Instagram for Your Practice

Social media is the new word of mouth. As such, it can help bring in new patients, remind regular patients that they should schedule an appointment, help educate patients, and build authority for your practice. But you can’t cover every social media platform, so you have to decide what’s going to do your practice the most good. Is Intagram right for your practice?

What’s Instagram good for?

It’s quick, fun, and popular, especially with younger people.

It’s a mobile information sharing tool. If your web analytics show that most of your visitors use mobile devices to reach you, you can feel sure that they’re using their smartphones. Instagram lets you reach them on those phones in their spare moments.

Instagram is terrific for sharing visual images. The screenshot below shows an image from an educational campaign from the Worldwide Breast Cancer Charity. It’s eye-catching and informative. If this is what you have to share, Instagram will be a good choice for your practice.

 

It also lets you convey your brand quickly. If you want to build your brand, Instagram can be very good. Here’s a medical professional who’s working to bust stereotypes about dentistry:

A mix of fun and stylish photos with informational and promotional posts makes this dental office seem like a fun place without reducing authority.

How can you use Instagram?

You must have lots of good visual content, whether that’s casual  photos, infographics, or great shots of your practice location and team. If you don’t have the resources to create good graphics, Instagram is not for you.

You also need a strategy and a message. The yoga studio shown below uses Instagram for promotion and also shares travel and adventure photos showing the active, healthy lifestyle their clients strive for.

Another practice might offer healthy living tips, seasonal campaigns, community information, or contests. Or you might go with the “celebrity doctor” option and work toward personal visibility, or give patients a peek behind the scenes so they can see what your team eats for lunch or how you keep up with professional development. Instagram can also be a great place to publicize your larger issue or cause. Completely random posts that veer from one message to another may be less effective.

Include Instagram in your overall marketing strategy for best results.

And don’t forget the hashtags! Just as on Twitter, hashtags allow people to search Instagram effectively and find the information they want. Hashtags also help people find the communities they want to hang out in, and are essential for creating contests or large-scale campaigns. Spend some time researching hashtags before you get started.

Instagram for medical practices

Don’t forget that HIPAA compliance applies to all your social media. Identifiable patient information, from faces to names to recognizable descriptions, must all be avoided if your practice is covered by HIPAA.

If you want to show before and after pictures, make sure to get a signed release from every person involved in the project. It’s also wise to announce that you have that permission in your posts.

Because patient privacy is very important, medical practices may find it more difficult to create a natural Instagram stream. It’s also very easy to overshare even if you’re careful about patient confidentiality. Plan to create a social media policy, strategy, and editorial calendar to avoid problems.

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