When you post a new image to your hospital’s Instagram, do the “likes” and comments come pouring in?
Or do you find that your post quickly fades into the black hole of 95 million posts per day?
Users on social media are hungry. They come for great content. But you can’t just show up and feed the beast. Find your unique recipe — don’t serve the same thing everyone else is.
The best hospital Instagram feeds — the ones with engaged, active audiences — have these themes in common:
- Real people: A behind-the-scenes approach humanizes the hospital.
- Relevant content: Everyday wellness content reaches healthy audiences now, so they remember the hospital when they need help later.
- Dynamic strategy: An evolving strategy is key — because what works today may not work tomorrow.
What else can strengthen your strategy? These tips work for some of the best hospitals in the country.
Give your audience VIP access
Use Instagram to take your audience behind closed doors, where incredible things are happening. Give them a view they can’t get anywhere else.
For example, Nationwide Children’s Hospital uses Instagram to share moments like:
- A visit from the Harlem Globetrotters
- Powerful “before and after” images of premature babies all grown up
- Friendly doctors joining the Halloween fun with superhero costumes
Plan ahead, but be flexible
You’ve meticulously mapped out your editorial calendar, but sometimes the best Instagram posts happen organically. You can’t plan them ahead of time. When they crop up, you have to be ready to seize the opportunity, even if it means changing your plans.
Don’t be afraid to pursue a lead when time is of the essence. Instagram audiences thrive on spontaneity. They love seeing their favorite celebrity visiting sick kids unannounced. Or an energetic nurse singing with an elderly patient. Or a pregnant woman dancing her way through labor.
And it’s OK that you didn’t know about it until last minute. Capture it, and work it into your calendar.
Show the humans behind the health system
Maybe it’s staff members volunteering in the community or smiling medical students on their first day, ready to change the world. Either way, one thing is true: People want to see other people.
Make sure you fill your channel with the faces of your organization. Stay away from too much text and stock images. Be real.
Johns Hopkins Medicine does this well. One post might feature an employee running a marathon or sharing a motivating story about weight loss. The team is always looking for new ways to use Instagram to the fullest — they’re now working closely with their video team to experiment with IGTV.
Always use relevant hashtags
Don’t forget to tag each post! Part of Instagram success is growing an audience. Without a hashtag, you’re limiting your audience to only those who already follow you.
Instagram posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement than those without. So use hashtags strategically to attract more followers and boost engagement. Never click “Share” without one.
Experiment with Stories
If you haven’t already tried the Stories feature, now’s the time to start. 300 million users use the “Stories” feature daily. Hospitals: It’s time to jump on the bandwagon.
Stories are a central part of UCLA Health’s Instagram strategy, and they’ve seen the payoff. The health system has much higher engagement on Instagram compared to its other social media channels.
Cleveland Clinic also uses Stories well by driving Instagrammers to its website through enticing headlines and calls-to-action.
Analyze your results to find what works
If you’re experimenting with your strategy on Instagram — well done! You’re off to a great start. Now it’s time to analyze those tests and do more of what works.
For example, it took trial and error for NewYork-Presbyterian to learn what their audience wants to see on Instagram. They know now that videos and GIFs work well on Facebook and Twitter, but their Instagram audience prefers compelling still images or before-and-after photos.
Pay attention and listen to find out what your audience likes. Note what resonates and what doesn’t, and adjust your strategy accordingly.
Collaborate with other departments
You can’t be everywhere all the time. You need eyes and ears throughout your hospital. A smart Instagram strategy widens your reach to other staff throughout the building.
Train employees in other departments to find the content gems and inspiring stories across your organization. Teach them to be alert and notify you when Instagram-worthy content pops up.
Up Your Ante on Instagram
You don’t want your hospital to be one of the 25 million business profiles on the ‘Gram, publishing some of the 95 million posts and 400 million Stories per day.
Don’t sink into the black hole of content.
Be different. Stand out. Make an impact.
Share the inspiring healthcare content hidden in your walls. Your Instagram audience is waiting.
This post has been sponsored by Aha Media Group
Ahava R. Leibtag has more than 20 years of experience in writing, messaging and marketing. She is a well-recognized content expert and writes thought leadership about content strategy and content marketing. Ahava is the President and owner of Aha Media Group, a content strategy and content marketing consultancy founded in October 2005. She is the author of The Digital Crown: Winning at Content on the Web. Ahava’s position as a Communications Strategist for a government agency gave her unique perspective in writing customer-centric prose. Previously, she worked in the Corporate Communications department of Russell Reynolds Associates, a leading international executive recruiting firm. Ahava has also worked for two major advertising agencies, a commercial production company and also served as the metro beat reporter for The Jerusalem Post. Ahava received her M.A. from Georgetown University and her B.A. from Stern College for Women of Yeshiva University. She lives in the Washington, D.C., metropolitan region.