Are you part of the pharmaceutical industry and would like to use Instagram to engage with friends and family socially as well as connect with HCPs and others from your industry? If you’re an absolute beginner this article is for you. One of the many reasons why people seem to love Instagram is that it is not just simple but provides you with content which is mainly visual in nature, in the form of photos and videos.
People use Instagram for a variety of reasons whether it be to connect with friends and family or to connect with other like-minded people. In this article, we will be referring to the HCP audience and those generally in the pharmaceutical industry who engage on Instagram.
If you are already familiar with Instagram, this guide is not for you; however, you can read our Social Media White Paper where we explore the different behaviour patterns of HCPs on different platforms and how pharmaceutical companies can get involved and support the HCPs on these platforms. But if you are still very new to Instagram, here are five steps to get you started:
Five steps for pharma professionals to get started on Instagram
1. Start at instagram.com
Setting up your own Instagram account is simple and easy. You can choose to set up your account either on the website or through the official app available on both iOS and Android devices. The information required to sign up is the same for both routes.
If you have a Facebook account you can directly sign up for an Instagram account by clicking on the link – ‘Login with Facebook’ or you can enter the following details. Enter your mobile number or email address, full name, username and password. The next step is to enter your birth date. Not to worry, this bit of information will not be part of your public profile. Right after this a confirmation code will be sent to either your mobile phone or email address, depending on which point of contact you chose to enter in the beginning.
2. Set up your profile
At this point, you have officially made an account on Instagram and can now begin setting up your profile by adding friends from the recommended list of friends or by entering names of people you would like to follow in the search section found by clicking the search icon.
On the other hand you can proceed by deciding how others on Instagram would view your page by clicking the sign that says ‘Edit your profile.’ Here you will be able to change/add the following to your profile.
Bio: Let people know something about you. You can include details about yourself, your location, likes, dislikes, etc.
Display picture: This will be your profile picture or display image, as referred to on other platforms. An image for people to have as a reference point for yourself.
Pronouns: Enter your pronouns
Links: You can enter a link to a website you would like to share with those who view your profile.
* A point to note is that all Instagram accounts are set as private accounts by default. However, if you would like to change this setting you can go to Settings > Privacy > Account Privacy > Change to Public account or vice versa.
The main focus on Instagram is the visually engaging content that can be created and shared with your followers either in the form of a Post, Reel, Story or Live Video:
Post: It can either be a single image/video or a collection of maximum 10 images or videos included in one post.
Reel: It is a short video that can be created by yourself using the different tools available within the Reel’s section of Instagram.
Story: Similar to a Reel, these are short videos or images that can be posted and are shown at the top of your homepage alongside the stories of your followers. The difference however, is that these stories only last for 24 hrs and after that time period can only be found in your Archive section, also found in Settings.
Live Video: Just as the name suggests, Instagram provides you with the option to ‘go live’ on your account to engage with your followers. You can also add a friend on to the live stream to have a conversation with.
As is seen with every social media platform, Instagram has its own language related to how you engage with content on the platform. Below are a few commonly used words on Instagram that can help you on your journey.
Like: It is the heart sign below each post as well as at the bottom right corner of each story.
Comment: Found below each picture, you can share a public comment on the person’s post.
Repost: This feature may require a third party app, which allows you to repost another person’s image/video whilst also giving them credit.
Save: In the shape of a bookmark icon found on the bottom right corner below each post. This feature allows you to save a post in your personal collection to view later or to keep as a reference.
Hashtags are an important part of Instagram as they help to link your post and your topic to numerous other people sharing content about the same topic.
How to use hashtags?
- Enter in the search bar a word or phrase that is associated with the topic of discussion you would like to explore more into eg: #medlife
- Remember to use a # before the word
- From the numerous number of posts that appear you can either click on other hashtags that people have used eg: #medEd, #nurselife or even use them within your own captions to connect yourself to the discussion
- Instagram also gives you the option to follow a hashtag so that you will be able to view any other posts from people who include this hashtag in their caption
- There are millions of hashtags that are there for you to explore or even create so feel free to experiment with it
Here are some common Hashtags you may see in health related conversations:
An interesting feature to keep a lookout for is a shopping bag at the bottom of your page – this is Shop: a page within Instagram that allows you to purchase items other businesses or followers may have posted on there. You also have the ability to post your item that you would like to sell.
As this is a beginner’s guide to Instagram, this article is focused on the features you would need to start your experience on the platform. However, there is still lots to explore and create.
Once you are all set you might want to explore some articles related to digital engagement in healthcare and government and how others are using social media platforms, including Instagram, in the pharmaceutical industry. Also feel free to sign up to our free eJournal for communicators and leaders in healthcare and you’ll be kept up to date on digital engagement in healthcare.