Instagram Marketing for Doctors – A Guide to Patient Engagement
Instagram Marketing for Doctors – 11 Tips to Get Engage with Patients
Instagram marketing for doctors is one of the top ways to organically engage with potential patients and begin to build a know, like and trust relationship through thought leadership. It has skyrocketed to prominence over the past few years and now it is the place to be when it comes to social media engagement.
With an estimated 864 million user accounts, you can see why there is such a big opportunity for medical practices to reach a whole new set of potential patients.
Whether you are reading this post because you are trying to figure out if jumping into the Instagram game is right for you as a practice, or you have had a profile for a while but are struggling with the growth aspect we will cover the 101s and some great strategies to get you those first 1,000 Instagram followers.
To get things started I am going to go over some of the 101s when setting up your Instagram and creating a killer brand page/profile for your practice right out of the gate.
Setting Up Your Doctor Instagram Profile
Sounds simple enough but I still see doctors on Instagram making a mistake when setting up their Instagram and that is not using an Instagram Business account and signing up for a personal account. If you are not sure if you are using a business Instagram account, it’s pretty easy to find out.
Go to your account and next to “Edit Profile” if you see the “Promote” button then you are utilizing Instagram business. If you are realizing now that you may have made this mistake, don’t fret switching over is simple. Take a look at the screenshots below on how to make the switch.
Once you have made the switch or set up an account make sure to fill out all of your practice information, including: website, bio, category, and ALL of the contact options so it is as easy as possible for people to contact the practice.
Why Do You Need to Make the Switch to an Instagram for Doctors Business Account?
Making the switch gives you a set of really excellent tools to help you grow your medical Instagram account. You will be able to see rolling 7-day insights on impressions, post reach, profile views, website/direction/call clicks and more. You will also be able to view a breakdown of your followers by gender, age range and location, which is important when targeting local patients. It will help the practice stay up to date on who is following you to make sure you are reaching the right target marketing in the right area.
11 Instagram Marketing for Doctors Tips
Now that you have made the switch or got the Instagram profile all set up for the business it is time to look at growing those followers, likes, and engagements to get more patients. Instagram is a naturally visual social media platform, so you want to go in realizing you need to create some visual branding guidelines to keep your wall consistent from a look and feel perspective.
Most successful accounts have a specific theme and overall color that they go for on their wall.
1. Create Posting Templates
To accomplish branding consistency, I was referring to the easiest way is to look at your current brand and develop some high-quality posting templates for different situations.
This will help to streamline the efforts when you are putting something onto the medical practice page that fits a specific template style that you have designed.
Many people forgo this when starting and it creates inconsistent branding. If you want to build patient engagement loyalty over time, then create a theme and stick with it for the most part.
2. Using the Right Instagram Hashtags
Hashtags are one of the lifeblood of the Instagram platform. They are how people find new content, engage with the things they love and connect with new people. For medical practices, it is no different.
You need to find the Instagram hashtags that are in line with what your potential patients are looking for content wise. Make sure to find a right blend of very popular hashtags, branded hashtags, local hashtags, and industry-specific hashtags.
Using #love #fun #happy in all of your posts may get you some likes because of their overall popularity, but it won’t get you where you need to be regarding customer loyalty and sustained local engagement. You will be drowned out by all of the other noise on those hashtag feeds.
There are a ton of hashtag research tools online both free and paid options to help you find out what your target demographic is using to maximize your reach for each post. Here are a few of the most popular:
- All Hashtag
- Instagram Hashtag Generator
3. Use a Killer Photo Editor
To be truly successful and grow your medical practice Instagram following you need to think of everything you post as art. Whether it’s a graphic of a new special, the practice is running, or a photo of the surgeon in the operating room make sure you take the time to edit and add graphics.
This again goes back to the importance of developing some posting templates because if it takes you forever to post every time you may eventually be very discouraged to do so so make it easy on yourself.
Certain Instagram filters have even been showing to lead to higher engagement rates. Hubspot did an in-depth article solely focused on Instagram filters. Check it out it is worth a read during your research.
4. Post High-Quality Content Consistently
Point #4 in Instagram marketing for doctors is where the rubber meets the road when it comes to having patient engagement and growth. It starts with consistent, high-quality content. Now that you have a good photo editor and a few posting templates the high quality should not be tough.
It is the consistency that gets most people. Most Instagram experts agree that it is the more the merrier when it comes to posting. The minimum goal should be every day with a sweet spot of 3X per day. Tons of studies show posting 7+ times per week triples likes, engagement and follower growth.
When clients come to us to grow their practice Instagram account or ask me to audit their profile this is consistently the #1 reason for growth problems for medical practice: lack of posting frequency. To keep your audiences engaging you need to provide content, lots of material. You have targeted potential patients now it’s time to show them what makes you the best in the industry.
The more consistency you gain in likes the more your Instagram posts will appear on their feed. If you are posting 3 or more times a day, you are increasing the possibility to gain more likes and engage with your audience. Posting on Instagram with high-quality posts multiple times a day requires time and monitoring. This is the challenge that most doctors quickly learn when trying to grow their Instagram.
Instagram involves a lot of time and attention. Posting multiple times a day is only successful when your Instagram has fresh and captivating visuals. Simply reposting or recycling content just to hit the daily quota of posting will not grow followers and likes.
