If Your Practice is On Instagram, Here Are Some Updates to Heed

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In numerous posts in the past we’ve detailed how your practice can use social media to allow your patients and potential patients to see a more personal side of your practice. Whether it’s pictures of a staff member’s new cat, a video tour of your remodeled offices, a caption contest for a silly photo someone in your office took, or notice of an awesome special you’re offering — there’s really no limit to what you can place on these platforms.

Just about all of our practices have their own Facebook for Business page, and we manage many of them, designing their practice page and providing ongoing, regular content. Not as many practices are on Instagram, but the numbers are still sizable. Because Instagram seems to be easier for practices to come up with posts (since it is photo based), many practices handle these posts themselves.

With that in mind, let’s go through a few Instagram updates from the past few months and how they may impact how your practice uses Instagram, hopefully for the better!

Desktop creation

Instagram was originally developed as a platform for people to take photos and instantly put them up. There wasn’t much involved other than the photo, so everything could be done from the user’s phone or tablet. But as things have progressed, especially after Facebook purchased Instagram, people have wanted to use more editing and graphics functions to create posts. For instance, practices need editing ability to create what are basically ads for specials they post.

Problem was, Instagram required creating and scheduling content to come from mobile sources. This isn’t easy, especially for things such as handling text placement onto photos and other standard functions necessary for creating ads.

Recently, Instagram changed its policy. Now Instagram is supported in Facebook’s Creator Studio, so practices can create, upload, and schedule their content on their desktop. This makes designing posts for upcoming monthly specials or events much easier. You can even pull images and videos from your existing library or upload new ones.

Get ready for “Likes” to be unliked

Although many users get instant gratification from social media when their posts receive “likes,” they need to get over it. This is the hit of endorphins that makes social media so addictive for hundreds of millions of people. Instagram is currently testing removing the public “like” counter on users’ posts. While the owner of the post will still be able to see how many likes the post accrued and who left them, they won’t be out there for everyone to see. All that an account’s followers would see would be any comments that were posted. It’s not testing in the U.S., but in seven countries, including Japan and Canada.

Facebook is also experimenting with this. The idea is to stop interest being garnered from the number of likes a post has rather than the actual content of the post. It is thought that likes have been fueling the rapid dissemination of fake news stories and other bogus material, such as conspiracy theories.

Since people will click a little heart much more than post a comment, if this eventually becomes policy, your social proof of your practice’s Instagram posts will take a nosedive. So, it will be more important to try and garner comments. Think of posts that generate discussions, rather than simple mindless views and likes.

Horizontal orientation

Everyone knows about Instagram and its vertical orientation for videos. While this is easy to shoot when holding a phone, it’s not the best for showing a whole lot, such as in an office tour video. Plus, videos on Instagram are limited to one minute.

Instagram and IGTV (which allows longer videos) now allow you to upload videos (and photos) in landscape mode. This may not seem like a big deal, but most video content really works better in landscape mode. So, when you’re making that next video office tour or demonstration of a new piece of equipment, you can lay that phone sideways and really show your stuff.

Ads on Explore section

The Explore section on Instagram is the way that users see posts from accounts that they don’t yet follow. The Instagram algorithm bases what it pulls and shows on any individual Instragram user’s Explore page from their past likes and interests. Every Explore page is different.

And now they can have ads. When someone is scrolling through the feed generated by Instagram, they can see ads in this section, just as they do in their normal feed.

Whether this is something that could work for your practice or not could vary, but it’s worth looking into. It could be a way for new patients to find your practice.

As is true with Facebook, Instagram is always changing. These changes could directly affect your practice’s use of the social media mainstay. We’ll continue to keep you abreast of new changes as they happen, if they’re relevant for the medical Instagram world.

As usual, if you have any questions about any of these items, or anything with the digital marketing world, please contact your MyAdvice representative, or fill out a contact form or call us direct.

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