Should Your Medical Practice Be Using Instagram Stories?

instagram stories

Instagram Stories can be an effective strategy for connecting with patients. Here’s how medical marketers can make the most of this popular and accessible feature.

Since its 2010 launch and subsequent purchase by Facebook, Instagram has become the world’s dominant photo sharing service, with one billion monthly active users. Instagram was originally known for carefully curated and artfully filtered images, but that’s quickly changing. The site’s less formal Stories is now one of its most popular features.

Due to its ease of use and impressive levels of engagement, Instagram Stories is a valuable tool for medical marketers. Here’s how healthcare practices and providers can use these quick snapshots to connect with new patients.

What Are Instagram Stories?

Introduced in 2016, Instagram’s Stories feature was modeled after Snapchat’s. Stories are short videos or time-limited photos that are presented to the user in a continuous feed. Though a Story can be a single post, the medium’s true value lies in its ability to construct a narrative using a series of related posts. Users can superimpose text and emojis on Stories, or add filters for an extra level of creativity.

In contrast to traditional Instagram posts, which stay on a user’s profile permanently unless deleted, Stories only live for 24 hours. This gives them an informal, ephemeral quality. After all, why obsess over the perfect angle or lighting when the content will be gone the next day?

Instagram Stories has experienced explosive growth, reaching 500 million daily users, and it’s easy to see why. Stories appear at the very top of the feed in Instagram’s app. They’re convenient to scroll through, with a tap advancing from one to the next. Stories are quick and easy to post, offering new options for creative expression. They also have the unique feature of showing the poster exactly who has viewed their Story.

Instagram Stories and Medical Marketing

Used by millions of brands, Instagram Stories is a key tool for marketers. Instagram has long been a useful platform for the medical community, and this feature makes it even more so. Creating a Story is fast and simple, especially since the medium encourages an informal style. There’s no cost to post one, though paid Story ads can be used to reach even more potential patients.

Medical practices also have the ability to see who has watched their Stories, enabling marketers to learn exactly which patients their content is reaching. Most importantly, Stories take advantage of Instagram’s high levels of user engagement – 75 percent of users take action in response to content on Instagram.

Genuine storytelling is at the bedrock of effective medical marketing, and this is where Instagram Stories excel. For instance, a practice could use Stories to introduce new doctors, nurses, or care staff, providing a human, personal perspective. Other possibilities include posting a how-to guide for avoiding spring allergies, or taking viewers on a virtual office tour, explaining what happens in each room to reduce the intimidation factor. Providers could even use a Story to spread the word about a short-term offer or deal.  

Patients are more likely to make an appointment if they feel an authentic connection with their provider — an area where Instagram Stories offers real value. By using Stories to tell authentic, human narratives, medical marketers can reach new patients as well as deepen engagement with existing ones.

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