5. Proactively Follow Patients That Fit Your Target Audience
To get to that 1,000 Instagram followers mark quickly for your medical practice, you need to be actively following people on Instagram. However, it is easy to grow fast by following 1,000s of people at random (or buying followers which I strongly discourage) but what does it matter if the people following you have no interest in what you do or are located five states away? More than likely someone in Texas is not going to make the trek to Florida to visit your OB/GYN practice. You need to focus on targeting people in specific geographical locations that fit your target market of potential patients.
There are a few different ways to find local people. Start by using popular places located in your city by doing a search and swapping over to the “Places” results and click on the best options. You will see photos from people that have tagged that place in the photo.
For example, a popular local yoga studio or women’s clothing boutique could be a great search to find local, health-conscious women to follow if that is your target.
6. Engage with Your Patients
If you are consistently following people, you need to utilize your main news feed and like, comment and engage with the people you are following. Especially the people that show you love on your posts.
It can be time-intensive, but you will be happily surprised at the growth and reciprocated engagement you receive when you show a little love on Instagram. Social media is inherently selfish because your feed is filled with people talking about themselves or taking selfies.
Like their photos and many will return the favor. This works to help get your posts out to more people because on of Instagram’s algorithm factors is the number of likes so the more you receive the more you will increase your overall impressions and brand exposure.
7. Bring Your Instagram Followers Into The Operating Room
Many doctors and medical practices that have developed a large following on Instagram have a common theme. A large portion of their wall features their physicians doing what they do best: surgery. People want to see awesome and unique on Instagram and placing tons of stock photos of pretty models will bore your followers to death.
However, show your doctor in action performing a rhinoplasty or liposuction, while grotesque to a point, will draw in a large amount of interest and eyeballs. It also allows people to build a little bit of a relationship with the physician who will handle their patient care if they decide to come into the practice.
8. Run Contests and Promotions
Contests and promotions when done correctly are a great way to grow your following and engage with new people in your community.
Plan a promotion for the practice that will be of substantial value to potential clients and get them into the office to see what you do. I have seen some doctors do giveaways and a person on the other side of the country wins their skincare line.
How does that help grow the practice? Be creative with your promotion but also ensure that claiming the prize involves being involved in some level with the physical practice.
9. Cross Promote to Your Target Audience
Especially when the practice Instagram is early on it can be difficult trying to get people to follow you back. When you have 100 follows people are more reluctant to see the value in following your verse if you have 10,000 followers. There is psychological and social validation factor that says hey 10,000 other people found something interesting here I am sure I will too.
Therefore, it can be of great benefit while your Instagram is growing and gaining traction to team up with a brand, product, or influential person in your market to cross-promote to their followers.
This practice has rapidly grown in popularity with many people making their living helping brands and products reach more people and sell more. This is referred to as influencer marketing and can be a highly effective way to accelerate your Instagram account by leveraging someone’s already established audience.
Pro Tip: Doctor influencer marketing generally comes with a cost, either monetarily or in-kind trade of services so be prepared. Make sure there is skin in the game for both parties so they are incentivized to promote your brand but you know exactly what you are getting out of it in return. Secondly (most importantly) is to do the research to make sure you are reaching the right audience. There are tools online that can breakdown an account’s followers on a demographic and geographic basis. As well as, engagement rates. You want to make sure that you will not only get your message out to the right potential audience but that they are “listening” to what the doctor influencer on Instagram has to say.
10. Promote Your Instagram Profile Everywhere
Utilize all the other places on and offline that you can to make current and potential patients aware that the medical practice has an Instagram profile. Make sure the icon is prominent on the practice website at the top and bottom of the site.
Create graphics for the other practice social media accounts to remind people to follow on Instagram too.
Finally, your current patient base can be a conduit to reach new patients so put a stand at check out and in the patient rooms letting them know Instagram is where it is at!
11. Showcase Patient Success Stories or Before & Afters
People want to see other people who have had an excellent experience at the practice. They do not care about a stock photo or a before and after provided by the manufacturer of your laser machine.
Patients are inundated daily with before and afters and they are smart enough to read between the lines and know what’s real and what is suspect. Reach out and ask patients that are happy with their experience if they are willing to participate in a social media campaign. Tell their story because it is a great way to create an emotional connection with your audience when they can relate to another person.
On the before and after side, if you are a cosmetic or aesthetics practice, be diligent in collecting and distributing these. Keep them consistent and focus on a wide range of ages, both sexes, and different skin types. People want to relate to someone as close to their type as possible when it comes to procedural results.
Do not forget to watermark your images to reduce the risk of them being stolen or used elsewhere around the internet. Unfortunately, this occurs on a daily basis so be diligent in protecting your property by watermarking photos with your logo.
Instagram Marketing for Doctors Wrap Up
Instagram for medical practices can be a powerful tool to connect with your current and potential local patient base. If you follow these steps and focus on posting and brand consistency, you will be surprised at how Instagram can turn into one of the top healthcare marketing strategies for your practice. Be different, be creative, and get the whole practice involved.
Medical practices are a dime a dozen on social media do something to separate you from the crowd and engage with patients.