If you’ve been keeping up on social media for your veterinary hospital, you’ve undoubtedly heard of Instagram. What is it and how can you utilize it to market your veterinary practice? I have some FAQs about the platform answered for you to help you to get ‘gramming!
1) What is Instagram?
Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion dollars (USD) in 2012, changing it from a trendy iOS app to a social media staple.
Instagram is a mobile-based social media network for sharing photos and 15-second videos. Though you can see profiles from a desktop or laptop, Instagram is really meant to be used as an app on your phone or tablet.
2) Why should a veterinary hospital choose Instagram over other social media sites?
I always recommend surveying your veterinary clients to see where they spend time online. Right now, a little over a third of my veterinary clients use Instagram. When I see that level of popularity, I know it’s time to jump in!
That stat from my practice isn’t unique, either. As of March 2015, an estimated 27.5% of the US population uses Instagram.
The best social media sites for your practice are the ones that the majority of your clients use frequently, but there’s more to Instagram than it’s popularity.
Instagram is a great fit for veterinary hospitals because it’s photo and video-based posts allow us to:
- Show off our patients
- Highlight veterinary staff
- Educate our clients about pet health
Since it’s so simple to use on-the-go, it’s even a great fit for mobile veterinarians to show the “behind the scenes” action of their work day.
3) Facebook has business pages. Does Instagram have business accounts?
As of the time that I’m writing this (August 2015), there are not business accounts for Instagram. They’ve been adding advertising features for major brands – think Lexus and CoverGirl- so I bet business accounts are coming in the near future.
For now, though, just start a normal account that is branded to your veterinary business. My hospital’s Instagram can be found under the handle @QVVets.
4) How often should a veterinary hospital post on Instagram?
I have used Instagram personally for nearly 5 years. One quirky thing about Instagram is that there is an unspoken rule that you shouldn’t post too frequently. Instagram is for your BEST photos, not for sharing an entire album.
5) Can I schedule Instagram posts like I can schedule Facebook posts and tweets?
Not really, but you can queue up posts to be shared later using an app like Latergramme. The app will notify your smartphone when it’s time to share, but you’ll have to manually post your image or video from the app to Instagram at that time. It won’t post automatically for you, like Facebook or Twitter can.
Does your veterinary practice use Instagram? Comment below with a link to your profile! I’d love to see what you’re sharing.