Instagram is wildly popular. If you are not using it to reach patients, it’s time to start. With a global user rate of 1.440 billion people daily, this is a marketing avenue that all healthcare providers should consider. Even more importantly, 75% of Instagram users convert, which means they are very likely to take action (such as visiting your website) after engaging with your Instagram posts. Since 2010, Instagram has grown to the 7th most visited website in the world and the 4th most used social media platform.

If these numbers are not enough to convince you, consider that women, who still make the majority of healthcare decisions, are the top users of Instagram. Gen Z also ranks the platform as their favorite social channel and even prefers it to TikTok.

If you are considering expanding social media for your practice, Instagram is the platform to focus on. Finding the time, however, is challenging. What are some of the best ways for medical practices to use Instagram? Is it worth putting in the time?

In this article, we will help you:

  • Understand the power of Instagram
  • Learn how to get started making posts
  • Bypass the trial and error stage and go straight to optimizing your content
  • Understand how you can use this social powerhouse to stand out from the crowd

What Is Instagram and Why Does It Matter?

The first thing to understand about Instagram is that it takes the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words” and translates it into action. Using Instagram is an engaging way to build your practice—but, like all social platforms, only if you know how to use it to your advantage.

Instagram was originally developed for independent users to post pictures and videos from their mobile devices. Its basic purpose is simple and was way ahead of the curve when you realize that the platform launched in 2010. 

Humans are sight-oriented creatures of habit and there is plenty of data showing just how much time we spend perusing videos and other media content online each day. Instagram not only tapped into this trend but contributed to the rise of our social media obsession.

Anyone who has a social media account should be somewhat familiar with how Instagram works. You simply post a video or a graphic to your Instagram profile and viewers can follow it from their feeds. You can also view posts from other users, comment, tag, and private message others. 

This formula has been successfully implemented and leveraged across most social sites, so what makes Instagram a better choice for your practice’s online engagement strategies? Why not other platforms?

The answer lies in the users and their behaviors:

  • Female millennials are the most frequent users of Instagram
  • Nearly 60% of users log in every day
  • The popularity of the platform is increasing, unlike Facebook
  • Gen Z and millennials make up the majority of users
  • 91% of Instagram followers watch videos on the platform every week
  • 90% of users follow specific brands on the platform
  • 62% of teens use Instagram

Even if your healthcare social strategy does not incorporate a push to reach a younger audience, Instagram is also capable of reaching older demographics. The popularity of the platform stretches across age brackets and generations. According to Pew Research, the age breakdown of Instagram users includes:

  • 71% of ages 18-29
  • 48% of ages 30-49
  • 29% of ages 50-64
  • 13% of 65+

When it comes to ethnic and racial demographics, Instagram reaches an audience that is:

  • 52% Hispanic
  • 49% Black
  • 35% White

Whether you are trying to reach a targeted demographic or a broad swath of potential patients, Instagram offers you the data and customizable tools to harness this avenue to cover both marketing strategies. But where do you start? How can you reach the most people as quickly as possible?

Where to Start with Instagram

The first step for practice administrators who are setting up a new Instagram profile is learning the difference between a personal account and a business profile. A business account gives you access to powerful analytics that break down the followers on your platform by demographic and can tell you who is and is not engaging with your account. This data is especially useful for targeting local patient populations.  

After you open an Instagram account, follow these three steps to get started:

  1. Go to settings and select “Switch to Professional Account”
  2. Select the business category 
  3. Complete your profile

To be thorough, don’t forget to link your Facebook practice profile. On your Instagram profile you will see “Linked Accounts” from the dropdown menu. Click it and add your Facebook login information and tap “share to” your page.

Make sure you select a user name that reflects your practice’s brand, such as @drsmithortho or @drsmithpediatrics. As you fill out the profile, you can add fun facts and relatable details about your practice or its employees, like highlighting an employee’s pet or that your doctor is a triathlete. Make sure you add emoticons and hashtags to not only further your reach but to make your posts more appealing and accessible. 

Some popular hashtags for medical practices include:

  • #Allergies
  • #Doctor
  • #FluSeason
  • #Healthcare
  • #HealthTips
  • #Medical
  • #Nutrition
  • #Wellness
  • #WomensHealth

Hashtags boost your posts and will draw attention to your practice when users search for terms featured in your hashtags. The data shows that brands often see a 50% engagement bump when hashtags are added to a post. Hashtags turn your post into a link that pulls together all of the posts that use the # symbol and keyword. For example, if you use the hashtag #Nutrition, a quick search will let you see all posts about that topic.

Hashtags are a great way to further your reach on Instagram. What other ways can you optimize your use of this platform?

How to Optimize Your Instagram Posts

The first step to optimizing your Instagram account is to develop a strategy for your social posts. First, consider that Instagram is a more personal and social platform. It isn’t geared toward “selling” things directly to consumers. Instead, your goal should be to develop brand consistency by producing genuine content that appeals to the target audience you are looking to build—doing so will lead to an increase in patients and sales.

Consider a strategy that shares wellness tips or shows what your practice is doing behind the scenes—just be relatable. Relatable content is the kind of value Instagram users are searching for. Any content too promotional or formal simply will not fly on Instagram. The types of videos or content you should consider sharing on Instagram should include:

  • Patient success stories
  • A birthday or holiday celebration
  • Charity events that your team participates in after work (avoid anything political, of course)
  • How-to content (how to develop a better meal plan, how to exercise from home, stretches, basic care instructions, etc…)
  • Grand openings
  • Repurposed Facebook posts
  • YouTube patient testimonial videos
  • Employee introductions and face-to-face discussions

Posting trending healthcare topics will also help keep you relevant. Keep your eyes open for items in the news that you can reference in your social posts. Use the appropriate hashtags and keep your style and tone as consistent as possible. 

Optimizing your Instagram profile and reaching the most people is key to social selling. It’s an easy platform to manage and master, giving you a dynamic way to engage patients. To do this well requires consistency—you should focus on creating a compelling voice to broadcast your content on Instagram and other social platforms.

Getting started is easy, but success takes time and dedication. Just because your Instagram profile isn’t going viral doesn’t mean you should abandon Instagram. Professional guidance can help.

Practices that struggle to engage patients in the digital space turn to Insight Marketing Group for help achieving their branding goals and engaging new patients. Over the years, we’ve developed proven marketing strategies that help our clients succeed across social media platforms, converting online clicks into real-life appointments. 

Our dedicated team of marketers focuses on helping small to midsize medical practices increase their revenues by leveraging our branding strategies to help them reach their goals. 

Start the conversation today to see what we can do for your practice.

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