The author of this article, Dana Corriel, MD, also teaches the course featured in our SoMeDocs Courses section, called “Dr. Corriel Teaches Instagram on the GO”.
Social media can be a very powerful tool for doctors looking to increase their online presence.
More and more doctors are using social media on a daily basis to showcase their practices, medical expertise, and glimpses of their personal lives outside of work.
Ready to take the plunge and become a doctor on social media?
Here are some tips for getting started on Instagram.
1. Creating Your Online Identity and Why Instagram
Instagram is an extremely popular social media platform with one billion active monthly users. While Instagram initially started off as a platform for sharing pictures, it has evolved into a service that allows you to engage and connect with your targeted audience. You can use it to authentically showcase your vision and purpose, whether it’s content made in your medical office, or in your free time at home.
The very first step in creating an Instagram account is establishing your social media identity and what you are trying to promote. You want to come up with a username (your ‘handle, or the name that comes after the ‘@’ sign and is used to identify YOUR account) that accurately reflects who you are while being memorable.
You want that username to stick with your audience, so something simple and catchy is what you’re striving for. This may sound easy, but you really want to sit down and put some thought into your username. We’ve talked about this a lot in the private physician-only FB group, and you can find it by searching for the term ‘physician brand’.
While it is possible to change your username at a later time, it might not be the best thing to do since you will be re-branding yourself (that’s how it’s called when you’re using SoMe lingo) and it might confuse some of your followers.
You want to come up with a username (your 'handle, or the name that comes after the '@' sign and is used to identify YOUR account) that accurately reflects who you are while being memorable. #MEDed Click To Tweet
2. Creating an Instagram Account
After you’ve established your social media identity, you’re ready to dive into the technical stuff and finally make your Instagram account.
You have the option to create an account online at www.Instagram.com or on your mobile device. To install Instagram on your mobile device, go to either the Apple App Store or Google Play Store and search for “Instagram”.
You can create an account either by logging in through Facebook or through your mobile number/ email address. If you choose to create an account through the latter option, you’ll have the option to link your Facebook account at a later time in the settings.
Simply fill out the required fields and you’re good to go! If you sign up using your mobile number, you will be sent a confirmation code to finish the signup process. If you sign up using your email address, you’ll have to confirm and verify your email address after creating an account. Make sure you verify either your mobile number and email address to ensure you’re able to access all of Instagram’s features.
When you click into ‘edit profile’, you can change the specifics of the blurb of your account.
Here’s what pops up when you click ‘edit profile’.
Note that you can include a single website url link. You can choose to either have it general, linked back to your website, or to a specific blog post. so for example, if I just wrote a piece that I want to get traction on, I’ll link that specific one, and then post a photo from the article in my account itself, to get excitement going
(when you see ‘link in profile’ used, that’s what it means.)
3. Switch From a Personal Account to a Business Account
After creating your Instagram account, you’re going to want to switch it over from a “personal” account to a “business” account. Switching to a business account will give you access to extra Instagram features such as the option to add multiple forms of contact information, the ability to use Instagram ads, and access to your account analytics.
You can convert your personal account into a business account by going to your account settings and clicking on “switch to business account”. This will allow you the ability to view insights on how your work is doing. Kind of like a work evaluation, with straight numbers. Completely objective, too! Or a study paper. The results are calculated out for you!
(imagine if we made medicine this easy?!)
You will then be asked for additional contact information, what type of business you are, and if you would like to link your business profile to a Facebook Page.
4. Update Your Profile
Now you’re ready to add your personal touch to your profile by adding a profile picture and a short blurb about yourself.
Add a clear and recognizable profile picture so people can easily identify you. The ideal size for your profile picture is going to be an image that is 400 x 400 pixels.
For your bio, you’re going to want to keep it short and sweet since there is a 150 character limit. Get right to the point of who you are and why you’re on Instagram. You can also add hashtags in your bio to help people easily find you in their search results.
Don’t forget to utilize the URL feature in your bio! Instagram only allows for one link to be used so make it count. You can use it to direct people to your website, or more specific things such as your latest blog post, YouTube video, or anything important that you may want to feature. You can also utilize third-party apps such as Linktree and Milkshake to give you a landing page with multiple links you can direct your followers to.
For your bio, you’re going to want to keep it short and sweet since there is a 150 character limit. Get right to the point of who you are and why you’re on Instagram. #medtwitter #somedocs Click To Tweet
5. Set up Two – Factor Authentication
You’re going to want to keep your new Instagram account secure, so it is essential to set up two-factor authentication. This is an extra security measure that helps your account from falling into the wrong hands. You can turn this feature on in your settings, under “security”.
Every time you log in with an unrecognized device, you will be required to confirm your identity either through a confirmation code sent to your mobile device or through a security authenticator application of your choice.
Congratulations on your new Instagram account! Stay tuned for more tips and tricks on how to maximize your online presence as a doctor on social media.
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