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Instagram Marketing for Physicians

For over a year, I have been using Instagram for both of my brands. Mostly to find clients and connect with other physicians in the same space. In this post I’ll discuss my experience with Instagram. Specifically, Instagram marketing for physicians.

I have also recently completed an Instagram Promotion. It’s basically an advertising campaign where you take one of your posts (or stories) and you target a specific audience with it.

Value of Instagram

  1. Marketing
  2. Networking
  3. Cats

#1. Marketing on Instagram

Instagram is effective for marketing your virtual practice if you’re willing to create content and post regularly. It could be a solid way to get a constant flow of patients for your Virtual Private Practice.

You’ll also need to engage with your followers for it to be a marketing tool, which means soliciting comments and then replying to them.

The best way I have found to gain more of the right followers is to comment on other accounts. People will check out your account and hopefully “follow” you if you have something positive and relevant to contribute.

You want to ensure that the people following you are potential clients. Otherwise, you’ll spend a lot of time replying to people (potential clients/patients) who may never buy something from you.

#2. Networking with other IG-ers

I didn’t anticipate learning so much from random strangers. There are genuinely interesting accounts out there. Chatting with these individuals is a great way to fast-track your Instagram networking.

You can send a PM to the right person, and you’ll get a reply. You can post a comment and you’ll get a meaningful reply.

But networking is quite time intensive. And, unlike Instagram marketing, networking is not something you can delegate to others.

IG is a great place to connect with non-physicians. Your Instagram marketing strategy could be to tap into someone else’s followers and offer them clinical care.

The Value of Instagram Followers

I’m SM-challenged. As in, I don’t get social media for personal reasons. I have even tried to post some personal stuff and it’s like being caught with my pants down in the shitter.

Still, having a solid following on Instagram for the right reasons is valuable. If you’re putting out interesting content and educating people, then your followers are actually learning from you – I love that.

Your IG followers will do free word-of-mouth marketing for you. If you ask them to share your content, or, even better, if you create share-worthy content, you’ll grow fast.

Your IG followers should do one of two things for you: 1. spread your content, or 2. buy from you. This sounds self-serving but hopefully, you’re selling the kind of shit which is adding value to the world and not cat-shaped bottle openers.

Time Spent (Wasted) on Instagram

I love spending time recording my podcasts and writing these blog posts. I don’t enjoy my time on Instagram because it feels unnatural.

Marketing your virtual practice should be a task of love, not something you dread. That’s where I find myself with Instagram.

I create my content on Canva. It’s a wonderful platform and I have learned a lot about color composition and adding life to a post (I didn’t say I succeeded). Once I create the content, I download it and post it. Next, I come up with a clever thing to write under the IG post.

The worst part is that I check my IG on my phone to see who liked my post and what comments they left. I have no idea why this feels strange to me.

I guess I don’t feel that I’m creating any value. Maybe I might be better off on Twitter. I certainly enjoy my presence on LinkedIn more than being on IG.

Good IG Content

The content I enjoy on IG is when I get to watch the occasional video from the content creator. I like listening (briefly) to their thought process.

I also like peaceful posts which create good summaries of certain topics.

“5 foods to stop you from depleting your Magnesium”.

“Price breakdown for each Telemedicine software company”.

I also like it when an Instagrammer answers questions in someone else’s thread. That’s how I find the people I like to follow. I enjoy their replies, their thought process, and I go and check out their content.

Instagram Promotion

Like my Google Ad campaign, my IG campaign didn’t do well. This is likely because I didn’t run a good campaign. This takes skill, as I’m learning.

I spent only $200 on this entire campaign, which was very easy to set up. You basically promote one of your most recent IG posts.

I have learned that the best way to make your campaigns efficient is to have a very specific goal in mind. And to run the campaign long enough to determine its value.

High Traffic of Content

Ultimately, I have decided to delete both of my IG accounts. It’s been about a week since I deleted the accounts and the app from my phone.

No complaints so far. I didn’t gain much from browsing through different accounts and trying to decipher what they were saying with their posts.

With the COVID stuff and the recent race-related content, this was no longer a place that seemed enjoyable or productive. It felt more like a field of landmines that I needed to navigate.

I now have only 3 mediums of communication left: my blog, podcast, and LinkedIn profile. This is plenty for me. I have so much more to learn on each of these platforms.

Size of Your Instagram Following

If your goal is to sell digital content to your followers, you’d benefit from several thousand followers. Perhaps somewhere in the 4,000-5,000 range.

If you’re hoping to find some patients based on your particular clinical expertise, a few hundred patients would be more than enough.

I don’t see much value in having hundreds of thousands of followers – not if you’re a clinician (PA/NP, MD/DO). It’s far too much work finding that many followers.

A smaller following is more manageable and if they are the right kind of followers, they are more likely to purchase your products or services. Assuming your products and services are fairly priced ($250-500/each), your income should be substantial.

Coming up with Content

The best way to create content is to share what you’re doing with your current clients. If you get an email question or doing consulting work or dealing with a patient, share what you learned in a post.

Don’t just post what is catchy or has viral potential – that often backfires. Focus on your message and keep repeating it. This weeds out the followers you don’t want.

I use Canva to create my posts. They may not be the best posts but they helped me find the sort of clients I wanted. Simpler posts, which are visually appealing, are more than enough.

Living on Social Media

My personal experience with social media, and perhaps virtual presence in general, has been a mixed bag. I love my blog and podcast but am not attracted to FB or IG.

Even YouTube doesn’t work quite as well for me as do my other mediums. And that’s what all this is, an art. And your medium is a reflection of your work.

Some creators engage beautifully with their IG audience. At the same time, others do it through their podcasts.

If you’re going to spend a considerable amount of time in the public eye, make sure to be on a platform on which you feel safe and not overly exposed. Especially as a physician trying to market themselves.

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