Social media is a powerful tool for businesses, especially those in the healthcare sector. In an era of immediacy, it allows providers to reach their audience on a wide platform and offers benefits that traditional radio or television advertising cannot.
Many health care practices now understand the value of social media and in particular, Facebook. They may have their own Facebook pages but what about Instagram? You may not know as much about it but Instagram enables healthcare providers the opportunity to instantly – and at times better – connect with their target audience, as well as attract new patients.
Instagram is a mobile app that is compatible with Android and iOS devices and allows users to share videos and pictures with both private and public followers. Data shared on Instagram can also be shared via apps like Twitter or Facebook. This versatility allows healthcare providers to reach consumers on multiple channels, thereby increasing their visibility. In addition, the marketing firm Healthcare Success, LLC reports that 40% of consumers are more likely to respond to visual stimuli than simple text, as the brain can process images much faster than text and retain them longer.
When it comes to a target audience, Instagram is no longer just for the under 25 crowd. InboundMD reports that 35% of senior citizens utilized social media in 2015, up from only 11% in 2010. In addition, approximately 40% of patients use social media for either crowdsourcing advice or research when selecting a healthcare provider. This means that patients are no longer relying on word of mouth from friends and family; instead, they are using social media to take better charge of their healthcare. Social media platforms also give healthcare providers a tangible way to track how they source new patients or how many times their name appeared in Instagram posts.
Health care providers that incorporate Instagram into their marketing plan will find there are many benefits to doing so. The app can play an important role in community outreach and education as providers can utilize Instagram for topics like frequently asked questions, introducing new employees, patient success stories, and procedural information. Along with these topics, healthcare providers can also use Instagram to show users a slice of life in the office. Such topics will allow healthcare providers to create more personal relationships with current patients and educate potential ones on their practice. Healthcare providers such as dermatologists, chiropractors, and plastic surgeons can especially benefit from Instagram by using photos or video to illustrate their services. Providers can showcase before and after photos of patients, as well as videos or illustrations that educate patients on procedures and treatments. Providers can also ask patients to post their own photos, which can be a way to turn their Instagram followers into actual patients.
Instagram is an excellent way for healthcare providers to strengthen their relationships with current patients and tap into new markets, such as a different age demographic or service area. Providers should ensure that their Instagram platform is aligned with their website and other social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter. A streamlined marketing campaign will help establish a consistent identity for healthcare providers.