Medical social media marketing is a great way for your health practice to connect with current and potential patients. Choosing a suitable social media platform and merging all the healthcare digital marketing tools will yield superior results. With so many social media platforms available there are many opportunities for healthcare practices to reach people in their target market. Instagram has emerged as the most popular platform and is even considered a king among the various social media platforms.
With over 1 million monthly active users, Instagram’s exceedingly visual interface has taken the social media marketplace by storm since its launch in 2010. Not only has it been able to change the way people communicate and share information online, but has also become a unique platform for product promotion and customer engagement. Reports suggest that about 90 percent of users on Instagram follow a business account. When it comes to customer engagement, Instagram surpasses other prominent social media platforms. No wonder more than half of the world’s bests brands are on Instagram.
What Makes Instagram Different from Other Social Media Platforms?
- The primary user base of Instagram comprises millennials. Almost 90 percent of active users come under the age group of 35 years, which means, to be successful on Instagram medical practices need to shift their focus to a much younger audience. For example, if you are a dentist, you will need to focus on teeth whitening and braces rather than on dentures.
- However, even if your marketing focus is not on a younger audience base, do not ignore Instagram. While the vast majority of users are millennials, there is still much scope for increasing your online presence. A substantial online presence means building good trust in the eyes of users, high search engine rankings and a stronger brand presence in your specific field.
- The visual nature of Instagram is one of the key features that sets it apart from other prominent social media platforms. Visuals help build a deep level of trust and connection with the specific target audience.
- Another differentiating feature is the level of anonymity that this social media platform offers. Compared to other social networks, Instagram users are allowed to enjoy higher levels of anonymity. It serves as a perfect medium to explore issues that one might be quite cautious of on other platforms. Users are free to like, comment and engage with posts more freely without the fear of being judged publicly.
- The content to be posted on Instagram also involves certain specifications. As Instagram is more of a personal kind of app, posts that are too technical and promotional in nature are not welcomed by users. Insta users are more inclined towards personal posts like viewing lively pictures related to events, informational material, customer engagement and events happening around the community. For instance, if you are having a holiday party, images wishing your patients a happy holiday can be posted. Also, if your healthcare practice is involved in any type of charity events, your Instagram followers will be glad to know and participate. Followers can be alerted or informed when your practice is on-boarding a new physician by posting an individual or a group photo with an interesting caption.
Maximizing Your Instagram Campaign for Healthcare Practice
A solid medical SEO strategy combined with dedicated effort on your part will reflect in the number of followers you have on Instagram. Here are some important tips that will help you market your medical practice on Instagram-
- Switch to Business Profile – Before you start building your Instagram marketing plan, make sure that you have an “Instagram Business Account”. Go to settings and click on “Switch to Business Profile” to get started. There are several benefits of building a business profile. The business profile allows you to create and publish Instagram Ads without having to use Facebook’s advertising tools. Followers can click on the contact button to get in touch with you right from your Instagram page just like they would from your website. Users will have access to Instagram analytics tools, called Insights, that provide stats about the impressions and reach of the posts.
- Use relevant hashtags – Hashtags are important to your Instagram posts as they allow users to find you even if they have never heard of your brand before. It lets you reach a wider audience by increasing your content exposure. Hashtags are phrases and keywords that users attach to posts on social media. Users can use hashtags on photos that describe the photo. Users can also create campaign-specific hashtags to use with the photos. Hashtags are an important tool for marketing, and Instagram allows you to use up to 40 hashtags on a post. Before posting any image, search around for similar content to see which hashtags are likely to lead to the most awareness and engagement. One of the best ways to simplify hashtags is to observe what your competitors are using. Users can evaluate what is working by understanding the level of customer engagement they are generating. For instance, if you want to start a campaign that focuses around healthy eating, you can create hashtags with photos of healthy snacks or food items and encourage followers to post their own healthy snacks and utilize your hashtags. Hashtags helps to widen the reach of your campaign. You can track the speed of your campaign and see who is using their hashtags. You can also reply to people who use your hashtag and comment on their photo. In fact, this is a great way for you to interact with potential clients and build a reputation by conversing with them through your hashtag usage.
- Post Stories to connect with Followers – Reports suggest that users spend triple the time watching live video on social media than a prerecorded one. Users can post stories by sharing photos or videos through their Instagram accounts. When creating strategies, make sure you share photos and images that feature your practice. It is important to develop brand messaging that will be interrelated with your target audience. Healthcare practices can “go live” and convey their message using video. While there are many ways to include a live video in your Instagram strategy, hosting live Q&A sessions where you answer your followers in real time may prove to be highly effective.
