In 2019, there are roughly 223 million Americans that are using social media today and out of that number, Instagram users have continued to increase from 64% - 66% within the past two years.
That is a lot of Instagram users within the United States! Above else, the age of Instagram users is not just the youth, anymore. Men and women of all ages are now adopting the social platform for a multitude of reasons. If you don't believe it, go to the app store on your cellphone and see where Instagram rests under the top free apps that are downloaded. You'll be surprised at how high it is.
Because of how social media is impacting millions of Americans, both medical and non-medical businesses are taking advantage of social platforms more than ever. As a medical practice, your audience ranges so the use of your social platforms should as well. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are the top three social platforms that should be a standard for every medical practice to utilize. After all, your audience has preferences on their social platform, so it's smart to be where your audience prefers to be.
Below, we will discuss how doctors are gaining new patients and increasing their practices' growth.
SWITCH TO A BUSINESS ACCOUNT
The first thing any practice should do is to make a business account on Instagram. If you currently have a personal account and would like to keep it personal, then use your existing business email address for the new business account that you will open for Instagram. This will give you the advantage to utilize paid ads and being able to switch back and forth from accounts with just a few clicks. This way, you also link your Facebook business account to your new Instagram business account for maximum performance and analytics. The business account will give you what they call "insights" and it will cover your content, activity, and audience so that you can continuously improve your performance with posts.
Fun fact: 200+ million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile daily.
CREATE QUALITY CONTENT
Take a look at the majority of businesses you follow on Instagram. What lures you to them? Here's a hint - quality content. Quality content can apply to a variety of things that revolve around your daily life and experience, or promotions or giveaways that are applicable to your audience. The real showcase of quality content is by using real imagery that you have either created or have taken a photograph of with a quality camera. Imagery is everything on Instagram and if you are using stock photos, you are doing it all wrong. Using quality imagery just takes a little more time out of your day, but as you continue to consistently create quality content, the day-to-day will be much easier because you are honing your craft.
Another example of quality content is by taking before and after photos with your patients, showcasing their teeth and the improvement. This has been a popular trend with dentists and other doctors because it showcases the quality of your work. This helps potential patients to feel more confident before walking into your practice for their appointment. People want to know what they're walking into, they want to see the faces of the practice and the people they will be interacting with. The practices that have been taking advantage of promoting quality content have seen growth in their profile and business because of how comfortable people feel going in.
Fun fact: Instagram posts with a face get 38% more likes.
TAKE ADVANTAGE OF STORIES
Although Instagram stories have been around, it has been one of the most utilized features on the platform by all ages, whether business or non-business oriented. Instagram stories are a less formal approach to your profile handle, allowing you to get to a personal level with your audience. It is here to stay and is great for creating awareness and building your audience. Influencers are a new trend within social media, especially on Instagram and should be considered if it pertains to your audience. An Influencer on Instagram is a person who had gained credibility and audience, that can sway opinion on products through trust. 5.4% of Instagram influencers use stories for sponsored campaigns.
A great example of utilizing stories would be to record short video clips of a day-in-the-life in your practice. You can even save the stories you love the most into your business profile as a "Highlight." This way, your story doesn't expire, allowing your audience to revisit your story whenever they want. The trick is to stay active on Instagram stories. When you post a story, go through other stories of the people you follow, they'll see your story and even message you. There are a ton of different options within stories that can make your story more engaging, like filters, tagging, reposts, boomerang's, font play, gifs, location, and hashtags for starters. Play around and try to always be creative in your work, it's too easy to promote boring content. This is why we always want to create quality content, whether professional or non-professional. The little things count!
Fun fact: 68% of millennials consume stories on Instagram vs. 49% on Snapchat and 44% on Facebook.
It's crucial to understand the structure of hashtags because once understood, a practice can utilize the effects from it. Created in 2007, a hashtag is a word or phrase with a "#" symbol that categorizes what you are talking about for others to explore and find. It's a very useful tool to take advantage of as a business with your posts. You should always follow hashtags related to your industry and audience so that you can see what others are showcasing around the hashtag topic. Many practices attempt to coin their own hashtag and that works too!
This is how practice's surrounded themselves with like-minded individuals that are interested in the topic they tagged. Having niche-specific hashtags are what will make your practice stand out and keeps the content spiked with interest. When it's a good hashtag, practices will always see a spike in their view, likes, and comments. This creates an eco-system with you in the center.
Fun fact: In a study of 100 top brands, the brands' Instagram captions averaged 2.5 hashtags per post.
Types of Hastags:
1. Content Hashtags
2. Industry Hashtags
3. Niche Hashtags
4. Branded Hashtags
Medical practices are now taking advantage of advertising on Instagram more than ever. Why? Because Instagram engagement is higher than the majority of all social platforms. Instagram’s median engagement rate is 1.6%, that is 17x higher than Facebook posts and 33x higher thanTweets. With Instagram advertising, your practice will be able to reach your followers better than Facebook or any other social platform. Keep in mind, when advertising on Instagram, always make sure you are putting money into actionable items. Never promote an ad unless you have a pipeline and end goal for your audience. You want to guide your followers to take action toward your promotion, otherwise, you are wasting money.
Fun fact: Over 2 million advertisers are actively using Instagram.
Types of ads:
1. Photo ads
2. Video ads
3. Carousel ads
4. Slideshow ads
5. Stories ads
As the year continues, it's never too late to get active on Instagram and utilize everything the platform has to offer for your practice. If you don't have time, hire a marketing intern to help with your social media for free. In this day and age, it's very important to connect with your audience, especially if you're a dentist. People aren't always fond of the dentist, so it's crucial to showcase your practice and the happiness your existing patients are experiencing from your care. Showcase before and after photos with bright, clear imagery and research through Instagram's analytics tool to see what is working and what isn't.
Many practices are taking advantage of this type of imagery and are receiving direct messages (DM's) from the app's messaging feature. Utilize niche hashtags with your posts, stories or ads that are specific to you, because that's how your target audience will find you. If you're curious to see great examples of Instagram accounts that are crushing it today, check out Grand Street Dental's Instagram profile and see for yourself! Another great example of a successful practice with Instagram is the Smilist.
When it comes to growing your business, you need to be where your audience is and connect with them. Trust is bigger than ever and Instagram can build that trust with you and your audience if done correctly. The way to connect is by providing quality content that applies to your audience in their daily life. Take notice to your Key Performance Indicators (KPI's) to see what is working and what isn't, and if something isn't working, keep pivoting until you hit the right message! Instagram is great for promoting your practice, so take the time to connect with your audience, you will be surprised how much traffic and new patients your practice will gain.
If you would like to learn more about how to gain more patients
and skyrocket your growth, schedule a time today!