It’s only eight years old, but the explosive growth of Instagram in that time—and even in the last 18 months—is astonishing. Claiming now more than 1 billion monthly active users, and with a growth of 20% from 2017 to 2018, it’s a platform that brands can no longer ignore.  But Instagram is just for teens you say? Not quite. Because, folks, this 30-something, Elder Millennial is an active, daily user and proponent of the platform for many of our clients. I promise that our agency’s collective recommendations to utilize Instagram go beyond my own personal usage of the platform, though.

Here’s why we recommend Instagram for our health care clients

  1. It’s growing very rapidly. Instagram has been the fastest-growing social networking for the past few years at around 12%, and continues to show steady growth as it has hit the 1 billion mark and 20% growth rate.


  2. Your target audiences use it. Nearly 60% of the user base is in what we consider our core target demographic: ages 25 to 64.


  3. There’s not a major discrepancy of gender. Men account for 30% of users while women account for 39%—we typically see a larger gap (one way or another) in other social networks.


  4. Some Instagrammers have a higher level of disposable income. Around 30% of individual users make more than $75,000 per year, which would be a good indicator of either the ability to pay out of pocket for elective procedures and/or that they have good employer-paid health insurance.


  5. The content on Instagram tends to have better sticking power. Stories (the Instagram version of Snapchat) both promoted and organic, has shown to increase ad recall, message association and click through rate (CTR) resulting in greater awareness and action for your campaigns.

These are just a few of the compelling reasons we recommend incorporating Instagram into your content and social media strategy as well as into media plans, but it definitely isn’t an exhaustive list. Sold! Yes? Or maybe you’d like to hear a few of the ways we’ve approached the platform? I bet that’s it, isn’t it?

Five ways Hailey Sault has approached Instagram: A tale of organic and paid media

  1. Humanize brands by featuring people. Instagram is a visual platform. This gives health care brands immense opportunities to create engaging, emotional content.


  2. Improve brand relationships through storytelling. We all know the power of using stories to convey our messages. Instagram provides a really great platform to do that since you can take advantage of large images (4:5 aspect ratio has been shown to perform very well), live video and Stories highlights, and through carousel ads—all of which work really well together to share the complete story without posting too much content at one time.


  3. Diversify paid social media approaches to increase message recall. We start our media approaches with very clear objectives and measurement expectations, but very often Instagram is a choice channel to further our message to the right people through great targeting data points. If it’s a fit for your objectives, we recommend placing it as a separate ad group to the one you will place in Facebook. This will allow you to allocate a specific budget only to that platform vs. spreading between both Facebook and Instagram and it allows you to set up clearer KPI expectations for cost per click (typically a bit higher) and click through rate (typically on the average side).


  4. Increase effectiveness of email campaigns by teasing signature content to email list. To increase overall click through rate through our emails, we have started to tease out ads promoting our signature content to users on Instagram through a custom list that is in our CRM. This allows users to see the content and have a higher recall when the email hits their inbox.

    Bonus: methodically resend the same email, verbatim, to the users who didn’t open it while simultaneously running your Instagram promotion.  


  5. Supplement overall content strategies through methodical amplification. Our approach to social media has both an organic and a paid arm. In order to reach goals (and people) we recommend allocating a certain percentage of monthly spend to each of your pillars in your content strategy. For Hailey Sault, this looks like 50% allocation to resources and learning, 25% to highlighting what makes Hailey Sault live up to its mission through our people, and 25% to highlighting how we live up to our mission through the work we complete for our clients.


There are several ways other health care brands have used Instagram successfully, and we will continue to give a nod to the network while apply methods used by innovators across verticals.

In the meantime, here are a few simple tips for getting more out of your Instagram efforts and ensuring best practices.


  1. Always evaluate your marketing objectives before establishing a presence on a new channel. All content you share on Instagram should be within your brand standards, brand tone, and should be customized to that channel.


  2. Incorporate Instagram into your ongoing content calendar to ensure you’re consistently posting quality (it is quality over quantity).


  3. When possible, post with a location. Posts with locations tend to get more engagement—reportedly 79% more.


  4. Consider featuring user-generated content (UGC) where it makes sense. Brands have reported seeing a 4.5% higher conversion rate on posts that had user-generated content. Just be sure to share those that are from well-trusted sources.


  5. Utilize hashtags where it makes sense.  It’s been shown that around 60% of the top brands on Instagram use one consistent hashtag to attain more predictable post engagement. Oftentimes you can reach new people by incorporating the right hashtags into your posts. Just be sure the hashtag isn’t too noisy (too many other posts) and that it doesn’t go against your brand in any way.