Still wondering if Instagram is a valid tool for your Plastic Surgery Practice? Let’s settle that once and for all.
According to Instagram’s internal data from December 2016, here are the stats:
More than 600 million people worldwide use Instagram every month.
More than 300 million people worldwide use Instagram every day.
60% of people learn about products and services on Instagram.
75% of people take action after being inspired by an Instagram post.
These stats are staggering. And yet, if you’re like many of our clients, you have a love-hate relationship with social media. You get why it is important (mostly), but you don’t know how to get started or how to make your account “successful.”
Last week in our post, “4 Reasons Your Plastic Surgery Practice Needs to be on Instagram,” we dug into all the benefits and opportunities there are to use Instagram strategically. We touched on everything from using it to engage your ideal audience to using it to represent your practice in a way that offers value and builds credibility.
Today, we are going to look at the basics of how your plastic surgery practice can get started on Instagram. Don’t worry, we’ve all started at the same place - 0 followers. If you use these easy tips, you will be well on your way to interacting online with your ideal patients and growing your engagement.
The Basics of Instagram: Get Started
1. Build an Instagram Business Profile
There are dozens of tutorials online about how to set up your business profile, but we want to share what exactly you need to include to get the most out of your profile, and more importantly, how to create the best experience for your potential patients.
A recognizable and searchable Instagram handle.When it comes to your Instagram handle (ours is @Outlet_Web), you want to make it as simple as possible and as close to the name of your practice as possible. Maybe your exact name isn’t available or is too long, but keep it simple and to the point. This is how people will search for you on Instagram.
An easy-to-identify profile picture. As a plastic surgery practice, your best bet is to use your logo as your profile picture. It is recommended to use the same profile picture across social media platforms. Your logo is an easy way for existing and potential patients to come to recognize your account.
A link to your website or blog. Instagram gives you the ability to link your account directly to your website within your business profile. What many practices like to do is to update that link regularly to direct their followers to new content on their blog. Use this link to your advantage - tell people where you want them to go! (Don’t have a blog? Send them to your email list sign-up!)
A descriptive and approachable bio. Your bio is a very short description of your practice. Use this to highlight your specialties and the value you can offer your patients. Leave them wanting more!
Maximize your contact information. Be sure to include your email and phone number to give potential patients an easy way to be in touch! No point in making them find you on a different platform!
2. Create a Content Calendar
If you spend much time on this blog, you will quickly find out how much we value consistency. Social media is not something that you can pay attention to once in a blue moon. You must plan ahead, post regularly, and be intentional with the content you are producing. This is where a social media content calendar comes in handy.
A useful content calendar will identify the type of post, which day it will be posted, and who is responsible for creating it. This takes away the mystery of social posting and will help you track results and eliminate last-minute posting.
3. Establish Your Style
Once you’ve explored Instagram for awhile, you will see that the most popular accounts have an identifiable look and feel to them. These accounts stick to a color palate as well as a certain aesthetic for their photos. Here is a quick list of things to keep in mind when trying to establish your Instagram style.
Colors: What are your brand colors? Try to incorporate those colors in the posts you create and the photos you use.
Fonts: What are your brand fonts? Use what font you use on brochures and your website.
Photo style: While you may rely on stock images at the beginning, you can select photos that have a similar composure, lighting, and clarity. If you typically post pictures with clean lines and stark contrast, it wouldn’t be a good idea to randomly post an out of focus, artistic style of photo.
After awhile, the hope is that if people are scrolling through their Instagram feed and they see one of your photos, they will know immediately that it is your practice. We want them to recognize your brand and quickly be engaged.
Not a designer? No worries, one of our go-to tools for creating free custom posts is Canva. It’s super user-friendly, and you can choose from a variety of templates!
4. Research Hashtags
Hashtags have gotten some flack over the years because of the convoluted way they have been used. You have probably experienced teenagers using them as not-so-subtle read-between-the-lines messages. However, hashtags were intended as a way to mark and group photos and posts in an easy-to-identify way. The hope is that if you were to search #Botox, you would come up with several posts that were indeed about Botox. This has greatly expanded the searchability of social content.
By researching your hashtags ahead of time, you can strategically plan how you want your posts to be tagged. This will help you target your ideal patient. Think about the hashtags they are searching for and use those. Experiment and try a variety of hashtags. We highly recommend creating a hashtag for the name of your practice as well as using pre-existing hashtags for your local area.
Still confused on exactly what a hashtag is? Check out this article from Hubspot, “How to Use Hashtags on Twitter, Facebook & Instagram.”
5. Start Conversations
It is easy to forget that social media was not intended to be a one-sided conversation. As much as people abuse it, it was not in fact designed to be a soapbox for everyone to use to rant and rave about their opinions. Social media was in fact intended to be a SOCIAL platform. That is why we urge our customers to use Instagram (and all other social media platforms) as a foundation for conversation.
When creating a post, push yourself to think of how your audience will react and respond to your content. Ideally, Instagram will be a place where your patients ask questions about plastic procedures they are interested in. The goal of these conversations is to inform, inspire, and motivate your audience. That is why it is important to follow up with comments or questions your audience posts. The worst thing you can do is invite people to ask questions and then NOT respond. Keep the conversation going and keep your patients engaged.
Getting started on Instagram does not have to be an overwhelming task. You can keep it simple by taking care of the basics first, and then expand your strategy as you go. Instagram, like other social media platforms, will reward you for putting more time into it. The more you reach out to your patients and offer them valuable content, the more likely your account is to gain traction.