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Since the popular mobile phone, photo sharing app was launched 10 years ago, Instagram has achieved a reputation as a well-used platform by <30 year olds keen to share their every meal, adventure and plank.
However Instagram has evolved and just like the evolution of Facebook, that started out as a communication platform for college kids, Instagram now has commercial benefits for small businesses, including health and medical practices. Dare I be so cheeky – if us “over 30 (cough) year olds” have been overlooking Instagram, now’s the time to take another look.
In fact there are 25 billion Instagram business profiles worldwide (mostly outside of the US), and the most popular types of posts and profiles focus on health, beauty and cosmetic related topics. This creates plenty of opportunities for health and medical practices to be seen and heard.
So if you’re new to Instagram, and wondering how to get started to make it work for your business, the following information will give you some tips to help you along your way. I hope the information encourages you to join the new generation of innovative entrepreneurs meeting their next client online.
Key pointers ...
- The most common types of engagement on Instagram are likes and comments. However growing in popularity are new features such as stories and IGTV
- Image posts receive more likes than permanent videos and carousel posts
- Successful accounts post consistently and achieve a good balance of different types of content including image posts and Instagram stories
- Consider which KPIs and metrics are most important to your practice and measure accordingly
- Hashtags help organise different types of content. They are keywords that people use to search for specific posts and they also add context to posts
Pro tip – Instagram is starting to remove likes so you will want your content to encourage comments instead of likes. The key to achieving comments is having enticing and engaging captions that go alongside your interesting images.
Sign up for an Instagram account using your Facebook login details.
Make sure your Instagram profile is complete. Fill out your bio thoroughly with relevant keywords. Then post consistently at a time of day when your audience is most active - look at other profiles and see when audiences similar to yours are engaging on Instagram (otherwise 12pm is a good starting point). Be responsive and interact with your community.
It is important to choose a movement or something you believe in and centre your posts around providing information on that topic including posts, updates, motivational tips, behind-the-scenes, throw backs, events, you in action and shout outs to employees.
You will also want to map out your content in advance every 90 days to plan what posts you will cover that will interest the people you are aiming to attract, serve and support.
Have a think about the colours and type of images you will use. Consistency is key so that your profile is attractive (not necessarily using professional photography) to build up a brand-related theme over time.
See: @pricelineau and @terrywhitechemmart for examples of business profiles that have achieved brand consistency in the health arena.
Hashtags are powerful. They can help your posts reach a wider audience. You will want to choose a hashtag for your practice and then one for every health movement or promotion you are discussing. One to two hashtags per post is typical but you can include up to six per post.
Start following your competitors and influencers in your industry to see what types of posts are attracting the right kind of attention and see what hashtags they are using. Just remember that the profile manager will be sent a notification of a new follower and the user will be able to see your profile, pictures and username.
It is also a great idea to post about 12 to 15 “on-brand” posts that serve your typical user and then start following a wider audience as a way to grow your follower base. Although the majority of accounts (78%) have less than 10,000 followers and big numbers aren’t the objective here. Business accounts will achieve much greater success by focussing on serving their existing followers rather than trying to achieve big numbers.
Another good idea is to start tagging uses who mention your brand, product or service. This will increase your comments and likes but it may not necessarily mean that the person you tag will respond, especially if they have a very large following and are typically paid for their posts.
If relevant to your work, you should also include the location of where you are posting from within your posts.
You might also like to look for micro-influencers in your industry who will cross-share your posts and help your target audiences see your content.
Use a catchy caption that is less than 125 characters so the entire text shows up on the Instagram feed. However longer posts are also proving popular so mix up your caption length and test the results. In many cases, the longer the supporting caption and text, the better the post is received.
Once you get comfortable posting images and captions, following relevant others and engaging with your followers, take a look at Instagram Stories. Stories increase engagement rates, conversions and overall visibility on social media. This feature is fast becoming a big deal on Instagram so work your way up to it.
You can only share someone's post from Feed to your story if their account is public and they've allowed resharing of their posts.
How to set up an Instagram business account from scratch
- Download the Instagram app for iOS, Android, or Windows (using your smart phone)
- Open the app and tap Sign Up
- Enter your email address and tap Next. If you want to connect your Instagram business account to your Facebook Business Page, make sure to use an admin email address to sign up, or tap Log in with Facebook
- Choose your username and password and fill in your profile information
- Tap Done
- You now have a personal Instagram account that’s ready to convert to a business account. Continue by following the steps below
How to convert a personal Instagram account to a business account
- Log into your existing personal Instagram account on the app (using your smart phone)
- Tap the profile icon to go to your profile
- Tap the three lines icon at the top right of the screen, then tap Settings
- Tap Switch to Business Profile, then Continue
- (Optional) If you want to connect your Instagram business account to your Facebook business page, follow the prompts to do so
- Add contact information: Your Instagram for business account must include an email address, a phone number, or a physical address (or all of these)
- Tap Done
Final take-awaysDon’t go for perfection on Instagram. Just get started and have a play, see what others are doing and build up your skills and confidence over time.
You can connect your Facebook and Instagram accounts and then schedule Instagram posts (with a single image) from the Publishing Tool. Or you can use a social media scheduling tool HootSuite or Hubspot to set up your posts in advance.
Make your stories engaging and remember to thank people for following your posts and for their comments. You can delete comments that people make on your posts or stories that you don’t like as well.
Make sure you have the web address where you want people to visit in your bio.
Once you are happy with the level of activity on your Instagram page, start sharing it on your email footer, on your signage and web page to encourage more people to follow your business.
Show the human side of your brand and use Instagram as an opportunity to increase awareness about a particular health topic relevant to your brand and work, or the focus of your practice (just remember to adopt the AHPRA Guidelines – you can’t make health promises or show before after images etc).
Keep doing the great work that you are doing and I hope this information helps you reach more people and change more lives.
Need more support?
Sign up for the Facebook and Instagram Success online course that we are running, currently $300 off until 20 October 2020. Learn how to successfully post on Facebook and Instagram and conduct cost-effective, paid advertising to reach your audiences where they are.
You’ll also get a voucher for $297, for the Allied Health Marketing Academy launching 27 July.
Free 90 Day Content Planning Tool
You are also welcome to download our free 90 Day Content Planning Tool to help you save time and get organised with your content marketing activities. Remember - staying in touch and adding value to your audiences increases bookings, repeat business, positive word of mouth and referrals.
I look forward to speaking with you soon and feel free to contact me to discuss your marketing at any stage firstname.lastname@example.org.