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How to Use Instagram for Medical Practices

Instagram is a great way to reach new prospective clients  - after all, 300 million people actively use it monthly. In fact, The Pew Research Center shows that for U.S. adults, Instagram has surpassed Twitter in popularity among social media with 26% of online American adults using Instagram in 2014 compared to Twitter’s 23%.

A client of ours that’s a fairly large medical practice in Fairfield County, CT has asked us for recommendations and best practice for an Instagram account they would like to create. Here are some pointers. 

As with all marketing efforts, set out clear goals such as:

  • A clear understanding of the audience your trying to reach and what would appeal to them
  • A plan on how to reach your audience through pictures – what kinds of images would be visually appealing to provide the initial connection that will influence people to follow your practice
  • Ways to generate conversations about your practice

Ideas for Medical Practice Images

  • Staff
    • Doctors giving a seminar or workshop
    • Staff from different departments or specialties so followers can meet them – use caption to share something about them
    • A day in the life at your practice – (i.e.: showing behind-the-scenes activities)
    • Doctors or staff that receive a new commendation/award/accolade or milestone
    • From medical conferences or special events they attend
    • Doing any kind of community outreach
  • Seasonal products (i.e.: lotions during winter, sunscreens during summer for dermatology or skincare practice)
  • Practice news (new doctor, employee, new equipment, product, or specialty offering)
  • Before/after shots if you have permission – most helpful for cosmetic and plastic surgery practices
  • Upcoming events
  • Images that tie into news items or special months (i.e.: breast cancer month – there is a month for everything!)

Other Must-Do’s (this goes for any industry)

  • Be consistent - Establish a schedule of how frequently you will post pictures on Instagram.  Plan to upload at least one picture every week.  But don’t “spam” your followers with multiple images each day. 
  • Engage Directly With Followers - Ask questions in your photo captions and be sure to respond to comments. Find organizations, practices and people that are in your field and follow on Instagram as you do on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. Run a contest encouraging followers to upload photos using specific hashtags.
  • Use Hashtags - See what popular hashtags people are using and implement some of your own. Trending hashtags will expose your photos to people who are not already following you, which will help you obtain more followers -- including those who reside in your area.
  • Geotag – Potential patients interested in viewing content specific to their area will be able to find your photos as long as you tag them with your location.  
  • Track - Use Instagram’s analytic tools to track your performance to see how you’re e performing and where you can improve. As with any marketing effort, feedback and review are crucial.

While Instagram is most appealing to brands and industries that are more visually oriented it does help to humanize a company such as a medical practice. It also encourages a connection with prospective and current patients, important for any company, but particularly important in healthcare.