- Posted by Nigel Edelshain
- On April 8, 2015
- Social media
The saying goes that a picture is worth a thousand words. The 300 million active monthly Instagram users around the world would undoubtedly agree.
The popular photo-sharing app now boasts twice as many users as it did just a year and a half ago. 26% of all adult Internet users use Instagram, and it’s not only young people—nearly half of its users are over the age of 30. Those users share 70 million photos per day and double tap a photo to like it 2.5 billion times per day.
People aren’t just posting, either. Half of those 300 million users use Instagram each day, and on average they spend 21 minutes of their time scrolling through their feed. That may be less time than they spend on Facebook or Twitter, but remember that there’s no complicated ranking algorithm like the one that governs Facebook’s news feed, and that photos don’t get buried after an hour or two like tweets do, meaning the percentage of your followers reached with each post will be significantly higher.
If you’re waiting for Instagram to stop growing, you’re going to be waiting for a while. But what you really want to know is whether Instagram can be an effective tool in your marketing initiatives for your hospital. The numbers above would indicate that yes, adding another social network to your efforts can dramatically expand your reach, provided your goals and expectations are in line with what the app can do. Here’s how you can make Instagram work for your hospital:
Set reasonable goals
Just like any marketing product you use, it’s important to set goals for your Instagram endeavors.
Don’t be surprised if they end up differing more than you expect from your goals for other social networks—Instagram is a lot more than just another way to promote your latest blog posts or important pages on your website. In fact, the app doesn’t allow clickable links in photo captions, so if you’re only looking to duplicate content from Facebook or Twitter, you won’t see the results you hope for.
Instead, focus your strategy on what Instagram does best. With most people doing extensive research before choosing a hospital these days, a series of photos or videos showing how things work at your facility can go a long way towards making you stand out from your competitors. It’s the perfect place to show how your hospital is different.
Simplify complex procedures
Remember that saying? Photos and videos can do a lot more than text when you’re trying to understand a complicated process. If you want a real-world example of how one company is doing this, click here and do a “find in page” for General Electric. The possibilities for your hospital aren’t so different from those for General Electric. Don’t make members of your community rely on Wikipedia or WebMD to understand medical subjects—get one of your doctors to explain it in a short clip instead!
Patient stories and testimonials just may be the most powerful tools at your disposal. They’re another way to build your online reputation, and they add content that your followers can easily relate to. You can share those stories on Instagram yourself or invite patients to share them and tag you. You can even take it a step further by creating or promoting branded hashtags.
Promote relevant causes
A surefire way to engage your followers is to post what they care about. Some social research about causes related to your hospital’s specialties can give you an almost unlimited source of fresh and relevant content. Then go a step further than the ribbons or inspiration sayings everyone else is posting and show what your hospital is actually doing to further research or treatment.