Ask Mike Reinold Show

How to Build Your Social Media Presence as a Physical Therapy Student

Getting started with social media is a great idea while still in physical therapy school, but there are some good ways and bad ways to do this. Here are our tips to be successful, while staying authentic. To view more episodes, subscribe, and ask your questions, go to

#AskMikeReinold Episode 207: How to Build Your Social Media Presence as a Physical Therapy Student

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Show Notes


Mike Reinold: On this episode of the Ask Mike Reinold Show, we talk about some ways that you can start building your social media presence as a physical therapist, or even a new grad.

Mike Reinold: So our question today is from Ben from Maryland. Ben says, excuse me, “What is your recommendation for students who want to build their social media presence with educational content before they graduate? Is there a way to do this safely and ethically?”

Mike Reinold: So, man, I’m sure. The group of us has a decent social media presence that I think we can give you some good advice. I’m going to jump in with the first part of that before you guys go, and then we’ll ask you guys. I’m going to talk about the safety of that. Yes. I think it’s completely safe. I don’t think anyone’s shown that you could catch COVID by posting to Instagram. So I do think you’re completely safe. I don’t think anything’s going to happen to you.

Mike Reinold: No, in all honesty, I think what you asked in terms of the safety question of that, maybe there’s some liability issues, or maybe there’s some things about using some images of people like your patients or something like that. I would say what the safety thing is, is I think most people think social media is not medical advice, right? I have seen some people that have put a disclaimer at the bottom of their Instagram posts. I still haven’t. Right? But I kind of refer everything back to my website. I do have disclaimers there, but I would say right now, don’t let something like that bog you down. If you want, you can always end with a sentence that just says, “This is for entertainment and education and not medical advice,” but I’ll knock out the safety question.

Mike Reinold: But now I want to hear from you guys. What do you think is the best approach for physical therapy students to start their social media presence? Popester, let’s hear it.

Dan Pope: I’ll answer this one. When I actually started doing this, when I was in PT school, and it’s because I just really, really loved physical therapy, fitness, wanted to share what I was learning, and I think it was also additive to my career. So it just really fit well, right? So for a new student that’s similar to where I was at that point, I think it’s a great idea. I think one way you can accomplish a couple of different goals at once is to use your social media as a way to learn yourself, and then share that information to the world. So I think, and this is where I was when I first started making social media, I didn’t want to put the cart before the horse, right? You have someone who’s, I don’t know, like a Mike Reinold of the world, who has a ton of experience, putting out a lot of information. Right?

Dan Pope: And you’re like, how do I put out my own information? I have no experience, right? I’m not even a physical therapist yet. What am I doing here? But you can use that as a learning experience. You can help people by producing, let’s say, social media post that reviews a specific article on a specific niche topic that you like. Let’s say the concussions or something along those lines. You can go through, find what you find is relevant. You’re learning a ton. You’re sharing that information. You’re bringing it to the world. So, you’re not necessarily saying you have all this experience, and this is the right way to do things. You’re providing value. You’re building yourself. You’re building your brand, and you’re helping people around you as well. So that’s kind of how I would go about that.

Mike Reinold: I love it, Dan. I think that’s the best. That’s the best approach right there. And I think we say this all the time, but it’s worth repeating all the time. Our social media presence, our blog posts, our blog presence and all that stuff, I still say to all of us, it is primarily for our benefit. It’s yes, we educate others and stuff like that. But it’s to keep us fresh. It’s to keep our minds growing, right? And there is no doubt in my mind that I am better at my job and what I do because of how much education we do. It just keeps you sharp, right? That’s why you go to a huge conference and presentations, and you see all these speakers, and you think, man, how are these guys on top of all the research? How do they know everything? It’s because they love it. And that’s what they do all the time. It’s for them. They’re cutting edge, because they’re always on top. So I love that. Who else wants to add to that? Mike? What do you got?

Mike Scaduto: Yeah, I would say we obviously have a lot of students that come through Champion as clinical students, and I end up following a lot of them on Instagram, and some of them do put out content while they’re a student. And I think, what’s the one thing that you’re an expert at while you’re a student is being a student. So I’ve had a couple students that put together posts that are aimed at other students. Maybe it’s advice on how to study for the board exam. Maybe it’s how to avoid being stressed as a clinical student, and how to manage your stress over time. So those are things that you’re currently going through. You may not be an expert at rehabbing a post op shoulder right now. So maybe you can put out content about that, but maybe that’s not your expertise. Right now, you’re an expert at being a student, so helping the students around you is kind of a good way to go around it, go about it and putting out content relevant to that.

Mike Reinold: Man, that’s that’s excellent, Mike. I mean, you speak to the target audience that you can relate to, I think is amazing, right? We’ve seen so many students try. We kind of talk. It’s like the proclaim or the fake expertise, right, when you have no clinical experience. Right? So they fake this expertise and try to come across like it’s a definitive post, right? Or when they start a big change the world initiative type thing when they don’t have any clinical experience, right? Those are going to be really challenging if you don’t have enough to kind of go about it, so share your experience with us. I think that’s amazing. Talk to the same group of people that you’re peers with. I love it, Mike. That was good. What else? You guys got anything else? I got a couple things, but Len, what do you say? Anything?

Lenny Macrina: No. I mean, I think what Mike said was great, because I think as you become a PT, you evolve, right? And your blog posts will evolve too. Your blog posts, your social media. And I know Mike had said it, but we say it to students all the time is what you’re learning now, people want to hear about it. Believe it or not. You think it’s useless and wasteful, and maybe you think you’re way behind everybody else, but you’re not, because trust me, there’s a lot of people that are in your similar boat. More than you ever, ever would think. So, if you’re not, like Mike said, you’re not a post op shoulder expert, but what are you reading right now to help you to become that? And then write about it.

