Instagram has quickly become a titan in the world of social media marketing. This has been no truer a case than in the health and medical industry. People are taking their health into their own hands, and in doing so, are actively looking to connect with providers and practices that can aid them in their journey.
Practices have long since realized the benefits an active and engaged social community could have on their practice or hospital system. Yet, they often struggle to ever realize that value and achieve success. One of the most common questions I receive from clients and acquaintances in the healthcare world alike is: "how do I grow an active following on Instagram?"
It can seem like a real head scratcher: Do people care about what we are doing in our medical practice? I understand them liking, following and engaging with a clothing or product company, but us?
Well, fear no more. I am going to walk you through 8 different proven tactics that we use week-in and week-out to grow medical Instagram accounts.
Don't just take my word for it, you can see lots of practices and providers killing it on Instagram using these same tactics.
Here we go…
Step 1. Create Your Perfect Patient Avatar
Before you start any marketing or advertising initiative, much less in social media, you need to define who your ideal target patient is and create that patient profile, or avatar. Just like you would target a specific audience to whom to sell a product, every practice or specialty has a specific type that tends to walk through the doors. Some practices may have a broader patient scope than others. For instance, if you are a dermatologist, you may have two avatars or patient profiles: one for dermatologic procedures and one for cosmetic/aesthetic procedures.
Thus, to find where your patients are on social media, you need to understand them:
- Where do they hang out?
- What types of restaurants do they like?
- What do they do for hobbies?
- What type of fitness are they into? Yoga? Crossfit?
Answering these questions will allow you to know where to go on Instagram to leverage profiles that have these types of followers.
Step 2. Follow & Engage – Get Social!
Now that you have developed those patient profiles, it's time to start creating a list of hashtags and handles that closely align with the lifestyles of the people in your target demographic.
Instagram is about being proactive, not passive. You need to be on the platform daily following, liking, commenting and engaging in your community. The more you do this, the faster your account will grow. For instance, if you are trying to grow your patient base of post-college graduate women, checking out who your local barre or cycling studio is following and who is following them is a great place to look.
Step 3. Leverage Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are all the rage. Practices have been late to jump into the game of leveraging them.
Generally, any new tool or product releases that major social media platforms come out with can be to your advantage and it’s worth figuring out a way to leverage them. The reason? The platforms want to push adoption so they will usually give preferential treatment to those tools in terms of feed placement, increased organic reach and engagement.
Justin Knott is the President of an award-winning healthcare marketing agency, Intrepy Healthcare Marketing. He founded his agency in 2014 to bring a specialized approach to marketing for medical and dental practices. His primary focuses lie in digital marketing, social media marketing, medical SEO strategy, and advertising to help practices generate new, targeted patients. Justin has been published as an SEO and marketing thought leader in dozens of online publications.