Instagram has seen steady growth since it launched, and with a billion monthly active users posting 95 million pictures and videos daily, it shows no signs of slowing down. The visual app stands out for offering the highest engagement rates of any social network. Patients are particularly active on Instagram, but life sciences companies are only starting to see its value. According to a recent report by Klick Health, while 352 pharma brands have a presence on Facebook, only 41 are on Instagram.
Helpful Tips for Patient Engagement
If you want to reach patients on Instagram, start with the basics. Make sure you post regularly and only post high-quality, thoughtful content. Here are 7 ways to engage patients on Instagram.
1. Invite them to follow you.
Especially if you are new to Instagram, be sure to invite your current followers on other social platforms like Facebook to follow you there. Link to your Instagram profile in emails and on your websites.
2. Ask trusted patient influencers for help.
Partnering with trusted patient leaders is a great way to reach more patients. Instagram is home to many thriving patient communities which include trusted patient influencers who already have wide audiences. By partnering with some of these patients, you will attract more eyeballs to your profile. You also might see overall engagement go up, as there will likely be some transference of trust. If a trusted patient influencer has chosen to work with you, other patients could be more willing to give you a chance.
3. Ask questions.
A great way to drive engagement is to ask questions. Instagram offers a great way to learn more about the patient groups you are trying to reach. Use questions liberally. Ask questions on your posts. Make use of the interactive features of Instagram Stories. Use polls. Ask open-ended questions. Seek out ideas for the kind of content patients would like to see you post.
4. Utilize hashtags.
Spend time with hashtags. Find out what hashtags patients are already using and pay attention to what is being posted. Are there hashtags about one of your medications? When appropriate, use these popular patient hashtags with your own content.
5. Engage with patient content.
Engagement isn’t a one-way street. Putting forth the effort to engage with patients and their content can make a difference. Try liking posts using a hashtag you want to target. Liking and possibly commenting on posts with a medication-specific hashtag is a good place to start. Not all patients will appreciate if you start liking or commenting on their content uninvited. But you will likely gain some new followers after engaging with patient content in this way. Pay attention to who follows and then make an effort to interact with their content.
6. Use ads.
Perhaps because they blend in more seamlessly, patients may be more likely to engage with ads on Instagram than on other platforms. The key is for the ads to show off the kind of quality content found on your profile. Good ad content will invite engagement on its own. It will make people curious to see what else you’re doing, and it may lead to gaining new followers.
7. Feature real patient stories.
Instagram is the perfect place to showcase real patient stories. Highlight inspirational stories of patients doing exciting things. Feature patients talking about the real patient experience or how illness affects every part of their lives. Invite user-generated content. This is a way to get patients talking about you, leading to more people finding you. Try hosting a photo contest. Show off your fun and light-hearted side with a caption contest or a meme creation contest. Have patients share their entries with a unique hashtag. Share the winning entries on your profile.
We Can Help
Want further help maximizing your Instagram reach? We have the experience and know-how to analyze your Instagram performance and suggest improvements. With our network of 100K+ patient leaders, we can help you connect with patient influencers. Partnering with these patient leaders can take your Instagram account to the next level.