5 cool ways your hospital can use Instagram

Why Instagram isn’t just for foodies or hipsters.

I don’t need to explain the “awesomeness” that is Instagram, the photo app that essentially blew up overnight and now boasts over 100 million users. The app that first made its journey into the hands of the social media enthusiasts and the artsy photographer wannabes has quickly caught the attention of big brands. In fact, 54 percent of the world’s top brands are now active on Instagram according to a study by Simply Measured.

So what does this have to do with health? As a creative mobile photo app, the misconception is that unless you’re a brand with inspiring products or a visually appealing story to tell, then Instagram isn’t for you. Perhaps you’re a hospital marketer wondering what in the world you could take photos of that people would actually want to see. Maybe you’re a health or nutrition brand wondering how being active on Instagram will actually help you affect one’s health behavior change or grow customers.

If you’re struggling with telling your brand’s story, starting with something as simple as a photo may be exactly what you need to push your limits. Sure, your brand’s visual component may not be staring you in the face like it does for brands like Starbucks or Victoria’s Secret, but I challenge you to think outside the box, put your creative photo lense on and try using the app to intrigue and inspire customers.

Here are 5 ways your hospital or health brand can use Instagram to tell your story:

  1. Take photos of your staff or brand ambassadors: In the age of social media, your followers want to see authentic pictures of your people. Build trust and loyalty by sharing photos of your staff at work, your fans participating in events or people using your product or receiving a service. Arnold Palmer Hospital is one example of a hospital brand showing off their fun loving staff hard at work. As a children’s hospital they do a good job of sharing their child friendly staff and environment.
  2. Share a sneak peek photo: Make your followers feel special by rewarding them with a first look at something few have seen yet. This could include a new product, a future ad, a new building or an event.
  3. Behind the scenes shots: When I think behind the scenes, Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta is the first brand that comes to mind. The hospital decided to raise awareness for living donor transplants by providing minute-by-minute updates on their social media networks, including photos on Instagram. As a follower, I felt like I was given a once in a lifetime opportunity to be a partof something that most people never have the opportunity to, unless they go to medical school.
  4. Photos that embody the lifestyle your brand represents: If you’re a health or healthy lifestyle brand, it’s time for you to start sharing motivational photos and health tips that educate or inspire your followers to live a healthy lifestyle. With 5,009 photos the Institute for Integrative Nutrition is definitely a nutrition and education brand to check out for ideas.
  5. Comical or creative displays of a product or service: Chobani is one nutrition food brand doing just this. From sharing funny pictures of the dog staring at the yogurt drooling, to the yogurt’s travels to the pool or the city, the successful food brand has made its product cool and fun. They’ve turned being healthy into an adventure, an adventure that begins with Chobani.

Instagram brings your brand to life for fans and enables followers to take part in and share your content. In this digital age of quick snippets of content and short attention spans, sharing images increases the chances that followers will share your content (that is, so long as it’s meaningful). Before sharing a photo, ask yourself: does this photo inspire and excite me? Would I share this with my friends or be motivated to “like” it? If not, put your creative photo lens back on and try again.

How can your hospital, health or healthy lifestyle brand leverage Instagram? What other tips would you add to the list?

RELATED: Learn why transforming your health care communication is more critical now than ever before. Attend the only one-day summit specifically for health care communicators.

This article originally appeared here.

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