Do you feel you’re putting a lot of time into your medical practice’s Instagram presence but aren’t gaining traction? Whether you’re just getting started on Instagram, or you’ve been at it for awhile, there are three common mistakes you should avoid. By following Instagram best practices, your medical practice will grow its following, strengthen your brand, and ultimately, encourage potential patients to get in touch. The first step to getting the most out of Instagram is to make sure you're not making these mistakes!
1. Your Images are Subpar
As we’ve mentioned before, Instagram is a visual platform. Insta enthusiasts spend hours each week planning which photos they should post on their account. Many of these users have an easy subject matter to feature: fashion, food, or maybe even puppies. As a medical practice, you have a harder job. To create a visually appealing Instagram feed, you must be intentional with the photos your medical practice features. Here are a few common mistakes people make when selecting a photo, and suggestions on how to avoid them.
The wrong type of photo: While we all have to lean on stock photography sites once in awhile, you want to be careful that you don’t use sterile or completely impersonal photos. Try to use stock photography sites like iStock or BigStock to find unique and professional photos.
Think about the kind of feeling you want to create on your Instagram account. Challenge yourself to think about how you can represent your practice in a professional, personable, and welcoming way. Featuring pictures of your office, before and after results, and candid photos of your team are all great options. Instagram is a social platform - we want to make sure people feel they are getting to know you when they visit your profile.
The composition is poor: Whether your photo is blurry, has insufficient lighting, or is sized incorrectly, having poor photo composition will push potential patients away. Every element of your practice should be professional - paying attention to the details is important to your patients. If your photo has low resolution, we highly recommend selecting a different one. If you simply need to make a few tweaks to improve the lighting or cropping, use an affordable editing app like PicTapGo or VSCO.
You do not include text on your images: One of the most popular ways medical practices are using Instagram is to direct their current and potential patients to read their blog posts. One of the best ways to increase conversions is by including text as an overlay on your photo. This text serves as a way to grab the attention of your followers and to direct them to read your full post. While you don’t want to do this for every Instagram post, do this consistently, so your patients know there is more going on than just a pretty picture.
2. You Aren’t Posting Consistently
Social media is time-consuming and most likely, it is at the very bottom of your to-do list. The most successful Instagram accounts are the ones that post consistently. Their followers begin to expect their posts, and even look for them. Here are three common problem areas when it comes to regularly posting on Instagram.
Schedule, what schedule? Without a plan, it is hard to know when and how often to post on Instagram. The truth is, without a content calendar or posting schedule, you will most likely forget to post. If you only post once in awhile, or on an inconsistent schedule, your patients will not know when to look for your posts. The more consistent you are, the more consistent your followers will be in viewing your content.
Your timing is off: While it’s hard enough to get on a regular schedule of posting, you also need to consider when your ideal patients are actually on Instagram! While Instagram posts are no longer displayed in chronological order (thanks, algorithms), the time you post still matters. While the best time to post depends on your ideal audience, most of the time, it is better to post no earlier than 8:00 am or after 10:00 pm. Pay attention to your analytics to see which days/times your posts get the most engagement. Then, post at those times! Don’t be afraid to try out a variety of different times to see what works best.
Hashtag confusion: Part of having a strong approach to Instagram is using consistent hashtags. Hashtags are a way to index your posts and to improve the searchability of your content. Dig into what hashtags are popular among your ideal patients and create a set of 30 hashtags you will use regularly. You can (and should) customize your hashtags to the different types of Instagram posts, but having a core set of hashtags will help you stay focused on your target audience. We highly suggest maxing out all of the 30 hashtags you can use and posting them as the first comment on your post.
3. Your Content Is Too Salesy and Boring
Time for a reality check - when you’re scrolling through Instagram, the posts you skim over are the ones that shout “Buy now!” “We’re the best!” and “We’re the ONLY option!” While you want to share valuable information and let your potential patients know about the medical services you provide, you don’t want to sell incessantly, or even worse, bore your followers. Here are a couple tips to help you avoid being the medical practice everyone unfollows.
Enforce the 80-20, or better yet 90-10 rule: Your followers understand you are a medical practice, and thereby, have services to sell. But, by offering value, tips, testimonials and patient stories 80-90% of the time, you will build trust and genuine interest. By being intentional with your content, and only posting sales-focused content 10-20% of the time, your potential patients will stay engaged, and likely be more inclined to read your sales copy when you do post it.
Your content needs to be compelling: The best Instagram posts are ones that are full of emotion, passion, and are so interesting that they entice your followers to take action. Push yourself to think about what kind of message would be so interesting to your potential patients that they felt like they had to contact you right away. Most likely, this content has to do with issues your patients care deeply about - problems that you can solve for them. Focus on offering this value and notice how your potential patients react.
Navigating the world of social media as a medical practice can feel overwhelming. Each platform has its own rules and best practices. Instagram is a powerful tool that medical practices can use to build rapport with their current and potential patients. By avoiding these three mistakes, you will be well on your way to enhancing engagement and in turn, increasing conversions.