7 Tips on Promoting Your Plastic Surgery Practice with Instagram
Social media platforms are offering plastic surgeons more ways than ever to connect with their patients and expand their practices. A few months ago, we took a look at Snapchat and how many doctors are using it to grow their personal profiles and bring in new business.
Another popular platform that all ISAPS plastic surgeons should be on is Instagram. With over 700 million users, Instagram is one of the most used social networking tools out there, especially for plastic surgeons. How can you take advantage? Here are 7 tips on how you can better promote your plastic surgery practice using Instagram.
The first things that a potential follower is going to see when they visit your Instagram profile are your photo and bio. These two factors will often determine if they stay to check out your content, or move on to the next profile. Think of it as your digital business card.
You only have 150 characters to write your bio, just slightly more than the length of a Tweet. You have to make every character count. This isn’t something that you want to fire off in a minute, this is something you want to work on through multiple drafts. It should include relevant keywords and hashtags and a description of your plastic surgery practice. It should also convey your personality and end with a call to action. That’s a lot to stuff into 150 characters, so take your time, write several drafts, and refine each one until you have a streamlined bio.
Your practice’s branding should be consistent across all of your social media platforms and advertisements. For your profile photo, use a high-quality image of your brand logo or your professional photo. As your Instagram grows, you might want to consider developing a compelling logo for your practice that you can use in all of your marketing, both digital and print.
You also want to provide potential customers with a way to contact you. So include your email address, phone number, physical address and website in your business profile.
As a plastic surgeon, you are in the business of aesthetics. That should translate over to your photos.
As Instagram is an image-based social media platform, your photos need to be taken at a high resolution to give your followers a high-quality peek at your work. It doesn’t matter how gifted a plastic surgeon you are or how fantastic a procedure ends up, if the image of it is blurry, low-quality or poorly framed. You should also learn how to use Instagram filters and photo editing tools to make your images stand out.
It also isn’t enough to just post before-and-after photos of procedures. You want to provide your followers with a wide range of content, including behind-the-scenes photos and videos, photos of your staff and photos of your practice. One word about Instagram, there is no nudity allowed, so you will have to censor any sensitive photos, such as those of breast enhancement.
One major mistake that newcomers to social media can make is thinking of their channels as simply billboards or advertisements. Instagram isn’t a static advertisement, it is a social network. In order to take full advantage of what Instagram has to offer, you are going to need to become part of the larger community and conversation.
The first thing you should do after setting up your Instagram account is find people to follow. At first, this can be friends, family and employees, but you also want to follow other popular plastic surgeons to see what they are up to. After you’re following them, engage with them. “Like” interesting photos, and offer comments. This will get you involved in the greater plastic surgery community on Instagram, and get others interested in following you.
You can also mention people by tagging them in a photo. Although this can be a great way to boost engagement, as a plastic surgeon, you have to be very careful. Many of your patients might not want to be identified in photos for various reasons, and privacy laws may prohibit it.
Posts on Instagram are more than just images or movies, they offer the opportunity to tell a story. With any kind of content, even the most striking image can be dismissed. By adding well-written and compelling captions to your content, you will be able to share a little bit more of yourself with your followers, telling them about the procedures, and making them a little more invested in the story that you are telling. These captions shouldn’t be long; you don’t want them distracting from the main content (the photo).
If you want to succeed on Instagram, you need to become an expert at using hashtags. Without them, no one is going to be able to find your content, even if they are looking.
As hashtags are searchable, they may be the primary way that you can attract new followers. Look at popular plastic surgeons’ Instagram profiles to see the kind of hashtags they use. Tag before-and-after photos with the name of the procedure. This allows people on Instagram to find content of their favorite plastic surgery procedures. Try not to use incredibly common hashtags like #plasticsurgery. If you do, your content will probably be buried in an instant under the mountain of other plastic surgery posts sharing that hashtag.
If you’re on Instagram, you should also be on all of the other usual social media suspects: Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, LinkedIn, Pinterest and Google+. By integrating your Instagram account with these other services, you will essentially be killing several birds with one stone every time you post. Put up a new photo on Instagram, it will be shared on your Facebook page and your Twitter feed. This will let you cast a wider “net” and also possibly attract your followers on your other social media platforms to follow you on Instagram.
Spam is the scourge of the internet. Nobody enjoys being constantly bothered by post after post from a social media account, even if it is content that they are interested in. If you want to maintain your followers, you don’t want to spam them. You also need to make sure that you post enough content daily to keep your brand relevant and give your followers a reason to stick with you.
To find the right balance, the “not too hot, not too cold, but just right” of Instagram, try starting with just two photos per day. Over the first few weeks, vary the times of day that you post them. Using Instagram’s tools, measure your social engagement to find the optimal times to post. Experiment by adding another daily photo post, or maybe take one away. Monitor your Instagram to find the sweet spot. Once you’ve found it, keep working at it, as optimal posting times and popularity of content will shift as you gain more and varied followers.