There’s no question as to whether your practice should or shouldn’t be using social media. The answer is a definite yes, regardless of whether you run weight loss facility, dental practice or pain management center. Social media is the most efficient way to reach your audience and the best way to gain social proof.
You might have a preconceived notion about Instagram – but what comes to mind? Do you see a double-scoop ice-cream cone set against a sandy beach with a romantic filter? Do you see hashtag after hashtag? Or maybe you see cute puppies doing silly things? If this is what you’re seeing, then you need to dump this preconceived image of Instagram.
Instagram is more than a platform for the younger generation to share trendy photos and fun things; it is a transformative tool for your practice.
Instagram has over 200 million monthly active users, and has a greater app growth (more app downloads) than Twitter, Youtube, Google+ or Facebook.
A majority of Instagram’s users are between the ages of 18-35, so this could be a great opportunity for those who are looking to expand their audience or trying to target those in this age group. But that doesn’t mean that those older than 35 won’t come into your radar either. If you know your patients are social media savvy than this could work just as well for you.
So if you’re already signed up for Instagram, or if you’re about to hit the “sign up” button, then we have some tips for you. Navigating Instagram is simple and straight-forward, but using it effectively means adopting good posting habits and techniques. Put posting and sharing on pause for a minute and listen up, because here are 5 Instagram Dos and Don’ts you need to know…
5 Instagram Dos
Establish Your Expertise
You don’t need to be the best expert in your field, but you do need to be the best in your area.
Use Instagram to demonstrate your expertise in your community. Get in front of the camera and show your audience who you are and what you do. Post a candid photo of yourself in the midst of work to show how involved you are in your business; or if you’re at a convention, event or seminar related to your practice, then let your followers know! They want to see you do what it is you claim to do.
You could also use Instagram to educate your patients about different procedures, treatments or programs. This could also mean sharing quick tips and words of advice. Here’s an example of how Dr. Simon Ourian, a Cosmetic Dermatologist from Beverly Hills, uses his Instagram to inform:
Get Your Staff to ‘Gram With You
Incorporating your staff into photos shows that you have a positive work environment and a welcoming practice. Even though we want to promote your practice professionally, we your audience and potential patients to know that your office is friendly and a bit goofy sometimes too. It helps create an aura of relatability for those looking for a new physician in your field. They want someone who will treat them like a person and not just another number.
Build Your Brand Story
What is it about your practice that you want your audience to know and see (this is where you can play on the aesthetic of your business)? Are you particularly proud of your facility, the technology you use, or the values you uphold? Snap photos around the office, or share meaningful quotes that resonate with your practice – the better the photo quality, the better the response!
The Spartan Race prides itself on incorporating outdoor terrain and challenging obstacles to motivate and push their participants. They’ve also managed to tie in one of their leading values in this particular post:
Share Patient Stories
If you’ve been given permission, utilize your patient’s stories to share with others for social proof. Some of the most powerful messages come from those who will personally vouch for you. If you’re running a weight loss center, take advantage of “before and after” photos. Stamp them with specific weights and dates and highlight any other positive progress. This works well for any sort of transformative journey or procedure, like cosmetic surgery.
There’s no point in putting in all the effort if you don’t know how it’s being repaid. Once you build a decent Instagram portfolio, look into the analytics to track your success. Look at the amount of likes, comments, followers and clicks, and see if people are mentioning your business with hashtags. What types of photos are doing well and why? Was it the content? The time you posted? The people you tagged? There are so many variants to how you track your engagement.
Now that you’ve mastered the Instagram Dos, let’s go over the Instagram Don’ts – some of which you absolutely must keep in mind!
5 Instagram Don’ts
Disclose Personal Information
At times, using social media can be tricky in terms of privacy and policy. To be safe and protect yourself, your patients and your practice, always ensure that you are following HIPAA rules. This means never referring one of your followers as a patient (if they refer to themselves as a patient, that’s fine), never disclosing personal information of patients, and always asking for permission from anyone who appears in your photos or posts. If you’re having doubts about posting a particular photo, and think it might cross boundaries with a privacy issue, then don’t post the photo. Do your research and make proper judgements on what is and is not appropriate.
Neglect Your Followers
It’s great for your followers to see what your practice is like from another perspective through Instagram. Most likely, the photos you share aren’t things they would see on a regular visit, but you should give them another incentive to follow your page.
You should use Instagram as another means of connecting with your audience, like being diligent with responding to pressing questions or with saying a quick “thank-you!”
Another way to reward your followers is by sharing contests or promotions. You can make these particular contests and promotions unique to your Instagram page so that your followers have to be following you in order to get the latest scoop.
Or, you can repost user-generated content to increase your brand reputation and show that you’re a personable business.
Forget to Add a Noteworthy Description
Yes, a photo can speak for itself, but this is marketing not art. Captions, tags and hashtags are immensely important when you upload a photo. The goal is start a conversation with your audience – obtaining a lot of followers is great, but that means little if no one is engaging with your work.
By adding a quirky, informative or inspiring caption, you give people more reason to start a conversation and engage. These chances only increase if you include relevant and meaningful tags and hashtags. Is there someone else in the photo that you can tag? Perhaps another business that you are collaborating with? And what sorts of hashtags do you think would be useful? Try using hashtags that are relevant to your community, location and practice.
Fail to Create a Full Profile
Most Instagram users will throw up a quick one or two sentence blurb about their business, but you should provide more than simply the company name, site address or phone number. Include a short bio, a relevant profile picture and links to relevant product pages. Write up a motto that your practice stands by, or at least something unique that will followers remember you.
There’s no determined amount for how often you should post, but you want to find a happy medium between over-posting and under-posting. Well-known brands post on average, 1-2 times a day on Instagram, but sharing a few most posts a day can still maintain good engagement. If you have the time, create a post every day for your followers, and if you’re always in a crunch, then no damage will be done if you can only get to it every couple or few days. Just don’t go to extremes by posting 10+ photos a day of irrelevant and unengaging content; or leave the account stagnant for weeks.
By implementing these tips, you should start seeing a difference in how your audience responds to you. Building a well-rounded presence on Instagram will help your marketing campaign for current patients and even bring in new leads.
If you’re ready to take your practice to the next level, build authority, become a celebrity in your town, and build a 7figureclinic and beyond, then you need to get in touch with me. I’m currently taking on a few private clients right now. It’s been almost 12 months since I’ve open up space in my 7figureclinic growth system and it won’t be long until the few spots I have are filled up. Complete the application here to see if you qualify.