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7 Ways Doctors Can Use Instagram Without Grossing Anyone Out

Most medical practices join social media through Facebook and Twitter.

But why are they staying out of the social media platform that has surpassed Twitter in user count and shames Facebook and Twitter when it comes to user engagement rates?

I’m talking about Instagram – the image-sharing site owned by Facebook.

The typical layperson isn’t quite ready for medical photography to go mainstream. For those of us not used to it, most of it is pretty jarring. Not exactly what people are looking for on social media.

But Instagram is the United State’s second most popular social media network and projected to have an U.S.-based audience of 111.6 million by 2019, which will be than 40 percent of internet users.

What’s a medical practice to do on Instagram?

Here are 7 great image ideas for you to reach out to new patients, engage with your community, and stand-out on Instagram.

1. Science-y Stuff

While a cross-section photo of broken bones or a picture of a suction tubes coming out of an open surgical wound may not attract the widest audience, you still have a lot of fascinating medical imagery you can share such as:

  • X-rays
  • Infrared Thermography

Your practice has a range of diagnostic and surgical imagery that people will find educational and riveting.

[Instagram Sample #1]

2. Medical and Surgical Equipment

Patients, or potential patients, often fear the unknown. Medical issues are always scary, in part because patients don’t what to expect.

Use your Instagram account to share photos of your:

  • Office
  • Examination Rooms
  • Surgical Rooms

You can also post pictures of medical equipment used, whether they’re surgical instruments or post-op braces a patient might expect to wear.

Include a short description of what the piece of equipment is for and how it works, for example.

Here’s the homepage image of a durable medical equipment (DME) company to give you an idea what makes a good image.

[Instagram Sample #2]

3. Educational Materials

By now you’ve heard about the Pew Research showing how much medical and health information research people do online. You’ve probably seen it in your own patient community.

Use people’s interest to learn more about their health and bodies to become a trusted authority.

That’s what content marketing is all about – establishing your practice as a credible, trustworthy source of information about a person’s needs. So when it’s time for them to see someone, your practice is top of their list.

Since Instagram is image-oriented, share educational images. This can include:

  • Medical drawings (which are less gross that the actual photos)
  • Data graphics showing results from a relevant study
  • Post-op recovery guidelines

[Instagram Samples #3 and #4]

4. Patient Photos

The old cork board full of photos happy patients bring in is your model for a patient stream on your practice’s Instagram account.

As I mentioned earlier, engagement on Instagram through re-Instragramming, tagging, liking, and commenting, is a huge part of the Instagram experience.

[Instagram Samples #5 and #6]

Fortunately, you probably have patients already posting their photos on their own Instagram accounts. These are a great place to start. Like them. Re-instagram them and tag them.

These can be photos that patients post of themselves such as:

  • Before and after treatment or surgery
  • Photos of themselves enjoying their recovery

5. Photos of You and Your Staff

Social media is about creating relationships. People want to connect with other people.

These photos should be of real people in the context of your practice – no sterile bio pics.

Photos should include:

  • Medical personnel and staff
  • Someone taking blood pressure
  • Receptionist at the front desk

[Instagram Samples #7 thru #10]

6. Client and Partnership Logos

Does your practice have partnerships with other centers or organizations? Do you have contracts with any school districts or sports groups to provide them with care?

With their permission, create a client stream on your Instagram page where you can post their logos and promote your partnership. You can also include:

  • Photos relevant to each partnership
  • Game photos of school teams your practice provides medical care to
  • No injury photos necessary – just photos of the team’s success.

7. Images From Your Other Digital Assets

Do you have great photos of your practice, patients, and people on your website?

Post them on Instagram with a link back to your site. Images can include:

  • Any image you include on a blog post (include a link back to that post)
  • Images that you’ve posted on your informational website page (include a link back to that page)
  • Images or graphics that you’ve used in any advertising or brochures

Repurpose the images you’ve already created or bought in this way to promote more of your content.

Opportunity Awaits

Instagram is prime space for a medical professional to gain the high ground.

It has a growing and active user base, but low penetration by medical practices.

Now that you have some options, figure out how you’ll make Instagram a part of your marketing strategy and get to it.

Garrett Smith

Garrett is the Founder, and Chief Marketer at InboundMD. Garrett has been successfully leading internet marketing campaigns for health care practices across the US for almost a decade. He's a frequent speaker at events, and author of "Book Now! Internet Marketing for Healthcare Practices", and the host of The Practice Marketing Podcast that details how successful practices are winning online.

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