Branching out into the world of Instagram can be a highly effective way for your aesthetics practice to strut its stuff, showcasing the quality work you do, your expertise, your caring and attentive staff, and even a bit of personality. And while Instagram is primarily a personal social network, 80% of users follow a business. With a billion monthly users, that adds up.
It’s never too late to join the Instagram phenomenon, so it’s perfectly fine if you’re only just now thinking about adding your practice to the mix. Of course, as with any new digital venture, there might be some apprehension at the very beginning of your Instagram journey. You might have had experience with Instagram on a personal level, but there are going to be some different considerations when representing a business, including what content should be posted, how frequently your practice should post, who should actually be posting, and how much of your staff should be included.
The first 30 days are important to put your best foot forward without getting discouraged. This post will help set some basic guidelines to help kickstart you Instagram efforts.
Start With a Plan and Realistic Goals
Instagram is perfectly suited for visual-heavy industries, and aesthetics practices can find great success on the platform. But what does “success” look like? How will you get there? How fast should you be increasing your numbers?
Start with the basics. Remember, Instagram should be used to help your practice:
- Highlight expertise and overall quality of results
- Provide consumers a sense of your practice’s personality
- Raise awareness of particular treatments or promotions
- Proactively answer frequently asked questions through posts
It helps to remember that Instagram isn’t going to be the only tool that helps achieve these goals, so you don’t need to gain a million followers or get reposts from celebrities (though it wouldn’t hurt). What you do want, however, is to use this visual-heavy platform to best showcase your practice’s expertise and personality. When it comes to followers, you’re looking for quality over quantity. The key is to provide relevant, informative information, and not overload your feed with promotional posts. So before you actually get started, it might help to think about:
- The types of content you’ll want to share (photos, videos, text-based images, patient testimonials, ‘behind-the-scenes’, etc.)
- A content mix that favors informative content over promotions
- What your overall tone will be (serious, casual, whimsical)
- Which treatments you’d like to showcase
- Upcoming special offers or seasonal treatments
Variety (and Consistency) Is The Spice of E-Life
Instagram accounts that get the best results are active, consistent, and provide a constant mix of informative and entertaining content, but this doesn’t have to be an all-consuming task. In fact, RealSelf data suggests that as little as 10 Instagram posts a month can be effective. Ideally, you’ll want your practice to deliver a steady stream of content that focuses on informing, educating, and entertaining your followers, while sprinkling in some promotion here and there. Keep in mind marketing’s ‘80/20’ guideline, where you’re sharing one persuasive, promotional item out of every five things you post.
Remember that Instagram isn’t just for pictures, so your mix should also include video, even the occasional “meme” or text-based image. Instagram Stories is an area of the app that allows you to post quick, less-polished content that you might not want as part of your main feed, but can still be valuable or entertaining to your followers.
Consider planning your Instagram posts a month ahead to get started. To hit the recommended minimum of 10 monthly posts, you’ll want to plan for two to three posts per week. On the lower tech side, you can use a simple spreadsheet or text document to plan your posts. There are also tools like Hootsuite that enable you to schedule posts directly in a platform, enabling you to not only plan but execute well ahead of time in one sitting (just remember that you or a staff member should be tuned into your post to engage if followers react).
Quality is still paramount, however. No matter what you post or how often, your posts should be well thought out and always align with your overall tone and message.
Get Your Staff Involved
There are several ways that your entire staff can participate in maintaining an effective Instagram presence.
Staff members can help with content creation and with workflow, taking some pressure off of you, while helping keep your Instagram feed active and interesting. If someone on your staff already has experience with Instagram, you might consider allowing them to take the lead, encouraging them to help think “big picture” about your Instagram strategy. Because Instagram allows several different people to be logged into a single account, the rest of the staff can also help create actual content, saving them as ‘drafts’ while you or your lead could be the ones to actually approve and distribute. This way, everyone gets to be in on the fun.
Additionally, think about how your staff can directly participate as subjects in photos, videos, and Instagram Stories. Some ways include:
- Helping explain current treatments or announcing new ones
- Showcasing some fun, behind-the-scenes office action
- Alerting followers to seasonal promotions
- Sharing a bit of information about themselves
These efforts can make your practice appear more friendly and inviting, while giving your staff members something that can help spice up the workday. Keep in mind, however, that not every staff member will fully understand or enjoy using Instagram. Use the first thirty days to help determine which of your staff members might be more naturally inclined to participate. Read more of our recommendations on how to get your staff involved in our recent post, “How Savvy Surgeons Include Their Team for Social Media Success.”
Draw Inspiration From Other Aesthetic Accounts
Content creation can be fun, but when first starting out, you might not know exactly what kind of content to create. One way to get over this hurdle is to draw inspiration from other Instagram accounts. Checking out the things that other successful accounts are doing can help you develop a few similar ideas for your own practice. To start, here’s a list we put together of 12 Instagram accounts you should be following. (Added tip: Keep an eye out for relevant hashtags, like #plasticsurgery, #botox, or others relevant to your specialty. Clicking on some of those might help you discover even more inspiring accounts.)
Market Your Account
Naturally, the more people are aware of your Instagram account, the more likely you’ll be to gain new followers and help convert leads into customers. While there are plenty of in-app ways to grow your presence (liking and responding to comments, utilizing hashtags to aid in discovery), offline methods are also important. Here are some ways to start growing your follower count in the first 30 days:
- Add your Instagram account information to your email correspondence, collateral material and appointment cards
- Create a sign that you can display in your office waiting room inviting patients to follow your account
- If your firm is already active on other social media channels, you can announce your new Instagram account there
Lastly, remember that RealSelf can help! Network members have access to an Instagram integration that can also help build your following.
Keeping all of these considerations in mind during the first 30 days of launching an Instagram account for your practice can help get your account off the ground, acquire quality and engaged followers, and keep your staff invested in the success of the practice. After that first month, don’t be afraid to tweak your overall strategy, amplifying what’s working and trying out new things that can help your practice stand out.