It’s no surprise that Instagram is among the fastest growing and most popular social media networks used today. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words” – but in reality, the truth is much simpler than that. Visual content is more appealing to the masses because it evokes so many different feelings and emotions, and tells a story so much more quickly than it takes to read 1001 words. And these days, no one has the time to read 1001 words.
Healthcare marketers have been hesitant to embrace Instagram for a number of reasons. Primarily, there is a big misperception that Instagram is only really used by millennials. Secondarily, there are always concerns from healthcare marketers regarding the use of any social media platform for products within the pharmaceutical space due to FDA compliance issues. However, these concerns may be unwarranted- as Instagram is an invaluable social media platform that should not be overlooked when assessing any brands’ social media strategy – particularly for unbranded disease awareness campaigns in which Instagram can play a critical role in driving organic impressions.
For that very reason, we’ve compiled 7 key facts about Instagram that every healthcare marketer should know:
1. There are more than 300 million users on Instagram posting an average of 70 million photos per day (as of December 2014)
It goes without saying that 300 million users represents a massive network of people who are actively engaging on Instagram on a daily basis – many of whom post about health-related topics. More importantly, similar to the growth of Facebook and Twitter, while millenials represent the majority of early-adopters on Instagram, users over 35 consist of over 10% of all Instagram users – and their presence is growing.
2. Everyday, Instagrammers rack-up over 2.5 billion likes
As if it wasn’t impressive enough that users are posting over 70 million photos per day, this statistic clearly demonstrates that Instagrammers are extremely active and interested in viewing/liking other user-generated content – a large majority of which is presented by various brands (not just “friends”). For healthcare marketers, this is extremely important, as it demonstrates Instagram user’s high level of interest in viewing/liking external content, increasing the likelihood that compelling content may be organically viewed and “liked.”
3. Instagram offers verified badges for celebrities, athletes and brands, making it easier for users to connect with authentic accounts
Establishing a verified account is extremely important to healthcare marketers and pharma organizations, as it enables the clear identification of their “official” presence. When it comes to social media and health, it’s of critical importance for people to easily identify credible sources of health information. In turn, healthcare marketers can ensure that their brands are represented as they should be – validated accounts that are trusted and highly valued.
4. Recently, Instagram enhanced the “explore page” and improved the “search” function making it effortless for Instagram users to discover new content based on their interests (as of June 2015)
With 70 million photos posted to Instagram every day, breaking through the clutter may seem daunting – but with Instagram’s reimagined “explore” page and improved “search,” image discovery is now immediate and effortless. With minimal effort, Instagram users can “explore” photos and accounts collated for them based on their varied interests, increasing the likelihood that users will be exposed to new content. The “explore” and enhanced “search” functions are beautifully simple ways for users to identify content organically that peaks their interest, and truly helps healthcare brands reach the right people who are actively seeking similar content.
5. Ad capabilities on Instagram are finally expanding (as of August 2015)
Over the past few years, Instagram has been very slow and hesitant to allow marketers to flood the platform with sponsored ads. However, the opportunities are growing, as demonstrated by some recent updates to how brands can now leverage the platform. Instagram is now opening up it’s platform with the Ads Application Programming Interface (API) Partner program, enabling: select companies’ clients to be able to schedule and publish content to Instagram, users to monitor audiences, and companies to share access to Instagram accounts across teams. For those healthcare marketers looking to establish a presence on Instagram, the opportunities are ever growing to truly optimize the content shared, and potentially consider future sponsored ads.
6. There are many healthcare organizations and advocacy groups already dominating on Instagram
Among the most trusted healthcare/pharmaceutical companies on Instagram, our top-picks include: The Cleveland Clinic, AstraZeneca Careers, Genentech, Novartis, Boehringer Ingelheim, Novo Nordisk, and Johnson’s Baby. These companies represent a small but impressive sampling of the best healthcare organizations that are reaching thousands of people daily to share important health-related information. While Instagram use by specific pharma brands is still in its infancy, a great example of an OTC brand that has established an unprecedented Instagram presence is Flonase.
7. Last, but certainly not least, Instagram allows account holders to delete comments posted to their photos
Specifically, this feature addresses initial concerns from healthcare marketers regarding how Instagram can be leveraged in a safe and compliant way, in accordance with FDA regulations.
For more information on Instagram, and to see some great case studies as to how top consumer brands have been able to optimize Instagram to meet their marketing and business objectives, check out the Instagram Business blog: (http://blog.business.instagram.com).
Sources: Instagram Blog (http://instagram.com/press); Social Media Times (http://bit.ly/1DpI0WE)