Instagram is social media’s rising star, nearly overtaking Facebook in terms of the place you have to be.

The biggest challenge with Instagram for healthcare brands and practitioners is that it is all about visuals and videos. Text is used selectively, and often in the form of a string of catchy Instagram-specific hashtags. Using relevant, searchable, popular hashtags help get your content found and followed.

Regrettably, HIPAA came along way before Insta took over the world, and the two are clearly not aligned. Stay vigilant to avoid posting patient photos without express consent, whether it is in the office, before and after photos, or a group photo taken at a patient seminar. Photos of staff and the doctor(s) are good to post and allow followers to get a sense of the culture of the practice.

The keys to Instagram are creativity and inspiration, which is why, IMHO, so many practices have totally lost the plot. It is one thing to promote occasional before and after pics of a lip filler, glycolic peel, tattoo removal, or even a cute rhinoplasty, but quality over quantity must prevail. If you are posting a stream of full body photos with blocked out private parts, this may be offensive to some people. Think pretty!

Similarly, too much text on an image, fuzzy, out of focus, or pixelated pictures, are sure to be overlooked. Instagrammers have an even shorter attention span than other social media users, and 100% of them are looking at their feeds on a mobile device because it is only an app. Instagram users have a very short attention span, and if they don’t like what they are seeing from you, they will unfollow you in a New York minute.

Keep in mind that your goal is to engage – not enrage – your followers.