Social Media Best Practices: Instagram

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Social Media Best Practices: Instagram
September 3, 2021
RxLocal Team

With over 1 billion monthly active users across the globe, Instagram is a powerhouse for sharing photos, marketing businesses, and growing your pharmacy both on and offline. In the United States, Instagram is used by 40% of adults — over 130 million people —

on a regular basis, making it the third most-used social media platform in the country, right after YouTube and Facebook. Instagram users look to the platform to get news, entertainment, information, and even find new pharmacies to do business with.

This is no surprise, considering that 81% of Instagram users visit the app to find new products and services. Even more importantly, though, 2 in 3 use Instagram to build connections with the businesses of their choosing. Given its ability to reach and connect with such a large audience, Instagram is an important platform that your pharmacy should be taking advantage of.

Before you get started, though, it is necessary to brush up on the basics of Instagram — including its audience, features, and best-received content — to make the most of it. To help you get started, consult our list of Instagram best practices and try them out in your own social media strategy. And, for guidance on the other top platforms (like YouTube, Facebook, Pinterest, and LinkedIn), consult our blog: then get ready to get posting.

Who Uses Instagram?

Instagram is among the most versatile social media apps, used by people of all kinds to share content. However, Instagram’s user base can be broken down into a few core categories: gender, age, location, education, and income. According to the Pew Research Center, the following groups use Instagram the most:

  • Women (44% are active users)
  • Young adults between 18-29 (71% active users)
  • People living in urban areas (45% active users)
  • College-educated people (49% active users)
  • People who make at least $75K (47% active users)

Of these categories, Instagram’s most important demographic is age. Unlike other top platforms, which tend to target middle-aged and older adults, Instagram attracts those under the age of 30. A younger user base offers a unique opportunity for pharmacies to expand who they market to and how they do it.

Many pharmacies focus their attention on older adults — thinking that is where the demand for services lies — but younger patients have the potential to create long-term connections and sustainable growth. Younger patients can not only bring in revenue from filling prescriptions but also from clinical services, like routine tests and immunizations. With this in mind, it is important to target young adults in your pharmacy’s marketing approach; and Instagram is the best way to do it.

For a closer look at Instagram’s demographics, as well as who uses the other top platforms, read our blog on What Social Media Apps You Should Be Using.

What to Post on Instagram

While Instagram is seen primarily as a photo-sharing app, it can be used to post a wide range of content: from clips to videos to updates and more. No matter the content, though, Instagram is a visual-based platform. Thus, it is important to engage your audience with high-quality photos, videos, and graphics. When you brainstorm content and consider how to get your patients’ attention, keep these ideas in mind:

  • Statistics and infographics — Instagram is the perfect platform to share relevant health information in an easily accessible way. Statistics and infographics break down complex data into tidbits that are easily interpreted and understood by your patients. If you want to bring awareness to a certain condition, share findings from a new study, or show specific numbers that illustrate a problem your patients are facing, use these tools to your advantage. Your patients will appreciate having access to the latest information.
  • Important updates — A second way that you can keep your patients informed is by sharing updates in a timely manner, whether they pertain to your pharmacy or to the world of healthcare as a whole. If you plan to make changes in your store, host an event, or share a special announcement, let Instagram be the platform you use to tell patients. Outside of your own practice, if you want to make your patients aware of new health guidelines or share information from trusted sources, keep the updates coming on your Instagram feed. As a trusted provider, your patients trust you to give them the most up-to-date news, as well.
  • Encouraging messages — Don’t just use your platform to inform, but also to inspire. Help keep your patients happy and healthy by posting encouraging messages, quotes, and motivational content to your page — especially at the start of the week, when everyone needs a bit of a boost. Posting positive messages will also help patients see your pharmacy as a resource for their mental health in addition to their physical health.
  • Patient spotlights — Instagram is one of the best apps for creating and maintaining connections, especially with your patients. To show the value of the connections you make, consider posting patient spotlights on a weekly or biweekly basis. In your posts, include a photo of the patient, share a bit of information about them, and express what you appreciate about them. Posts like these can create a sense of community in your pharmacy and strengthen the relationships you make in and out of your practice.
  • Sharing your story — Show off your photo-sharing and storytelling skills by documenting the history of your pharmacy on Instagram. If your pharmacy has a rich history, consider showing the evolution of how you got to where you are now: think “then and now” and “before and after” photos. Even if you have a newer facility or just recently opened your pharmacy, brainstorm ways to show how you have grown since starting. Above all else, use these posts to prove that your pharmacy’s mission remains the same, no matter how much time has passed.

To find a complete list of ideas for posting on Instagram, read our full guide.

When to Post on Instagram

If you want your posts to generate traction, it is important to post at a time when your patients are online. According to Hootsuite, a popular social media management platform, the best times to post on Instagram are weekdays between 8 AM-12 PM or 4-5 PM. However, the single most popular time to post is on Wednesdays at 11 AM. When you create your next post, try sharing it at this time and monitor how your engagement rates are affected.

It is important to note, though, that while one posting time may work for one business, it may not work for yours. As you become more comfortable with Instagram, experiment with different posting times and find out when your patients are most active.

In addition to when you post, you should be mindful of how often you post. Hootsuite recommends posting between 2-3 times per week but never more than once a day. Posting every few days will keep your content relevant and reachable for your audience without overwhelming them with information.

Other Features to Try

Aside from using the standard posting feature, you can try out a number of other features to engage your patients. Instagram is one of the most innovative apps in terms of introducing new features, so look to try out as many as you can — then find the ones that fit your pharmacy best. Here are a few to be on the lookout for:

  • Interactive stories — Like many other platforms, Instagram features its own Stories, which are short photo or video clips that remain on the feed for 24 hours before disappearing. However, Instagram’s Stories are innovative because they give followers the ability to interact with posted content: by answering questions, responding to polls, and participating in quizzes via Stories. On your account, use this feature to get real and valuable feedback from your patients, or simply to make your content more fun.
  • Live videos — Instagram’s Live Videos provide an excellent way for you to interact with your audience in real-time. Use Live Videos to share announcements, host Q&A sessions, or even collaborate with other pharmacy professionals in your area. Patients can also comment on Live Videos in real-time, helping to open up discussion and start a dialogue.
  • Reels/IGTV — Instagram Reels and IGTV are Instagram’s two features specifically designed for sharing video content. Reels allow users to record short clips (15-30 seconds), which are perfect for sharing a quick message. IGTV, on the other hand, allows users to post long-form content (operating similarly to YouTube). If you are already using Instagram for photo-sharing and want to expand into the world of video content, consider trying out either Reels or IGTV.

Instantly Connect, Gradually Build

As the third most popular social media platform in the country, Instagram offers a number of ways for content creators (pharmacists included) to share their stories and build their brands. For you and your pharmacy, Instagram provides an opportunity to reach patients of all kinds and build connections that can take your pharmacy far.

When you make your next social media move, take Instagram for a test drive and see the benefits for yourself.

Looking for even more ways to grow your social media presence across multiple platforms? Discover RxLocal’s Social Media Assistant and find out how you can watch your numbers grow and your pharmacy succeed.