5 Ways Hospitals Should Use Instagram

5 types of posts that will dramatically boost your hospital’s Instagram profile

For years now, hospitals have debated whether or not the benefits of social media outweigh the potential risks. Thankfully, the fear has gradually subsided as healthcare professionals become more adept at the proper mannerisms of the digital world. While there are still those who refuse to adopt social media into their marketing strategy, the majority of hospitals around the country are now actively using social media, with Facebook and Twitter being the most notable platforms.

However, one platform that continues to be overlooked is Instagram, the social network built entirely around sharing photos and short videos. In fact, most studies that examine social media usage rates among healthcare providers don’t even list Instagram as one of the main platforms considered – falling behind Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Foursquare, and Blogging. Quite frankly, this is absurd, especially considering Instagram’s overall prominence in the social media world as a whole.

Consider these:

More importantly, however, is the fact that when it comes to social media engagement rates, Instagram is king – by a relatively wide margin. This past year, a study was conducted that reviewed over 3 million user interactions with over 2,500 brand posts across seven social networks. The brands studied achieved an engagement rate of less than 0.1% on six of the seven social networks. However, one social network achieved an engagement rate of 4.21% – 58 times more engagement per follower than Facebook, and 120 times more engagement per follower than Twitter. That social network, as you may have guessed given the narrative of this article, was Instagram.

In a digital community driven by social engagement and interaction, why hospitals would choose not to utilize the social network that receives by far the most interaction of all social platforms is beyond me.

Instagram, social media’s photo album, gives hospitals a unique chance to show their creativity and authenticity in a way that other social media sites cannot. It’s a rare opportunity to truly show others what you’re about, rather than merely tell them. In a world constantly barraging us with tweets and posts claiming this or that, having unambiguous visual evidence is quite refreshing. This goes a long way towards building a relationship with your online community.

When using Instagram, it is important to remember to play to its strengths. There are certain posts – quotes, stats, questions, etc. – that typically perform well across all platforms (including Instagram). You can include brief messages for each image to describe the photo itself, however, don’t lose sight of the fact that Instagram is centered entirely on images – so plan accordingly.

Here are several ideas for the types of Instagram posts that will help build your hospital’s Instagram portfolio:

Promoting Special Events

A “special event” can be a pretty loose description, and essentially is whatever you deem it to be. Whether you have a local or national celebrity stopping by to spend time with patients, Santa comes to check on the kids during Christmas, or Batman drops by for a visit, snap a quick photo, and share it with your followers.

Fundraising Opportunities

Most hospitals participate in a number of fundraising events throughout the year to help raise either money or awareness towards a particular cause. One of the most crucial aspects of any fundraising endeavor is spreading the word of its existence. That’s where Instagram comes in. Take a picture of the event going on or design a banner to promote the fundraiser beforehand, and include a description regarding how people can volunteer, donate, etc. – it’s a free advertisement to an enormous audience!

5 Ways Hospitals Should Use Instagram

Feature Individuals

Introducing specific individuals is a great way to develop trust and build a genuine relationship with your followers. Posting a picture of a hospital staff member and sharing an interesting fact about the particular person has a humanizing effect that shows you are more than just images on a screen. Posting pictures of your patients can also be a highly beneficial practice, but should always be done with extreme caution to ensure no privacy policies are being broken in the process.

Educational Tips

Instagram can also be a valuable tool when it comes to educating the public on personal health issues. There are a number of ways to do this, including sharing diagrams, charts, checklists, excerpts from articles, and more. GIFs and memes can also be used as a valuable educational tool, even if they include an added comical element as well.

Behind the Scenes

Offering your followers a look at the action behind the scenes is similar to featuring your employees in the sense that it humanizes your brand. Audiences love seeing what is going on behind the curtain that makes your hospital function. Giving them the ability to see lets them feel like they are part of the action, and part of something they would otherwise not have the opportunity to do so.

More than any other social network, Instagram’s image-driven nature gives you the chance to bring your brand to life. It lets your audience feel like they are part of the action, which has a dramatic impact on your ability to develop a positive relationship with them. Building an interactive community and establishing trust is what social media marketing is all about, and by all measures, Instagram gives you a fantastic opportunity to do just that.