What is the most frustrating thing about managing social media for your fertility center? If I ask this question to enough people, sure enough, this answer will be fairly common: there are too many platforms. How do we participate in all of them?
Ready for the good news? You don't. I'll make this much simpler for you. All we need to do is reverse-engineer the attention of the patient. What media do IVF patients spend the most time with, and how does it relate to their struggle with infertility?
When we frame the question in this way, we easily see that Instagram is one of the most important social media platforms for fertility centers to participate in.
- IVF patients are on Instagram. 55% of women ages 18 to 29 and 28% of women ages 30 to 49 are active on Instagram.
- Instagram is a place for people to connect with others about their struggle with infertility. The #infertility and #ttc (trying to conceive) hashtags account for over 110,000 and 329,000 posts, respectively.
Because of the structure of Instagram, it can be trickier than Facebook to interact with your community due to HIPAA regulations. I recommend against following patients back on Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. There's no law against it, but it could be argued as disclosure of a patient-physician relationship.
So how do you engage your community on Instagram if HIPAA prevents you from participating in a more fluid and natural interaction? Here are some things you can do.
- Include it in your social media policy. Every healthcare practice needs a social media policy. You can e-mail me if you would like me to send you a free template, but you should always have your practice attorney customize it to your needs. Simply explain in plain English, that your practice will not follow back people that follow you on your Instagram account. While you would love to, your first priority is patient privacy and adhering to HIPAA regulations.
- Post the link to your fertility clinic's social media policy here in your Instagram profile (image above).
- Let people find you. Post photos of your team: the practice picnic, a group hug of the nurses, an RE's birthday, are all appropriate for Instagram. Once you start posting original content, that offers something for people to comment on.
- Link your Instagram account to your Facecbook page and website. Give people a reason to follow. "See how we bond as a team".
- Use hashtags. There are so many hashtags relevant to infertility that it merits its own post. Start with #ttc and #infertility and you will find their derivatives.
- Respond to comments. Once people comment on your photo, you can respond. I suggest referring to them by their Instagram username, rather than their name. Also, just be careful not to add any new information to the conversation. A heartfelt thank you will do.
- Post video responses. In my opinion, I see this as the greatest opportunity for fertility centers on Instagram. When people give you love through comments on your posts (the Instagram equivalent to reviews), you can post a fifteen second video thanking them, telling them how wonderful it made you feel. Don't tag their username in the post, rather reply to one of their comments on your posts to notify them that you posted a video reply for them.
Do you use Instagram for your practice? What have you found?