Instagram is one of the most essential social media tools to incorporate into a contemporary marketing practice and has become increasingly prevalent in the healthcare and medical industry. With over 600 million users – two-thirds of which access the platform daily – Instagram provides an unparalleled opportunity for healthcare practitioners to connect with patients directly, and vice versa. Patients turn to the web to obtain health information, schedule in-person and virtual appointments, and locate potential providers. Having a strong online presence can help clinicians boost their patient database and grow their practice, as well as give them the opportunity to engage with an online community and share their expertise.
However, many providers struggle to utilize social media – Instagram in particular – to achieve their desired result: an active following. Growing a base of followers can seem daunting and often requires a lot of time and energy. Regular social media engagement, an active presence, and the expert tips below can help providers bring their medical Instagram account to a wider, more diverse audience and new group of potential patients.
Tips for Improve Instagram Results
1. Create a Patient Avatar
To best market and advertise a practice’s or specialist’s services, it is necessary to define the ideal target patient – which also represents the target audience. Creating a patient avatar or profile tailored to the customer base a practice hopes to attract can help providers identify and adhere to trends and patterns these groups may follow. For practices with a wider patient scope, multiple patient avatars can be created – for example, one for dermatologic procedure patients and another for cosmetic/aesthetic procedure patients. Understanding the patient profile can help physicians better locate and target their ideal demographic; knowing where potential clients are likely to engage on social media can make it easier to leverage profiles with desired target audiences.
2. Follow and Engage
In order to leverage the ideal patient avatar, clinicians should create a list of accounts, hashtags, and topics that align with the lifestyle of the target demographic. Based on profiles the patient avatar is likely to follow, a new medical Instagram can locate potential followers and follow, like, and engage with these targeted users. Daily social media activity is essential to developing a following; most patients use Instagram daily and healthcare practitioners should too. Although this may be time intensive, gathering more followers can boost a profile’s popularity, leading to exponential growth. Engaging with other users by liking and commenting on their posts can work to both draw audience attention and increase the number of likes on an account’s content. This in turn can lead to more impressions and account exposure as a result of Instagram’s algorithm – which prioritizes posts with high engagement scores.
3. Use the Instagram Stories Feature
An increasing number of healthcare-related Instagram accounts are utilizing the Instagram story feature to share medical content and related information. In general, using new social media tools as they become introduced can increase exposure as platforms tend to prioritize them in terms of visibility. Frequent use of Instagram stories, such as sharing interesting and relevant content, can greatly boost organic reach – the amount of users who view the content through unpaid distribution – and increase an account’s follower count.
4. Share Relevant and Interesting Content
Showcasing treatments, office features, and even operating room procedures can garner the attention of the audience, which values authenticity on social media. By sharing medically relevant and interesting content, a provider’s Instagram profile can educate its followers, raise awareness, and disseminate accurate information to prevent against the spreading of fake news.
5. Consider Influencer Marketing
Leveraging Instagram influencers – who are representative of a practice’s target audience – can help boost follower counts faster and with less required effort. Influencer marketing helps brands reach their desired audience through the already well-established social presence of another account, which has gained the trust of its followers. A practice can use influencer profiles to promote products and services offered, share patient success stories, and much more. Incorporating an influencer marketing campaign into a social media strategy can greatly improve brand awareness, follower count, and ultimately, patient growth.
6. Use the Right Hashtags
Instagram aggregates and disseminates content information via hashtags, which are essential to a successful profile. However, the hashtags need to be relevant, popular, and used in a strategic way in order to be beneficial. Adding the right hashtags, which can easily be generated online, can help boost visibility of content and direct users to a practice’s account. Instagram allows a maximum of 30 hashtags per post which can help define and categorize a brand. Using a combination of hashtags, such as the topic of the post, geographic location, target audience, and tagline will ensure variability and give more users the opportunity to discover the profile.
Medical practices of all specialties can leverage Instagram marketing to reach new patients, establish an online community, and broaden their reach. If done correctly, it is one of the most effective ways of connecting with potential patients. Many factors can influence the success of a social media profile, however, it is essential to proactively grow the follower base and regularly engage with the audience to achieve an active following of loyal patients. Additional tips on how to improve Instagram results and optimize social media presence can be found online at Dermatology Times and the healthcare marketing website Intrepy.