Many health providers run scared of social networks in the workplace – but as long as you are HIPPA compliant, Instagram could be a valuable tool!
A long running argument in the medical community has swirled around whether or not the positives of social media outweigh the negatives. Several years ago, it was felt by most institutions that the potential risks were far too great. As social media has become a bigger part of our daily life and people have become more comfortable using it, more healthcare professionals are turning to social media as a highly effective marketing tool.
Instagram is the one platform that should be utilized more than it currently is. A social network built around photo and video sharing is tailor made for the medical community. There are studies that examine social media usage rates among healthcare providers that pop up every few months, and you will notice that Instagram is not even listed. All the big boys in social media starting with Facebook all the way to Foursquare get coverage, but there is seemingly no love for Instagram despite it being a powerhouse social platform.
Consider these statistics:
-Instagram has over 182.5 million users – Source
-Roughly 58,000,000 photos are uploaded to Instagram each day –Source
-53% of Internet-using young adults use Instagram – Source
-49% of Instagram’s users use the app daily – Source
If that isn’t enough to turn your head, consider the fact that when it comes to engagement, Instagram is king. It isn’t even close. This past year, Forrester Research conducted a study that reviewed over 3 million user interactions with over 2,500 brand posts across seven social networks. In this study, it was demonstrated that Instagram has an engagement rate 58 times higher than Facebook, and 120 times more than Twitter.
By properly leveraging tools on Instagram, namely the photo album itself, a hospital has the opportunity to showcase their facility and staff in a way that no other platform can offer. It’s a different, subtler approach, to social media marketing than bombarding the world with a constant stream of tweets and posts that seemingly scream “look at me”.
One of the most important things to keep in mind when using Instagram is to play to its strengths. Don’t try to reinvent it, just go with what works. Sharing questions, statistics and quotes always seem to perform very well. Just add a short message to them, use hashtags that get attention, and then start sharing. It really is that simple.
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 is what you decide it is. Maybe a celebrity stopped by or it is the anniversary of a wing at your hospital. When Santa visits or Spiderman swings by for a visit with kids, there is no denying that is a special event. Use moments like these to help keep your hospitals profile looking warm and friendly.
#ICYMI: @prattprattpratt visited children at our Network’s Our Lady of the Lake Regional Medical Center over the weekend. From raptor training lessons to crafts with the kids, the visit earned an 11 on our 1-10 “How awesome is Chris Pratt” scale. #forthekids #mcm #isthatacanadiantuxedo #batonrouge
Fundraising events are a fact of life for hospitals. Whether they be ongoing or held short term for specific events or causes, fundraising is inescapable. The biggest thing about fundraising is spreading the word. If no one knows about it, no one can donate. Take some pictures specifically designed to reflect whatever you are fundraising for and then get them up on Instagram asking people to spread the word, donate, or directing them to help in other ways.
Here’s a smiley group of #TeamMayoClinic volunteers at the first rest stop of the #KatieRide for Life bicycle touring route, which helps to raise awareness to the importance of organ donation. #MayoClinic is proud to have a large and motivated team of riders, walkers, runners and volunteers each year for this annual fundraiser which is held on beautiful Amelia Island (Florida) and features routes of 100 miles, 62 miles, 36 miles, 18 miles, fun ride and an off-road ride through Fort Clinch. The event was created in 2005 to raise awareness for organ donation and support the Katie Caples Foundation nationally recognized organ donor education program. #AmeliaIsland #KatieRide #KatieWalk #DonateLife #OrganDonation
A great way to put a friendly face on your hospital is to feature the people who work there. Pick a nurse, doctor, receptionist or anyone else and share a photo or several introducing them to the world. Posting photos of patients can also work wonders, however, we must caution you to use extreme caution when doing so and have written permission so as not to violate privacy policies.
Born in Haiti, Dr. Ford travels back with his team from #CHLA and the Keck School of Medicine of USC for historic conjoined twins surgery. CLINK THE LINK IN OUR PROFILE to watch CHLA’s Henri R. Ford, MD, MHA, tell the story of Haiti-born #MichelleAndMarian
Using Instagram to help educate the public on personal health issues is growing in popularity. This can be done in many ways, but the most popular methods are sharing graphs, checklists, diagrams and charts. Even memes and GIFs can be valuable informational tools – there is no rule against a little humor to help serve up educational material.
Behind the scenes
Bring your audience in some of what goes on behind the scenes at your hospital.
Show the people off who make your hospital run. Maybe you have some pics from an annual softball game where everyone is relaxed and being silly. Show off your nurses entertaining kids that could really use some attention. Show your followers something that they would otherwise never see and you will notice that you get a positive response.
The image driven nature of Instagram is difficult to beat if you want real engagement. It doesn’t take much to get started and it is very easy to maintain your presence. Learn how to use hashtags and experiment with what kind of images your audience responds to the best. And always, as is true on all social platforms, respond to your audience when they respond to you. Communication builds community and community is what hospitals are there to serve. (Remember to stay HIPPA compliant!)