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Snap, tag, like. Could boosting your healthcare content marketing strategy really be achieved in these three steps? While it may be a little more complex than simply posting a photo, there are some major benefits that come with creating a presence on Instagram – and they don’t just pertain to millennials and social media influencers. Social media marketing is relevant to brands across industries, including healthcare – actually, not just including healthcare, but especially healthcare. That’s right, when executed strategically, healthcare providers can reach and influence the patients and the community by building a strong Instagram marketing strategy.

If this all sounds like gibberish or marketing jargon, let’s take a few steps back and start with the basics. As of 2017, Instagram has over 700 million monthly active users, which is nearly double Twitter’s user base. In terms of demographics, there is a pretty diverse cross-section – one-third of adults who use online platforms are on Instagram and most of them are female. Approximately 59 percent fall in the 18-29 age range, 33 percent are 30-49, 18 percent are 50-64 and 8 percent are over 65. A 2016 study conducted by the influencer marketing network Bloglovin’ found that 60 percent of micro-influencers, or  social media personalities with a small, yet highly dedicated, following, believe Instagram promotes the highest level of audience engagement, surpassing Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat.

Social engagement is important because it shines a spotlight on whatever a brand is promoting. Not only that, but it encourages a broader conversation between a brand and its target audience. With such stellar engagement rates, Instagram provides an ideal platform for communicating with individuals, especially when it comes to customer service. As people become accustomed to the immediacy and accessibility social media provides, they, too, come to expect a certain level of responsiveness on social – and they don’t want a run-of-the-mill conversation, they want authenticity and personality. Seventy-seven percent of people want brands to value their time above all else and social media allows for the speedy responses people are looking for. Plus, engaging with customers on social has been proven to enhance advocacy by as much as 25 percent, so there are some real incentives here.

From large-scale healthcare networks to local hospitals and even individual physicians, numerous healthcare providers are on Instagram. Cedars-Sinai, Memorial Sloan Kettering, Kaiser Permanente, United HealthCare, healthcare all have a strong presence on Instagram and the trend isn’t just reserved for hospitals and healthcare networks. Myron Rolle, MD MSc, is a football star turned neurosurgery resident at Harvard/Massachusetts General Hospital. With over 40,000 followers on Instagram, Dr. Rolle is an example of a physician who also happens to be a social media influencer. The prevalence and popularity of these profiles show that healthcare has a place in the world of social media.

Now that we know who is on Instagram, we can cover how it is used. Instagram is ideal for community engagement because it can reach people locally. Casa Colina Hospitals and Centers for Healthcare, a healthcare provider based in Pomona, CA, uses Instagram to promote local events, like their annual Harvest Festival.

Casa Colina also participates in awareness day events, such as Falls Prevention Day. This post highlights the cause while promoting the service lines available to treat relevant injuries and conditions.

Even if it’s a simple, short reply, responding to users on Instagram can go a long way. Here, Casa Colina makes every effort to reply to questions and comments in a thoughtful and positive way. 

CHOC Children’s makes a wide variety of healthcare resources available on Instagram. For example, if a user has a question about insurance options, this Instagram post will point them in the direction of a free downloadable guide with tips on selecting coverage.

If you have a blog, Instagram is a great place to promote new content. This post, also by CHOC Children’s, gives users the opportunity to learn more about the hospital’s rehabilitative offerings and check out their team’s bios.

If you’re looking into Instagram for your next healthcare marketing strategy, it will be beneficial to follow a few best practices. As previously mentioned, responsiveness is key and, ideally, a point person should be designated to monitor and quickly address inquiries and comments on social media platforms. With any form of healthcare content marketing, HIPAA compliance should always be top-of-mind and training employees to follow HIPAA guidelines on social should be standard protocol. Remember, an Instagram profile is still an extension of a larger brand, so posts should continue to maintain that branded look and feel throughout.

Instagram is healthier than ever and it’s a resource healthcare brands should take advantage of. This widely used platform creates a perfect space for engaging, sharing and, most importantly, building community. If you have yet to incorporate Instagram into your digital content marketing strategy, this could be your prescription for rapid results today.



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