Connecting with current and potential patients on Instagram

Connecting with current and potential patients on Instagram

04 Apr 2017

Women are the primary health care decision makers in the family – and they’re also on Instagram – so it makes sense that whether you work at a small practice or large health care organization, your marketing strategy would prescribe a heaping dose of hashtags. Here are three tips to make the most of Instagram as a platform for connecting with current and potential patients.

Tip 1: Filter with purpose  

The heart of Instagram is images – and giving potential patients a look at the faces of the caregivers and the spaces of the facility is a great way to put them at ease and begin a relationship. But let’s face it: the caregiving environment is not making it into Architectural Digest. And since doctors and nurses need to be able to see what they’re doing in order to help people, fluorescent lighting is a reality of that environment. But unfortunately, fluorescent lighting isn’t very flattering. That’s where Instagram filters for photos and videos can help turn a standard post into a statement post.

Consider this shot of the same hallway using several of Instagram’s popular filters.

Instagram1.jpg Instagram2.jpg Instagram3.jpg

That said, keep these tips for using filters in mind:

  • Try to choose a filter that’s in line with your brand. If your brand is clean and modern, don’t use a filter that makes the photo look vintage.
  • Keep tone in mind when you choose a filter. Filters with dark edges or that darken the image overall may support a more serious tone, while filters that are light and bright may support a more upbeat one.
  • Limit use of filters to a handful to keep your collection of Instagram images looking consistent.


Tip 2: Break the mold using Instagram video apps

One way to present your practice or organization in a different light is to take advantage of the video apps available from Instagram and package your videos uniquely. Both Hyperlapse and Boomerang can be effective tools when used strategically. Hyperlapse shows videos in fast motion to cover a lot of ground in a short amount of time. Boomerang is like a cross between a photo and a video, it’s a quick loop of a motion, back and forward.

Why not:

  • Give a hospital tour using Hyperlapse to preview the facility in a short amount of time.
  • Show a procedure in Hyperlapse to give patients some reassurance about the process.
  • Use Boomerang to show the movement of a healthy joint on loop.
  • Show a wave or thumbs up of a patient post-procedure or with a new baby to capture “happy,” over and over.


Tip 3: Join a larger conversation by mixing up your hashtags

Let’s say you’re interested in increasing patient volumes at a heart health screening. Since you know that patients are probably more interested in food than finding out if they’re at risk for heart disease, you decide you’re going to lure people to your landing page (where they can sign up for a screening) with a colorful image of (heart healthy) food. Good thinking! You size your image according to Instagram’s recommendations (1080 pixels with an aspect ratio between 1.91:1 and 4:5), add a filter and post with the clever #hearthealthymeal.

Or, even better, you mix up your hashtags.

Using a common hashtag or hashtags can get you involved in a topic that people are talking about and interested in. So, unless you’re trying to brand your campaign, opt for the most popular hashtag or hashtags – breaking up the words to achieve the best result. Here’s an example of the number of posts incorporating hashtags relevant to the above example.

At the time of this blog post, there were:

  • 313 posts with #hearthealthyfoods
  • 995 posts with #hearthealthyfood
  • 144,019 posts with #hearthealthy
  • 15 million posts with #healthyeating
  • 5 million posts with #healthyfood
  • 7 million posts with #healthy
  • Nearly 26 million posts with #heart
  • 7 million posts with #food

Try a combination of more specific hashtags, like the one most used for your organization and/or a campaign hashtag, alongside a combination of broader-reaching ones for the best result.



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Tags: marketing tips, healthcare marketing, social media