Sunday, June 28, 2015

Use Instagram for Healthcare?

The purpose of this article is to provide you with some information on how to maximize your Healthcare Organization's Business on Instagram   


Before we get started I want you you to look at the following logo of a Hospital and pictures from a hospital.  Which of these gives you a better understanding of what a Hospital is like?


This statement :      


MUSC Children's Hospital. Caring. Sharing. Giving.

 Or, these pictures :

These two pictures are the perfect example of how using Instagram can to tell your story.  The logo statement to the left simply states the facts.  It's boring, bland, and needs something more to portray the environment that it wants its customers to see.  It looks great on a header for a business letter, let's leave it there.  For social media and attracting followers and more consumers, it's time to step it up a bit.

The pictures, on the other hand, can portray a feeling (ie. happy, welcoming, safe, fun, caring) and an image that can stick in someone's mind about their idea of how they remember your business (branding).  The pictures indicate a fun loving environment, something that I don't necessarily get out of the logo, do you?  Plus, I'm much more likely to remember those  pictures than I am a logo.



OK! You've got my attention

 Tell me MORE




Let's start with the basics: What exactly is Instagram?

  • It's an online photo sharing network. Have you ever heard someone say "a picture is worth a thousand words?" Well, that's the basic idea behind Instagram.  Sometimes a picture is all your business needs to brand itself - whether hospital or with health branding.  
  • You just take a picture and share it (you can even edit it before it is shared)
  • Connects to a variety of other social media tools (i.e.. Facebook)
  • You use this application with many different devices: smartphones, tablets, or computers
  • Your account can have followers, and you can follow others
  • Photos can be found by using a # hashtag 

Let me explain why these points are important for your success.  Instagram has over 100 million users, and the odds of some of them being your clients or customers is pretty likely - don't you think?  The nice thing about Instagram is that is uses pictures which help continue to build the brand of company you want to portray - on a more intimate level - by allowing followers to get to see the personality of your business rather that read about it.  Check out my point below.

Rachel Seda shares some other ways on how your hospital or health brand can tell its story

  • Don't just talk about the good, take pictures of the staff or brand your ambassadors to start gaining trust and loyalty to show to your fans.  
  • Share sneak peek photos such as new products, ads, buildings or events
  • Take behind the scenes photos of an event and give live updates to raise awareness about living donor transplants
  • Take pictures of the lifestyle you wish to portray - share motivational pictures, healthy nutrition, healthy lifestyle
  • Just be fun!  Be creative in how you share your pictures. Stand out from the crowd.  
It's crucial to build a fan base.  Healthcare does not have to be serious all of the time.  Today's digital age followers want quick and simple snippet about what you're trying to portray.  Instagram is perfect for that and at the same time allows your organization's personality to shine through.  I do think redirecting back to your main website for more information is important as well.  I would not recommend using Instagram by itself, but it is a great supplement for your business.  Not to mention it's free, utilize what you have available.  Spending more money does not always equate to getting  more customers.  It's not all about posting pictures, though!



Instagram may be simple in that it provides mostly pictures, but it is more than just about telling a story.  Here are some examples of how it can be utilized for its maximum potential


Helen Gregg wrote an article about Downers Grove, an Illinois based Advocate Health Care, who had 670 followers by the second month of joining Instagram.  She mentions that 45% of adult internet users post photos or videos online, and 12% are on Instagram.  The Advocate's first major campaign focused on Breast Cancer Awareness Month using the hashtag #StoriesoftheGirls encouraging women to upload photos of their "best girl moments."  If the hashtag was used, a prize could be won!  The aim was to bring about more cancer awareness, and therefore advocate for breast cancer prevention.  An unexpected result from the campaign was that Advocate Healthcare got to literally see their populations profile - their diversity and what is important to them - which really told them a lot in terms of marketing! As this company continues campaigning with Instagram it will build on branding the service by engaging the consumers.  This is an excellent idea.  Anything you can do to draw consumers in and get them involved will help build the relationship with the community.

Can you imagine posting ONE single picture on Instagram (for free) and receiving donations from it?  Well, you should! Check out this picture from Save the Children.