Lenny Macrina: And then in two years, you’re writing about what you do to treat a post op shoulder, right? And then in five years, you’re going to look back and be like, whoa, I can’t believe I did that. This is my evolution. This is what I’m doing now. So I think it’s a great way to show, and you can look back and look at your evolution as well, but it’s a great way to show what you are doing to help yourself, and it’s going to help others.

Mike Reinold: Yeah. And be humble. Be humble about it, right? That you are growing, and you are learning. Don’t proclaim false expertise or try to trick people, because people with clinical experience like us, we can see the lack of authenticity. We can see right through it. And I’m telling you, some prominent people on Instagram right now, I look at some of their posts and I’m like, I can’t wait for three years, for them to look back at this post, because yes, it’s like textbook right, but it’s not clinically right. It’s just not what you see in real life. So Lisa, heck, you’ve kind of just started up trying to booster your stuff. What’s your strategy, because I think you’re in a similar situation of building right now. What’s your strategy?

Lisa Russell: Yeah. I mean, I feel like I’m kind of doing sort of a lot of what Dan was saying. I mean, I’ve been doing a lot more research than I usually have time for and learning a lot of more of the actual need for what rowers need in particular to work on injury prevention and the science behind it and not just the, oh, my teammates always have this problem. And I mean, I think it’s exactly what everybody’s been saying. I’ve been kind of going through sort of this process of reading a lot of articles and pulling it together and being like, okay, so based on this chunk of articles, all these people with low back pain, here’s the problem that everybody has. And here’s what we do about it. And it’s been fun for myself to discuss what I’ve found and why it matters and how to relate it to rowing, and then how to relate it to masters rowing and juniors rowing and just everything in between.

Lisa Russell: And I mean, I think the social media side of it has been a lot more challenging than I expected it to be. It’s way more time consuming than any of you all make it seem. At least at this point. So I mean, I think at this point it’s been really valuable for me. I think I’m going to come out of this whole quarantine period way ahead of where I would have been if I hadn’t had the time to do all of this and built the pattern of looking at research more and all that kind of thing. So I think for that reason, it would be interesting as a student to start that pattern, that habit almost.

Mike Reinold: Yeah. And don’t forget Lisa, right? You have a lot of experience with rowers.

Lisa Russell: Yeah.

Mike Reinold: Especially with yourself. You are not just going out there and talking about plantar fasciitis. You’re talking about rowers, something that you have some expertise in. So I think that’s great.

Lisa Russell: Right.

Mike Reinold: Mike, did you have something else? Yeah.

Mike Scaduto: Yeah. This is probably tying back into a previous episode, but I would say probably one of the first things that a future employer does is search you on social media. So just make sure that what you’re putting out there is appropriate. And if you’re putting out information that may be very controversial, that just be prepared to maybe answer questions about that in an interview, and, or, just keep it in mind that people are going to be looking at that, potential employers. And you want to put your best foot forward on social media.

Mike Reinold: Yeah. Be prepared to answer questions about that. If you even get the interview. Because your social media presence can certainly turn people off. So, awesome advice. I think that’s the biggest thing, is share people your experiences. I’ve had this conversation with many students that try to proclaim expertise or have poor authenticity with their posts and stuff like that. It’s be humble. Stick to what you’re good at. And we always talk about this with the evolution of us to become an expert over time. Everyone wants to be an expert next week, right? They want to get it in here, right? But it goes through these phases, right? You have to gain knowledge. You have to gain skill. You have to gain experience, and then you finally get judgment, right? Are you sick of hearing me say these things yet? Right?

Mike Reinold: But those are the four things to do. So you have to figure out which phase you’re in. If you’re a student or a new grad and you just have knowledge, you better not be making posts about skill or judgment, right? Because you don’t have any of that yet. You make it about knowledge, right? So share you just did a lit review on the best special test for rotator cuff tears. You can post that. And you can say, “Here’s some tests,” and tell us what’s the specificity? What’s the sensitivity? Right? Because those are knowledge based things that you are going through at this time. A new article comes out, EMG of the rotator cuff, right? You can make a post, here’s the top three exercises for the superspinatus based on this article. That is a knowledge based post that you’re sharing as you learn.

Mike Reinold: Don’t jump steps and start talking about experience. I always tell this to everybody, but don’t. Again, your call. This is not how I educate. And maybe I’m biased, because the people that email me, no one’s going to yell at me via email. They email me and say they connect to my education style. But my education style is just to share with you what I’m learning and what I’m doing and what I’m currently going through. What I don’t do is spend my whole social media presence telling you what everybody’s doing wrong, right? Because I humbly don’t know any of the answers. Right? I’m just giving you our best guess at what we’re doing right now. And hopefully it can be something to help you.

Mike Reinold: So, hopefully those are some good tips for you to get started with your social media presence. I recommend you do it, right? This is the whole if a tree falls in the forest and nobody’s there, it doesn’t make a sound, right? But that’s okay. That’s fine. There’s a difference between starting this and then building a following. Those are two different conversations, to be honest with you. That’s a whole nother episode, right? Starting it is equally as much for you and your patients as it is for your potential audience down the road. Keep that in mind. It’s still for you, even if nobody’s listening yet, but they’ll get there.

Mike Reinold: So, awesome. So, great question again. Thank you so much, Ben. I hope that helps. If you have a question like that, head to Click on the podcast link. Please go to iTunes and Spotify rate and review. I don’t even know if you can rate and review us on Spotify, but if you can, do it. Otherwise, do it on iTunes. I think that’s helpful. I don’t know why I say that every episode. And we will see you on the next episode. Thanks so much.