Instagram has risen to the top in terms of social media popularity. With more than 800 million monthly active users – nearly more than Twitter and LinkedIn combined – and having doubled their active users in two years, there’s no real surprise that the healthcare niche is able to grab their piece of the pie, though they are among the last industries to embrace the platform as part of a successful healthcare marketing strategy. While Instagram followers are one of the main goals for anyone on the platform – it’s important to focus on more than the number if you want to do healthcare marketing on Instagram right.
Create a Business Profile that Reflects Your Practice
If you’re currently using a personal Instagram profile, convert it to a business profile so you can get access to features on the platform not available for personal use, such as Instagram analytics, automatic posting through third-party scheduling apps, and Instagram Ads.
When choosing your username, opt for something that identifies you or your practice, and if possible, your specialty. When it comes to your profile image, use either a professional headshot or a company logo. Regardless of which choice you make, the photo must be high quality and reflect your business.
In your bio, you have a limited amount of space to communicate your message. Provide basic information about your practice, including name, specialty, and location. Since you can only include one link on your entire profile, include the link to your official website, to make it easy for patients and prospective patients to learn more about you and go directly from the Instagram app to your website.
If space allows, include information that sets you apart from other providers in your area, such as awards, certifications, or interesting facts. It’s okay to use hashtags – either branded or specialty and emojis in this space, too. Ideally, your profile should be a combination of you as a medical provider and your practice so potential patients can get a better idea of what working with you is like.
Be sure to take a few moments to link to your Instagram account on all your other social media platforms, and share with your existing followers on other networks that you can now also be found on Instagram.
Create Engaging Content
Once your profile is up and running, you’ll need to create a content strategy for healthcare marketing to accompany the profile. You’ll want to create a posting schedule – and you can use third-party services to batch that process. All you have to do is upload the imagery to the publishing service, and then the publishing service will take care of it for you at the scheduled times. Some will automatically post on your behalf, while others will send a push notification to your phone and provide everything so you can post it yourself.
What kinds of content should you consider using in your Instagram strategy?
- Answers to the most commonly asked questions
- Educate and inform patients about what’s going on in your practice, new policies, etc.
- Introduce doctors and other medical staff at the practice
- Introduce your facility, department, or office.
- Share testimonials and patient stories (with permission, of course!)
- Share information about new facilities, equipment, products, or services
- Simple how-to instructions
- Provide a practice welcome, orientation, or overview
- Promote community fundraisers and other events you’re participating in
As you create and share content, the important thing to remember is that you shouldn’t focus on selling your practice. You want to humanize your brand and focus on quality. There’s no need to post five new photos every day – and you don’t even have to post one a day, as long as you’re posting on some sort of consistent schedule, such as once every other day. If the photos or videos are of poor quality, it really won’t matter how many of them there are.
Use Relevant Hashtags
These are essential for helping people find your content. #Hashtags are used to categorize content on Instagram, and people can now follow those, too, instead of only being able to follow user profiles. You can use up to 30 hashtags in a post, and you can include them in your post description, or in a separate comment below each post.
Research has shown that engagement is highest when you use 11 hashtags. Always research to see how many posts are in the hashtag and make sure it is what you think it is before you use it. If your posts use hashtags where there are millions of photos – they are popular, but that means your content will get lost quickly in the sea of posts.
Here are some ideas to help you get started – based on general healthcare:
- #MedEd (medical education)
- #mhealth (mobile health)
Don’t forget to look for hashtags related to your healthcare specialty, your location, and consider creating your own branded hashtag to use in posts.
Track and Monitor Progress
Rely on Instagram Insights, the built-in analytics tool to help you track various engagement activities related to your posts, stories, and your overall account. Focus on the metrics that support your business goals, and measure growth over time in those areas.
For instance, if you want a highly-engaged following, track comments and likes on your posts. If you want to grow your following, track your profile visits and follower numbers.
Pay attention to which types of posts and topics are getting the best results, and mimic those when and where possible.
Healthcare marketing on Instagram is worth considering. Take time to plan a content strategy for Instagram, and mix it into the rest of your social media strategy to align it with your business goals. With the right planning and effort, you can make Instagram one of your trusted tools for marketing your healthcare practice while still standing apart from the competition.