feel the same thing I do.

And it has lead to revenue for me. I can see, I do one Instagram post, and then, boom, two online fertility courses got sold and I just made $1,200 from one Instagram post. Wow, that’s amazing, right?

With that said, you should not make the assumption that just because somebody has a large Instagram following, that that is actually translating into more patients. That is a wrong assumption to make based on a lot of the acupuncturists I know who have followings and invest a lot of time in Instagram, most of them, it is not translating into revenue for them. It might help them to fill cancellations faster, and it might lead to other opportunities, but it does not necessarily mean that those people are becoming patients. I don’t think it’s the first place you’ve necessarily got to focus on.

If it’s fun for you, then, yeah, do it for sure! You can start even when you’re in school, and you can start whenever. I started posting to Instagram six years into my clinic.

I do see that having a large social media following, Instagram following, has translated to opportunities for me. I think it makes people think, “Wow, she’s legit.” It’s led to journalist publications reaching out to me, doctors, IVF clinics reaching out to me through Instagram. It’s led to interviews, and it’s led to other acupuncturists referring people to my clinic. And as I said above, it’s lead to online course sales. It’s a great way to educate patients and engage patients and remind them that you’re there, and to refer their friends. But I don’t think it necessarily turns into more patients. Especially if you’re not being strategic about it.

I think it can be counterproductive if you are not going to show up regularly and professionally with a marketing strategy. If you are going to be unprofessional, flaky, not consistent about it. If you’re not going to stay on brand and have a consistent message, know who your audience is, and what you’re about, and have a really resonant message. If you’re not going to use good quality photos and take the time to write a caption that contributes, that provides value. I think if you aren’t going to do those things, and if you’re also not going to show up vulnerably and authentically and be…

(It’s social media, you’re supposed to be social and be a person, which is hard for me. For Facebook, for years I just did Facebook very half-heartedly, and would just repost other people’s articles, and take myself out of the equation. Not even say, “Here’s why I love this,” or, “Here’s why I agree,” or, “I see this all the time in clinic,” or, “Here was my favorite quote.” That’s removing myself from it and just posting someone else’s content. That’s not social. People want to connect with you. It’s social media, be social. And it’s also not providing value, it’s just being an echo, you know what I mean? More on this next week…)

…So if you’re not going to show up and be authentic, and you’re not going to be professional, and you’re not going to provide your own value and perspective, and you don’t have a resonant message, and you don’t know who you’re speaking to, or what you’re about, and what you really offer, then don’t waste your time. There are far more important things to do to market your clinic than this.

With that said, it’s fun and it’s free, and it’s not hard to connect with people and spread your message. I don’t want to spend a ton of time on social media, I do it about an hour a month. I plan a month’s worth of Instagram posts, because I don’t want to be spending a lot of time on that content. But it’s become a fun way, inspiring way for me to get my message out there.

If you hate it, please focus on other things that are far more crucial to effective acupuncture marketing.

I do think it’s important to build your authority, and I talk about this a lot in the marketing course. Social media can be the medium, the avenue through which you are building your authority. If that’s where your target audience is. If your target audience is not on social media, don’t be there don’t waste your time. If they are there and that’s where you want to connect with them and that’s where you want to build your authority, then great. Then do it well.

I do think it’s important to build your authority to let people know that you’re an expert…to contribute, to share your expertise with the world so that people can get a taste of you and your philosophy and how you work, but you don’t have to do that on social media. There are lots of different ways to do that, and I think it’s important to find the one that feels in alignment with you so that it’s easy for you.

If you’re forcing yourself and feel like you’re hitting your head against the wall every time you’re trying to make yourself do something, you’re not going to do it well and you’re not going to do it consistently, and it’s not going to end up being professional and connecting with people.

Yeah… you don’t have to do it. That’s my take on it. I know it’s an unpopular thing because Instagram is super trendy right now, but I think it can be a distraction. If it’s a distraction from actually learning how to market your practice and connect with the people who need you and figure out what your real message is and how to reach them and resonate with them, then you’re just distracting yourself. I think for health and sanity, the less time spent on social media, the better, honestly.

Okay, so that’s my take, thanks so much. I can’t remember if I introduced myself. I’m Katie Altneu, I’m an acupuncturist. I have a clinic in Denver, I’m also a business teacher. I’ve taught business to acupuncturists at CSTCM for eight and a half years, and I’m the founder of where I teach acupuncturists how to start their acupuncture clinic with confidence, and attract more patients and market their acupuncture clinics authentically. And everything I teach is based on my own experience and what I’ve implemented and tested and found to actually work and feel good for a real person.

If you want to be notified about when my marketing course opens up, or you want to learn more about my get started course, sign up for my VIP list by going to and downloading my Top Ten Tips, and then you’ll be on the email list and you’ll be notified.

Okay, cool. Thanks so much, and keep doing what you’re doing because the world needs you and needs more business savvy acupuncturists.


Hi! I'm Katie Altneu

I'm an acupuncturist, herbalist, & business teacher

My acupuncture clinic in Denver, CO makes me so happy. It's full enough to support my life, and simple enough to give me peace of mind. I'm a firm believer that bigger is not always better and that we need to "stop the glorification of busy".

I want your acupuncture clinic to be as full as you'd like it to be. I want you to know how to inspire-to-action the people who need you and our medicine. And I believe the best strategies are simple and heartfelt.

Combining my prior education & career in business & finance with my personal experience starting and growing my clinic, I love teaching acupuncturists to master the business side of their clinics. I believe in you and I'm so glad you're here!

Katie Altneu, creator of AcuProsper & the ProsperRing

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