How to Use Instagram to Reach New Audiences and Market Your Practice Better

Have you heard about the 86-year-old InstaGrandma (social-media-speak for a grandma who has an account on the photo-sharing platform Instagram) named baddiewinkle? She has 186,000 followers on Instagram from her hilarious posts and age-defying antics, such as wearing a t-shirt saying “Acid – Just Drop It” and her hashtag, “Why twerk when you can hula hoop?”  If you have nothing better to do with five minutes of your time, I suggest you Google her and see for yourself what a cult following she’s established on Instagram.

It’s true that Instagram’s [link to our instagram profile] popularity is steadily growing — not just among “young people” but also among the Holy Grail of your target market: boomer-age women.

You’re probably already using Facebook and Twitter for your online medical marketing campaigns, but did you know that these “Big Two” are now being regularly upstaged by Instagram’s popularity, and that more and more doctors and medical professionals are using it to spread the word about their practices?

Known for its filters and its snapshot-style posts, Instagram is an entirely image-based social media platform. Though for a long time mostly used for selfies and pictures of food, it has been increasing its features and rapidly gaining popularity, and more and more people are now seeing just how useful and powerful a tool it can be for social media marketing. So how can you use Instagram to reach more people and market your practice better? Here are a few of my favorite tips.

Embrace the Hashtag!

First, although Instagram may not have originated the hashtag, Instagram users were really the first to completely embrace it and use it to its full potential. Unlike Twitter, when you make a post on Instagram, you aren’t limited to 140 characters. That means you don’t have to play games with how many words you can use and then decide whether or not you have space for a hashtag or two. You can write your image’s caption, including any hashtags that belong in the text, and then add as many hashtags as you want afterward.

Why should you be so focused on using hashtags? Because if you use them well, you can reach a much wider audience with every single post. If you’re not already familiar with the idea, “hashtagging” a picture automatically groups that post with all other images that use that hashtag. This way, anyone who searches for that particular hashtag will get to browse through all of the tagged images, and yours will be right there with them.

Instagram has recently updated its software to actually show how well the hashtag(s) you may want to use are trending. You can see if hundreds or thousands (or hundreds of thousands!) of people are using a particular hashtag, and decide whether or not to add it, based on those numbers.

Post Video Clips

Second, use all of Instagram’s features, including its video options. Studies have shown that social media posts with static pictures get more engagement than posts with text alone (which isn’t even possible on Instagram, unless you take a picture of some text), but those same studies have shown that video is significantly more engaging than static images.

Instagram now lets you show up to fifteen seconds of video and — believe it or not — you can do a lot in just fifteen seconds.

· Give a brief video tour of your reception area. Walk in from a patient’s-eye-view.

· Introduce yourself and some of your staff. Or introduce each staff member separately for fifteen seconds, and post one video each week, as a feature.

· Remind patients that they can get rid of those love handles without suffering through another lifestyle debilitating diet regime, perhaps with the cooperation of one of your happy patients!

· Highlight the latest technology you’ve installed in your office, and talk a little bit about why you love using it.

· Showcase the relaxing, spa-like rooms where patients will be having their procedures done. And even (again with a willing patient’s cooperation) show the lulling into pleasant sleep that often happens during a Venus Freeze!

“Nothing shows better than showing” and the video option on Instagram can truly bring that home for your prospective patients. There’s really no limit to what you can do with fifteen seconds!

Instagram gives you a visual means to easily show your potential new patients who you are and how you run your practice. Online medical marketing is all about building a relationship with your audience and building trust with new patients, so that they choose you over competing practices. With consistent video and image posts on Instagram, you can take your physician marketing campaigns to the next level and show new audiences why they should choose you as the premier cosmetic surgeon for their procedure.