Last week we talked about Snapchat and some ways you can use it to grow your practice. This week, we’re going to talk about the uber-popular photo sharing social media platform, Instagram.
Assuming you’ve already setup your account and have figured out how to snap pics, apply some filters or adjustments and then share with your followers, here are 10 ways you can use Instagram to expand your reach, strengthen your relationship with existing patients and ultimately, grow your practice beyond it’s current levels.
1. Connect to Other Social Media Channels
The name of the game in marketing is expanding your reach as effortlessly as possible and you’ll get much more bang for your buck (i.e., more followers, leads and patients) if you connect your Instagram to both your Facebook and Twitter accounts. When you do this, any image you post to Instagram will automatically be posted to those profiles as well, making it easy for people to jump over to your Instagram and then like, comment and share your pictures.
2. Post What Your Audience Wants To See
Don’t stress about making sure all your images are polished, professional shots. Truth be told, your audience probably prefers the rough smartphone pictures with filters. Your stream should allow the culture and personality of your practice shine through, give followers a ‘behind the scenes’ look at your practice and help them visualize the results they could experience as a result of your services.
3. Don’t Forget The Video
Instagram recently increased the length of videos you can share, making it a very popular tool for sharing short videos. You only have 60 seconds at most so be sure to keep them short and sweet, but you wouldn’t want more than that anyway because your audience’s attention span will be limited as they’re scrolling through their stream. You can also embed your Instagram videos on your website.
The same rules for sharing pictures applies to the videos as well. Don’t worry about it being super professional, allow your practice’s personality to shine through, invite followers ‘behind the scenes’ and help patients see what they could expect. A tour of your office, a hygienist working on a patient, before and afters, and patient testimonials all make GREAT video content for your Instagram.
4. Use Hashtags
If you’re not familiar with social media, the term ‘hashtag’ might be a bit foreign, but it’s essentially a way to tag your content so it can be searched easily by other. A hashtag is any word or phrase preceded by the ‘#’ sign. For example, #SocialMedia, #HavingFun, #[PracticeName] are all examples of possible hashtags. The only real limit to hashtags is your imagination.
Ultimately, because people sort images by hashtags, you have the opportunity to reach even more new followers by using one that relates to your image. You can also find people to follow by searching relevant hashtags.
5. Respond to Comments
Your followers love it when you respond to their comments, so make a point to check in several times a week and reply. Follow people back, and then try to connect with them on other social sites.
6. Crowdsource Your Images
Don’t feel like you have to be the only one posting pictures to your stream. A fantastic way to engage your followers is to invite them to upload photos to your stream as well. This could be done as a contest, with a reward for the best image. You could also just showcase your ‘fans’ showing off the beautiful smiles you helped create.
7. Show Off Your Practice’s ‘Vibe’
It can be hard to really express your practice’s personality on Twitter, but the visual impact from Instagram gives you the opportunity to do just that. Is your practice young and dynamic? Maybe it’s more spa-like and relaxing? Whatever your personality, upload photos that convey the environment and feeling you want your patients to experience. Remember, your photo stream should go beyond simply posting pictures of teeth and procedures. Show off your personality and people will respond.
8. Measure Your Likes
In order to improve the interaction with your photo stream, you need to know what your followers are responding to most often. Keep on eye on the little heart button of each image and then make adjustments to future posts based on the level of interaction you get.
9. Use Blue to Get More Likes
Here’s an interesting fact: images on Instagram that had blue as the dominant color got 24% more likes than other colors. It’s all about psychology, and blue seems to win when it comes to attracting more attention!
10. Consistency Is Key
As with all of the social media sites, being consistent is critical to your success. Create a schedule of posting pictures so you stay in front of your audience and be sure to stick to it so your followers know when to expect new content from you.
Social media has now been an important part of an effective marketing toolbox for quite a few years now. While Facebook and Twitter have been clearly been the biggest players in the game, Instagram has quickly gained popularity and if you want to reach as many potential patients as possible, you MUST be active on this photo-sharing platform. The 10 steps I shared will give you a leg-up on your competition and will help you maximize your efforts to increase your reach and grow your practice.
If you’re not sure where to start with Instagram, let us know, WE CAN HELP.
Just schedule a FREE one-on-one strategy session so we can chat about your practice and give you some specific steps you can take to make Instagram a tool that allows you to get qualified leads and patients quickly and efficiently.