Four Instagram Growth Hacking Strategies for MedSpas: Win New Clients through Instagram

G
rowth hacking: a dubious-sounding term, but a concept that is vital to master and harness the power of Instagram, which generates new business and increases revenue for your aesthetic practice. Effective growth hacks are instrumental to enhancing the visibility of your Instagram account, rendering it more coherent and attractive to followers.

In essence, growth hacking is about encouraging astronomical growth in your Instagram account. The return on investment will be tangible; you will see how spending time building your Instagram account equates to more followers, increased exposure of your clinic and greater engagement with the services you offer. The financial gains are clear.

The most popular Instagram business growth hacks can be tweaked and customized to work effectively for aesthetic clinics. Here is our list of the top 4 Instagram growth hacks for you to use to win at Instagram:

1Growth Hack One: Master Hashtags

Hashtags are the ‘keywords’ of Instagram. Using hashtags efficiently and judiciously is a skill many businesses have not properly mastered. As a result, they lose potential clients by posting irrelevant hashtags or spamming their posts with too many hashtags.

Neil Patel, a growth hacking social media expert, recommends incorporating 5-10 relevant hashtags maximum per post. According to Patel, more than ten hashtags results in decreased interaction with the post, as illustrated in this table:

Bailey, T. (2007). Record-keeping in primary care: Benefits of an electronic system. Canadian Family Physician, 53(9), 1617. Retrieved from
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2234646/

This naturally prompts the question: how do you work hashtags to your advantage to increase user interaction and grow your following? The key is to aim to get into the top 9 Instagram posts for the hashtags that you use (which is why it is prudent to avoid too many hashtags with millions of followers.) A grid of nine images selected by an Instagram algorithm features at the top of each hashtag. If you can make it into this profiled grid of top posts, you’ll dramatically increase your exposure on Instagram, turning likes and followers into potential clients.

While no one knows the exact algorithm to feature in the top 9 images for any hashtags, following these tips will increase your chances of reaching one of those coveted 9 spots:

  • Pick appropriate hashtags. If you have an account of 10,000 followers or less, you are far more likely to feature for a hashtag like #lipenhancements (which has just over 4000 followers) than #lipenhancement (with more than 1,000,000 followers).
  • Find trending hashtags. Use hashtags that are hot in your niche! Check out the hashtags that your competition uses as well as the hashtags that are common in other Instagram accounts in your field. But ensure the tags you ultimately use are relevant to your post.
  • Engagement growth rate. What is most important is how quickly your post trends, or the growth rate of your engagement. 500 likes in 2 hours increases your chances of featuring as a top post, rather than 5000 likes over 24 hours. This means posting at an optimal time, when your audience is most active on Instagram, and responding to questions and comments as quickly as possible. Initiating conversations on posts drives engagement, which in turn translates to Instagram bumping your post higher on users’ feeds. Ultimately, this results in greater user engagement with your post. This table outlines optimal times for posting on Instagram:

Bailey, T. (2007). Record-keeping in primary care: Benefits of an electronic system. Canadian Family Physician, 53(9), 1617. Retrieved from
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2234646/

Check out this post from Thairapy Beauty Bar that features in the top 9 trending images for #dermalfillers:

To have reached the top 9 images for the hashtag #dermalfillers, this post has cleverly incorporated ten relevant hashtags, a concise but informative caption and nicely organized and relevant before and after images.

This video post from EGA Medical in New York features in the top 9 spots for the hashtag #coolsculpting.

In addition to using a range of appropriate trending hashtags and a high engagement growth rate, this example also includes an enticing promotion, inviting users to 25% off for 2 or more treatments, and shows direct engagement between the administrator of the account and future patients.

Questions asked by users are promptly answered, generating interest and encouraging them to seriously consider undergoing coolsculpting. Don’t be afraid to use calls to action either. The combination of effective hashtags and powerful succinct captions cannot be underestimated.

The more intelligently and effectively you use hashtags in your posts, the wider you expand your reach, and the more potential business you create.

2Growth Hack Two: Partner with Micro-Influencers

Instagram is dominated by influencers. Influencers take your product or service and weave promotion into their posts. While it is great if you can forge connections and partner with major influencers, this can be tricky and potentially costly. A much better option for aesthetic clinics and spas is to partner with micro-influencers.

