Health Crush Contributor
Most doctors and other healthcare professionals use instagram in their personal lives, but have you thought about how ‘instagramming’ can be used professionally in the medical field?
With 72% of patients now consulting the internet for healthcare information and 62% using online reviews to find new doctors, online presence is key. Chances are, if you’re not online, many new patients aren’t finding you. And instagram is a smart place to boost your social imprint, with 59% of adults between the ages 18 and 29 using it regularly, according to Sprout Social insight.
What is Instagram and Why Should a Doctor use it Professionally?
First off, if you don’t already know, Instagram is a social media platform for sharing photos and videos with others. To use Instagram, you may take a photo of something important to your practice and tag yourself or one of your connections.
Instagram is currently a less common social media channel for doctors, but it’s a great way to build your brand because-according to instagram-people are using it daily.
Instagram revealed earlier this year that the average user under the age of 25 spends more than 32 minutes a day on Instagram, on average, while those age 25 and older spend more than 24 minutes a day.
Using Instagram to grow your practice can seem as daunting a learning a new language for those who are not familiar with it, that’s why we’ve put together instagram etiquette tips for medical professionals.
9 Rules of Instagram Etiquette For Doctors and Medical Practices
- Keep posts short and sweet. Instagram is a platform for sharing photos and visuals, not writing novels. So do keep this in mind when posting and focus on the message you are trying to get across.
- Brush up on HIPAA regulations before participating in social media.NEVER communicate with patients through social media. You can easily violate HIPAA regulations by dming (a term for direct messaging someone on instagram).
- Use hashtags. Using a hashtag in posts (#) or ‘tagging’ a post is a way to add information to your photo that will help lead people back to how to book in person or virtual appointments. For example, if you are a dermatologist and want patients to come see you because you treat acne you could post a photo of a patient’s before and after skin treatment and use #acne #acnebegone or #acneremedies when you post a photo. This will go into a aggregation of words that people can search for when they want acne remedies.
- Choosing a public or private profile. If you are looking to grow your profile and increase exposure, a public profile. But depending on your practice and current patient load, you may prefer to keep your profile private until someone officially becomes a client. It also gives you the ability to offer special deals to your dedicated patient base.
- Use posts to present timely information or new offerings. Besides placing practical information in your profile, it is good to do an actual post that provides up to date information on your hours, new services, or special announcements such as a new partner being added to a medical group, or that there’s a puppy in the office. The possibilities are endless.
- Use you profile description for providing information for patients. Provide information about your practice and services in your social media profile descriptions. For example, it can be good to link back to a personal website and provide a office email or office phone number.
- Think before you post. On instagram you are under a microscope. Remember, do NOT allow anyone else or yourself to post anything that would damage your professional reputation. (This includes inappropriate hashtags)
- Don’t take trolls seriously (Or just block them). ‘Trolls’ are people or groups who either intentionally or pointlessly swear and insult someone with absolutely no rhyme or reason. Either don’t engage, comment back nicely, or you can block this person from seeing you on Instagram.
- Educate vs. diagnosis. Instagram is a great way to educate perspective patients, but remember not to cross the line due to HIPAA. use this as a way for patients to take notice and follow up in your office for an evaluation.
Instagram is a great platform to build your practice and increase patient-doctor interaction, especially if you already are using facebook and twitter professionally. Happy gramming!