From the beginning, Instagram was destined to be part of every healthcare organization’s digital strategy. In fact, it had 1 million users just two months after its launch and kept growing ever since. Instagram has continually made improvements by adding features and new photo effects, resulting in more than 89.4 million Americans who log into it at least once a month. According to eMarketer, the platform will add 26.9 million users over the next four years. Instagram usage is particularly strong among millennials, making it an excellent way to engage the group.
What does this mean for your digital strategy? If you’re not currently using Instagram, it’s time to start. TrackMaven, recently published “The Fortune 500 Instagram Report.” The report, which examined a year’s worth of the Fortune 500’s use of the platform (May 2015 to May 2016), which included 41,071 posts. Here’s what we might learn from the biggest brands on Instagram:
Instagram engages consumers
On Instagram, 98.9 percent of interactions with Fortune 500 brands come in the form of likes or “double-taps.” Comments account for only 1.1 percent of interactions with Fortune 500 brands on Instagram, indicating it’s an engagement tool, not a reactive, community platform.
Lesson: Post photos and other content that have an element of participation, such as pre-designed photos or contests. For example, a weight-loss challenge could be centered around a weekly “selfie” photo contest. Ask contestants to take a picture of themselves exercising and submit the photo with a @mention of the clinic or hospital. Each week, the winner(s) get a branded prize.
Commitment pays off
Starbucks, Southwest Airlines, and AutoNation were the first Fortune 500 brands to adopt Instagram. Starbucks has the second highest Instagram follower count and highest Instagram engagement ratio among the Fortune 500.
Lesson: Try not to post more than seven posts per week on Instagram. There is an unspoken rule that you should not post multiple times per day on Instagram. Posting twice in a day is not forbidden, but one post a day seems to be the norm.
Timing is everything
If you want to avoid competing with the Fortune 500, post on Instagram Saturday – Monday. The report also found that 88% of brands post between nine a.m. and nine p.m. Eastern time. The least popular times were between midnight and eight a.m., with only 1% of companies posting between those hours. Thursday and Friday are the most popular days for Fortune 500 to post, with 17.1 percent of the week’s total posts occur each day.
Lesson: Posting on the most active days may result in lower engagement. Sunday has an Instagram engagement rate of 1.01, just about Monday’s engagement rate of 0.99 and Saturday’s rate of .992. However, you need to understand when your audience is active on Instagram to publish content when it’s most likely to be seen.
While hashtags originated on Twitter, Instagram hashtags will help organize and categorize your images and video content. The hashtags will help consumers find your content, and when someone shares it on Facebook, the Instagram hashtag is published along with it. For the Fortune 500, Instagram posts that include hashtags saw a .43 percent boost in engagement over those without one.
Lesson: Use unique hashtags as a tool for improving the user experience, building communities, increasing brand recognition, and extending message reach.
Photos and videos are two of the easiest ways to efficiently and quickly convey your messages. Plus, it has the added benefit of being able to humanize healthcare and make an emotional connection with your Instagram audience. Are you using Instagram as part of your digital strategy?