Private Duty

Include Instagram in your agency’s overall marketing plan, here’s how

While it’s important to have an Instagram business account, that alone will not win an instant client.

Reach out through multiple platforms to secure a strong online presence, recommends Valerie VanBooven, co-owner and founder of St. Louis, Mo.-based LTC Expert Publications, which provides online marketing strategies for providers in home care and assisted living.

The first introduction to the agency should be a website.

Keep in mind that almost 100% of people will be on their mobile devices when searching for care, so the site should be up to date and mobile-friendly.

While great content is significant, the website also needs engagement and original content.

Agencies need to have a well-rounded presence online and diversify the platforms they use, VanBooven says.

Instagram and Facebook are two avenues where agencies can post links to original content on the agency website to further engage potential clients and referral sources.

Be sure to connect the Instagram business account to your agency’s Facebook business page, as well.

Talk about social media in emails and any email marketing, VanBooven recommends. Make sure to have a link to the business Instagram page on the website. The more genuine the content posted, the easier it will be to grow followers naturally, VanBooven adds.

“Whenever you post on Instagram, you can share those posts back and forth,” VanBooven says.

Agencies should have an organized plan for posting to multiple places.

Strategies to succeed on Instagram

  • Post frequently to Instagram. VanBooven recommends agencies post once a day or at minimum two to three times a week.On social media, there really aren’t limitations as to how often to post, says Jason Lewallen, vice president of marketing for Home Care Sales in Nashville, Tenn. If agencies want to be really good at it, posting daily is great.If they’re willing to “just be okay,” then posting a few times a week will at least demonstrate a presence, Lewallan adds.

    Regardless of pace, it’s a bad idea to leave social media untended for too long. It doesn’t send a good message if a potential referral visits your social media platform and sees there hasn’t been a post in two years.

  • Have a targeted message. Depending on who agencies are trying to reach with their message, agencies may want to talk about the benefits of the care they provide to patients, Lewallen says. Agency leaders should keep in mind that no matter the audience, they must post about something they care about or people won’t keep reading.
  • Use pictures of agency events. Since Instagram is all about the visual, it’s a good idea to post pictures of any events in which your agency participates.A senior expo, health fair or job fair each lend themselves to a positive social media post. These offline marketing events should be combined with online events. Take pictures with your booth or coworkers, then post them to Instagram.Caption images with descriptions of how much fun you had at the event or that you are looking forward to attending again next year. Agencies also can consider posting a “story” about the fair, which is a temporary video feature on Instagram.

    Inspirational pictures and quotes are options if you don’t have a picture from an event.

  • Make posts positive. When posting for businesses, keep posts happy and neutral. For the home health and home care industry, the more supportive the post, the more people it will resonate with, VanBooven says.
  • Use hashtags that resonate with your audience. In addition to referencing home health and home care in hashtages, VanBooven suggests using hashtags about the city and state the agency serves. Reach out to people from your local area so they can see the post and follow your business.Hashtags must be appropriate to services the agency provides and appropriate to locations the agency serves, VanBooven says.
  • Know your competition. Agencies should also know who their competitors are when starting Instagram.“You need to know who does what I do in my market, who does what I do outside of my market and who has an outrageous connection and fans,” Lewallen says.Agencies should go through their competitors’ social media or see which competitors have used Instagram successfully. Identify competitors that have a high number of likes and that come up prominently in search. Look for what they are doing successfully to get ideas. — Megan Pielmeier (mpielmeier@decisionhealth.com)