Ready or not, the age of social media is here to stay. Digital marketing is a must for any business in practically every industry to build a brand, and even hospitals, group medical practices, and other healthcare professionals are learning to utilize these platforms to connect with customers and patients. People turn to hashtags when searching for information, even medical information. Once upon a time, online marketing meant simply keeping a consistently active website. Eventually, businesses learned to use consistent blogging, Facebook pages, and even YouTube channels to improve their brands. Now, a new titan of the social media marketing world is Instagram, and this app is forcing businesses to rethink how they engage with customers.
For those still asking what Instagram is
Surprisingly, some may still be unfamiliar with the Instagram platform. To clarify, Instagram is an online mobile social networking service. The platform is specifically designed to share photos and videos, either publicly or privately. Essentially, Instagram has revolutionized the foundation for engaging marketing through social media. Not to mention, the growth of the Instagram audience is nothing short of astonishing. According to recent statistics:
- September of 2017, Instagram had 800 million monthly users worldwide.
- June 2018, the network had reached 1 billion monthly active users worldwide.
- In 2015, there were approximately more than 77.6 million active Instagram users in the United States.
- This year, 104.7 million of the people actively on Instagram are in the United States.
Instagram’s influence spans across a multitude of demographics. The majority tends to lean slightly female. Overall, the highest use rates go to a younger, more urban audience. In America, the app is a huge part of modern culture. In fact, according to a recent study more than half of the population age 18- 29 use Instagram. Among those surveyed, 21% of all adults also use Instagram. Consequently, it’s no surprise that over 80% of the top brands take advantage of this app for comprehensive digital marketing.
How healthcare is engaging on Instagram
But what does this have to do with healthcare? Believe it or not, many private practices, clinics, and even hospitals are using Instagram to engage with their social media audience. This includes:
- Answering frequently asked questions
- Educating and informing patients
- Breaking down and explaining procedures
- Introducing and touring new facilities
- Offering bios on doctors and other medical staff
- Sharing patient reviews and testimonials
- Highlighting new equipment, products or services
- Promoting work done for fundraising and other contributions
- Promoting special events and special visitors
These kinds of posts allow providers to personalize their message and help their patients feel better connected to their doctors and nurse staff. Effective marketing for healthcare services on Instagram also attracts new patients and referrals. It can increase visitor traffic to your website and Facebook page, and ultimately build better brand identity with the audience.
How to take advantage of the app
For businesses, the first task on the checklist should be to create and optimize a branded profile that connects to the specific audience or potential customer. Some ways to take advantage of the app to engage with customers include:
- Include a bio or description of the business
- Research hashtags related to the industry for indexing and discovery
- Attach links to the main business website or web landing pages
- Optimize captions and other text to connect with the audience
- Integrate logos and branding when appropriate
- Link social media accounts from other platforms wherever possible to drive further engagement
Remember, this is about engaging with the audience. The primary goals are to humanize healthcare, and better connect with those who need help. Quality content supports quality care.