Proactive healthcare digital marketing can have a huge impact on your practice. While some might shy away from it, Instagram for medical practices is an easy, effective tool to grow your practice and engage with current (and potential) patients. Here are 14 tips to master Instagram for doctors.
Why is Instagram for medical practices so important?
The reason Instagram for medical practices is so important? That’s where your patients are, and they are already looking for you. Why not meet them?
Over 200 million people visit at least one Instagram business profile a day. Instagram has one billion monthly users, and these users trust content from their friends. Instagram for medical practices builds community and develops relationships. These relationships count. Having more connections online builds your authority, lending credibility to your practice and organically boosting your online presence.
Another bonus of using Instagram for medical practices? The direct link to Facebook. Facebook has two and a half billion daily users that span the widest demographics of any social media platform. It is easy to link your Instagram business account to your Facebook page for seamless posting in both places.
Here’s how to do it right.
1. Don’t make it personal
There is a difference between a personal Instagram account and a business account. Using Instagram for medical practices means creating a business account separate from your personal account.
Why? Business accounts:
- With 10,000 or more followers can add a “swipe up” feature to go directly to a website
- Have analytics to see what posts work (and which need help)
- Can “boost” a post to reach targeted accounts
- Get a “contact us” button in their profile
Save the vacation snaps and food photos for your personal account and keep it all business for your medical practice.
2. Build a profile for doctors on Instagram
At a minimum, make sure your Instagram business profile has hours, location(s), and contact information (set up that “contact” button!). Include any branded graphics in the photo, and quickly list specialties or areas of practice.
Other smart things to include in your profile:
- Your website (the only place to link a website on Instagram)
- An address (that links to a map when you click it)
- A tagline
- Branded hashtags
- Business category
Essentially, your profile is the first impression of your practice. Make sure it accurately reflects your practice and the services you offer.
3. Figure out which healthcare Instagram posts resonate
Instagram for medical practices is most effective when you take advantage of what a business account has to offer in terms of post insights.
You can access insights in two ways: from your business’s profile page and from each individual post.
Over time, track which posts do better in terms of reach and engagement. Then, take the time to figure out what the insights actually mean (and what to do with them).
4. Find inspiration with healthcare Instagram post ideas
Your account is set up, your profile looks great, and you are committed to analytics. But what are the best things to post on Instagram for medical professionals?
This will vary, depending on the tone and style of your practice. Consider some of the following ideas:
- Informative videos
- Before and after photos (with appropriate permissions)
- Day-in-the-life posts from your team
- Inspiring stories and quotes
- Commentary on health-adjacent news stories
- Updates on relevant research
- Quick tips for health and wellness
In general, Instagram users look for a more informal tone, but you can still be professional. Other post ideas include encouraging messages, standard “meet the team” posts, invitations to events, or posts around your community involvement.
5. Compile ideas for Instagram captions for doctors
Instagram captions for doctors can include everything from research updates to funny stories from clinic staff.
You should not post patient pictures, names, or stories without permission, and keep the very personal captions on your personal page.
6. Figure out healthcare hashtags
Hashtags are a way to help users find your content. Placing the hashtag in front of a word or words makes that word or words a searchable link.
There are a number of different hashtag tools that can help you figure out which will work best for your content. With so many people scrolling so quickly, your hashtag strategy can influence whether or not anyone sees the content you are creating.
Take a look at hashtags your competitors are using, then tailor your ‘tags to your audience and engagement goals. You can also look at what similar industry leaders are using to get started.
Other ways to work hashtags include:
- Developing a branded hashtag and putting it in your profile
- Searching your hashtag on Instagram to find related hashtags
- Saving hashtag ideas in one place to quickly copy/paste onto posts
- Using analytics to see how many people your hashtags reach
- Posting hashtags in the first comment (not the post)
- Using between five and 20 hashtags per post
- Looking for local hashtag opportunities
- If you add hashtags to post captions, separating from the caption with line breaks
Once you get your hashtag strategy in place, make sure to update it as you receive feedback from insights.
7. Get comfortable with Instagram Stories and ads
If you are struggling with other ad platforms, using Stories and ads as part of Instagram for medical practices may be the move. Instagram Story ads are a built-in feature of your business account. They appear seamlessly in stories, virtually indistinguishable from personal content.
Whichever works for you, these Story ads can see ten times the engagement as Facebook. If you have to choose one type of ad to pay for, Instagram Stories and ads might be your best bet.
8. Get consistent
One of the best ways to grow your audience when using Instagram for medical practices is to post consistently. Find out the best time to post on Instagram for your industry, and schedule regular posts during that time ahead of time.
Generally, for healthcare companies, the best day to post is Tuesday, with higher engagement during the week. Avoid Saturday and Sunday.
9. Put together a style guide for content and graphics
Just as important as when you post is how you post. Putting together a style guide provides a framework for each Instagram post in terms of style, tone, and language.
This allows anyone in your practice to post in the voice of your practice.
10. Automate as much as possible
One of the main reasons Instagram for doctors falls flat is time. Most medical professionals are too busy to continually monitor their social media marketing.
The answer? Automation.
Set up automated responses to incoming questions with a link to your website and note that a team member will be in touch shortly. You can also set up template responses to the most frequently-asked questions. Add a button or a contact link to direct them if their question isn’t answered.
Use a post scheduler to minimize the amount of time you spend posting, too. Or, outsource the work to a trusted digital marketing team.
11. Follow all patient privacy regulations
Yes, it’s the internet, and yes, HIPAA rules still apply. To ensure that you and your staff follow all patient privacy regulations, train everyone on securing patient information. This can extend to:
- Not sharing client testimonials unless expressly approved
- Hiding patient information when taking photos of the office or team
- Hiding or deleting comments or reviews that share personal information
Protecting patient privacy is key.
12. Engage health and wellness influencers in your community
Health and wellness influencers come with a built-in community that can help spread the word about your practice. This partnership can benefit them as well.
Once you’ve found a possible partner, consider offering to host a Q&A on their Instagram stories or IGTV, offering an Instagram account swap for a day (a takeover), or running a giveaway. Make this relationship authentic and meaningful for the best results.
13. Keep a social media calendar and join in on awareness days
Awareness days (and other holidays) offer built-in opportunities for content.
Make sure your posts are in keeping with your practice and strike the same tone and style (see note on developing a style guide).
14. Consider developing branded graphics
Canva is a great tool for developing an easily recognized branded graphic when using Instagram for medical practices.
When people are scrolling through Instagram, you want your medical practice to stand out. Branded graphics across your platform help build recognition.
Instagram for medical practices can be a great way to reach more potential patients, but it does take time. Boost Medical can help with a full-scale setup of your business account and ongoing monthly management, or we can step in as consultants to help you get started.