- Host contests – Online contests are a perfect way to attract followers involved in your content while making it more interactive. Hosting contests will help create buzz around your brand and can significantly impact the followership. You can host simple contests such ‘Like this post to win’ or ‘Share this post to win’. This will help you analyze customer engagement levels to find the best time to post in order to grow your audience. According to experts, the best time to post your content on Instagram is on weekdays between 12 pm and 1 pm. However, to understand the best times for your audience, it is important to collect and analyze some data.
- Promote special events – If your healthcare practice is hosting a special event, you can use Insta posts to promote these events. This is a unique strategy to show clients all the events that your healthcare practice conducts. There are two different benefits associated with this strategy. The first benefit is that it helps build the character of your business. For instance, if you post about charity events, this tells people a lot about your business. Other events such as blood drives or free flu shot clinics are great things to promote. You can also promote events that benefit the community. This is a great way to showcase your practice’s dedication to providing excellent care. The second benefit is that sharing these events could motivate people to attend the same thereby making the events more successful. When special events are conducted, users can create hashtags and encourage people to post photos utilizing that hashtag. This is a great way to extend the reach of the event on your own page and encourage others to spread the word.
- Create posting templates – To achieve branding consistency, one of the easiest ways is to look at your current brand and develop some high-quality posting templates for different situations. This will help streamline the efforts when you are putting something onto the medical practice page that fits a specific template style that you have designed. Most people skip this step when starting and it creates inconsistent branding. If you want to build strong patient engagement loyalty over time, then create a theme and stick with it for the most part.
- Post content on a regular basis at the right time – Social media marketing requires consistency. To enhance the visibility of your brand, it is important to post content on Instagram on a regular basis. As people are constantly scrolling through their news feeds to view new content, frequent posts may help enhance your brand presence before these followers. To maintain consistency, use the same theme for all the posts as these themes may help people recognize the posts while scrolling through them. Many practices use the colors of their business as a color scheme for their posts. Using the same colors consistently will help people associate those colors with your business. By consistently posting on Instagram, you will build your brand and gain new leads. However, over posting on Instagram can turn away your existing followers. If all that followers see are your posts on their news feed, they will probably unfollow you. Try to post only during peak days and hours when your followers are online. The worst days to post on Instagram are Wednesdays and Sundays. Mondays and Thursdays are the best days to post.
- Interact with Followers – Instagram provides a great opportunity for you to interact with your followers. Create posts that require people to comment on them. You can pose a question and ask people to answer in the comments. This is a great way to get people to interact with your Instagram page. For instance, if someone takes the time to leave a comment on one of your posts make sure to reply and thank them or respond at the earliest possible. That simple engagement can create a loyal group of audience for your practice. Another way to build or interact with followers is to tag someone in the comments. For a healthcare practice, it can be something like “tag someone who would make a great doctor.” This gets people to tag their friends on your photo, which gets their friends to look at your page.
- Cross Promote Instagram Posts – As a physician or healthcare provider, another way to increase followers is to post across all of your media profiles like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, etc. Then, invite those followers to also follow you on Instagram. As they are already following you on other social media platforms, this step will give them another way to socially connect to your practice. This strategy is a highly effective way to accelerate your Instagram account by leveraging someone’s already established audience.
- Introduce New Employees – Whenever you hire a new employee at your healthcare practice, post a photo of them in to Instagram. Doing so helps followers to build personal relationships with your team, while also filling your feed with content that is not directly self-promotional.
- Create Sponsored Ads – Instagram Ads help medical practices and physicians the ability to target their audience in a whole new way. There are different types of sponsored ads that can be posted like – photos, videos, carousel/dynamic Ads, stories and stories Canvas. For sponsored ads, choose content that is engaging while also appealing to the target audience.
- Take Advantage of the “Swipe Up” Feature – Generally, you would face trouble getting users on Instagram to navigate to your website from a specific link. Typically, you post content on Instagram and then direct people to click on the link in your bio – but that strategy has many disadvantages. Firstly, this is an extra step for users as they have to navigate your profile page and then make another click. The “Swipe Up” feature eliminates this problem and you can use your Instagram story to drive traffic directly to specific landing pages. Once your profile reaches 10k followers, you’ll have access to this feature.
An active Instagram presence for healthcare practices can be a powerful tool to connect with your current and potential local patient base. The benefits of Instagram in healthcare marketing are numerous — enhance online presence, attract new patients and referrals, increase website traffic and showcase your brand message. Creating visual images is one of the top benefits of Instagram which helps to communicate with people quickly. Importantly, with this user-friendly and powerful platform, hospitals and healthcare providers have the opportunity to humanize healthcare, and make an emotional connection with the Instagram audience. Implementing the above-mentioned Instagram marketing strategies will help meet your healthcare and social media optimization goals in an effective manner.