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Instagram, with its emphasis on selfies and filtered photographs, seems like the last place a hospice organization needs to put its marketing efforts. Or is it? In our increasingly visual society, an Instagram account can have a positive impact on your business's overall branding strategy. So, how can a hospice organization--a service often associated with older, seemingly less tech savvy clients--leverage Instagram? Below is Carely's take on the subject.

Generational Instagram Use

While Facebook remains the most popular social media site among older adults, Instagram is being used by 18% of 50-64 year-olds, according to the Pew Research Center's 2016 Social Media Update. That's a 7% increase from Pew's social media data from 2015. Also from the 2016 study: more than a quarter of 30-49 year-olds are active Instagram users (up from 28% in 2015). This data seems to indicate that older generations are incorporating Instagram into their social media activity.

Ideally, hospice patients are the ones making decisions about their care, but often family members and caregivers become an integral part of the decision-making process. These individuals can come from all life stages, so it's important to engage with decision-makers through all social media channels--including Instagram. With this in mind, below are several benefits Instagram can provide to your hospice organization's online marketing efforts:

Engaging with Your Audience

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While hospice can have negative connotations, it's ultimately a positive, much-needed service. Instagram provides a great opportunity to highlight the happier aspects of hospice care while promoting your organization's services. We love Business New Daily's advice to use Instagram to "show, don't tell." Consider the various ways you can show your consumers what your hospice organization represents by using engaging, high-quality images.

The use of strategic hashtags can also help connect you with clients and build your Instagram following. Just like Twitter and Facebook, "using the right hashtags helps put your content in front of people searching for keywords and phrases associated with your brand or business" (Social Media Examiner).

PaxVilla Hospice uses strategic hashtags in all their posts in order to target two very specific groups of Instagram users: people interested in hospice (and, potentially, hospice services) and people searching for geographic-specific products/services.

Reflecting Your Brand's Visual Identity

What kinds of colors, logos, fonts, and images do you want your clients to associate with your hospice organization? Whatever your answer, Instagram can help unify your brand's visual identity.

Ohio's Hospice of Dayton does a great job streamlining their visual identity on their Instagram. Most of their posts incorporate the blue found in their company logo. This helps create a consistent brand image that clients can find across all digital platforms. Additionally, Hospice of Dayton uses high-quality, professional images in all their posts which only serves to enhance the credibility of their organization.

 

Team-Building

In addition to engaging with clients, Instagram can also be used to build a sense of community among your employees. Consider this: 59% of 18-29 year-olds use Instagram. If you have Millenials working for your organization, then it's likely that they're active Instagram users. By using this app, you provide your employees with the opportunity to engage with your brand and one another in a positive way. Because your corporate culture will be scrutinized by current and potential clients, this kind of team-driven engagement is important in enhancing your overall branding strategy.

Crossroads Home Health successfully uses Instagram to foster an online community for their staff. Their posts highlights various team-building events both in and outside the office. Staff members are tagged in posts when applicable, and Crossroads reposts photos shared by team members which affirms the work

Connecting With Like-Minded Organizations

A good social media strategy always includes some networking. In addition to connecting with your clients, hashtags can also help you discover organizations providing similar services to yours. Your networking plan should include liking and commenting on other's content. Once you've mastered this step, you can move onto other networking strategies, like developing brand partnerships and working with hospice influencers to increase your brand awareness and engagement.

Because hospice is such a personal service, word of mouth is an important marketing tool at your organization's disposal. Putting some thoughtful intention into your networking efforts, particularly as they pertain to Instagram, serves to enhance your organization's credibility.

Ultimately, your Instagram strategy will depend on the needs of your audience and your overall brand strategy. Ask yourself: What kinds of  information will be most helpful to my audience, and how can I use Instagram to best communicate this information?

We invite you to leave your thoughts on Instagram as a hospice branding tool.

Additional resources:

  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/how-to-create-an-instagram-style-for-your-business/ 
  • http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/build-an-engaged-instagram-following/