This is an example of text-to-give picture.  It has a message on the picture that can easily be shared.  Now, I think it should include a hashtag in order to cluster the conversation about the picture, but this is a fantastic and easy way to raise money real-time.  Instead of going through long drawn out paperwork to raise money, this concept can be posted in a matter of days versus weeks and bring in money faster because of it. 

This is a fantastic way to promote a cause and help get your consumers more involved with the community at the same time.

Sometimes fundraising over a longer period of time can be helpful, which raises awareness at the same time it helps raise funds.

This is a great idea.  Using a hashtag clusters all of the messages together relating to this one topic.  You just have to continue to be involved and not let the momentum slow down.

I would suggest using a different picture weekly in order to keep your followers' attention, and keep sharing the post!

  •  Promote fundraising events, promotional discounts, and don't forget to thank your donors!   Check out these pictures to see what other businesses have done.











These are all wonderful ideas to use Instagram for fundraising and reaching out to the community with very little money spent on advertising or manpower.  The only drawback is that you have to have a little imagination in what you want to create and what you want to say!




Alyssa Anderson wrote an article for Pop Health and says there are a number of public health organizations already actively using Instagram

    • Chicago Department of Public Health (By the way, congratulations to the Blackhawks!)
    • American Public Health Association
    • Austin, TX Department of Health and Human Services (what they did is really great, more to come!)       
    • The Red Pump Project (Hey, National HIV Testing Day is June 27!)
    • American Cancer Society

    If you click on the Red Pump Project link, you'll see how engaging and interactive this company is with their followers.  The pictures include a variety of activities, campaigns, bragging rights from awards they've received, they include short videos, sell tickets to events, show highlights from followers who attended, post informative photos, and even market their products that redirect the followers back to their link.  This is a great site to get ideas on how to diversify your page and keep the interest of your followers.  Just be sure to market to your followers, which may have to adjusted as time changes. This site targets a very specific demographic, be sure not to limit your audience if it is composed of a variety of people. 


    Here are some ways to formulate and implement effective marketing strategies to help you create a successful Instagram page


    Cultivate a Following - Engagement is the key to success. Keep up with your followers and do not let this be a one sided relationship, interact with them by commenting back.

    Balance fun pictures as well as business pictures-  show your personality (remember the photos of the doctors dresses as clowns?)

    Create an occasional video - This is a new feature, but can be fun for a quick short clip to promote or advocate for campaigns

    Create trends - You can create a trend with either a hashtag or by mentioning other services or providers.  No need to overdo it, keep it simple yet effective!

    Check out the competition - It's OK to look!    

    Ask for advice or check out videos to learn more about your specialty.  Here is a great example of how a small business Healthcare Professional asks for tips on how to utilize her Instagram account to its fullest potential.  Pay attention to the following suggestions as you listen:

    • Be sure to identify the business in the profile picture
    • Must include a bio for a quick explanation to identify your business
    • Link your website
    • Be sure to represent your brand in your pictures
    • Show some personality to help your follows connect to you
    • Use hashtags to promote the business - personalize/customize them to stand out and include them in all of the relevant posts
    • In order to get followers to visit specific URL's direct them in your posts


    You should have a goal and a plan in mind in everything that you do with your Instagram account.  Utilizing the points given in this blog and remaining actively involved with your followers can boost your Healthcare business in many ways.

    Images from
    Doctor holding instagram sign
    Clown Woman
    Clown - Man
    Junior Ambassadors - Children's Hospital Los Angeles
    Save the Children 
    December beard
    Breast Cancer Fundraiser

    Botanical Choice
    Thank you Donors
    Thank you Donation
    Feeling left out 
    Let's get started
    Count me in


    Megan Hucks said...

    Sabrina! Wow. I am so impressed with the amount of time and effort you must have dedicated to your blog. I was also assigned Instagram and I think you did the best job of explaining how Healthcare organizations can benefit from using it. The photos you chose to include showed your personality and kept things very light hearted and interesting. Great job!

    Nina Athena said...

    Thank you for sharing such valuable information and knowledge. It is very useful and informative. It would be great to see more updates from you soon.

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