Don’t be deceived or deterred by the prefix “micro”. Micro-influencers may not have the follower status of major influencers, but they have a number of other incredibly useful attributes in their favor which can render them even more useful to you in growing followers:

  • Micro-influencers are more likely to be interested in partnership than major influencers, particularly if your business’s Instagram account is still in the early stages of growth.
  • They may not need to be paid, but can be incentivized with service discounts or gifts such as beauty treatments, free Botox, tooth whitening: whatever your clinic specializes in. You could ask that they post images following treatment, hashtagging your clinic or promoting details of the treatment.
  • Micro-influencers have hyper-engaged audiences with followers who often religiously follow their posts, check their recommendations, make comments and ask questions. Major influencers tend to have decreased rates of comments. Encouraging as much engagement with your aesthetic products and services is critical to growth, gaining traction and fostering new business.
  • People trust micro-influencers more. They have greater authority within their networks because Instagram users are well aware that major influencers get compensated by brands. They are therefore better placed to exhort their followers to try your brand.

Ideally, a micro-influencer should have between 1,000 and 100,000 followers. They should post daily, regularly interact and engage with their followers’ questions and comments, and boast a visually coherent account that makes effective use of hashtags. In addition micro-influencers greatly impact the choices that millennials make, a burgeoning demographic with disposable income that is increasingly spending on cosmetic surgery.

So, how do you find effective micro-influencers in your local area?

  • Start with your own practice’s list of Instagram followers, and search those who have between 1K and 100K followers of their own. Invite them to enjoy a free treatment or service offered by your clinic in exchange for a post or series of posts that call attention to your business.
  • Check out their list of followers. Many micro-influencers follow other micro-influencers. Find the most relevant influencers to your business’s brand who live locally, follow them and reach out to them as well. The more people you follow, the more likely they are to follow your clinic back.
  • Investigate the Instagram accounts of other comparable local businesses with large followings. Those in the same line of business are likely to have micro-influencers following them that may be interested in your business too. Make contact with them and raise the possibility of creating a partnership of mutual benefit.

(March 8, 2017). How Social Media is Driving Plastic Surgery in Millennials. High Snobiety. Retrived from
https://www.highsnobiety.com/2017/03/07/plastic-surgery-kylie-jenner-instagram/

Take a look at this post from micro-influencer Anti-Gorgeous. In this video she promotes a natural vegan skincare brand and encourages engagement with the product from her followers:

Or this post from The Aesthetic Skin Clinic, re-gramming a post from micro-influencer Steph Dixoni following her endorsement of a Cosmelan Peel at their clinic:

3Growth Hack Three: Upload Only Your BEST Photos

Instagram is a blatantly visual medium. No matter how effective your hashtags or your collaborations with micro-influencers, if your posts are not visually appealing you will not increase likes or gain followers. Posting professional, well-edited and spectacular photos can help you double or triple your followers in mere days.

Your images must be of excellent quality, and one of the easiest way to assure this is to download a photo editor. Photos leap off the page when they are properly edited and framed in a striking manner. Try VSCO Cam, Afterlight or AviaryPhoto as editing tools. If you post only the best images, followers will return to your account time after time in search of updates.

Moreover, the photos and images you post are what shape your clinic’s brand and the lifestyle you are selling. Think of your brand as a magazine. What kinds of images and posts are coherent with what you are offering? What type of clientele are you hoping to attract? Potential followers and clients respond to coherence, and this is most effectively conveyed through the type and quality of images you post. Being in the business of aesthetics, a visually attractive Instagram account is paramount to selling your clinic’s aesthetic brand.

For example, take a look at these images posted by The Aesthetic Skin Clinic,a clinic based in Geelong, Australia with 15K followers. The images they post are luxurious, well-edited, simple and uncluttered.

Check out the photos posted by Cienega Medispain Los Angeles, a clinic with more than 15K followers. This medispa also makes excellent use of captivating images and color. Intelligent use of color will get you more likes and more traffic; the color blue in particular, is incredibly successful in the medium of Instagram. Images with a predominance of blue are 24% more likely to get likes.

11 September, 2013. Want Your Instagram Photos to Get Attention? Use Blue. Fast Company. Retrieved from
https://www.fastcompany.com/3021407/want-your-instagram-photos-to-get-attention-use-the-color-blue

4Growth Hack Four: The Follow/Unfollow Method

One final technique that is an Instagram marketing must-try is the Follow/Unfollow Method. It is undisputedly a highly effective marketing method for gaining more followers rapidly, although it is frowned upon by Instagram.

In essence, you win new followers by following vast numbers of the target audience you want to reach, making them aware of your existence. By following them, you hope that they’ll follow you back.

For example, you might follow the followers of a local micro-influencer in your area that match your target audience, or the followers of a local clinic similar to your business. Like and comment on the posts of those who follow you back to encourage a connection. Unfollow those who don’t reciprocate your follow. You can follow up to 60 new accounts per hour, which means a potential for rapid account growth and increased exposure.

Once you have significantly expanded your follower base, sign up for a Crowdfire account.Crowdfire easily separates the people following you from those who aren’t, giving you the option of swiftly unfollowing those who aren’t following you. You can only follow 7500 accounts on Instagram, so don’t waste follows.

Final Word

Growth hack strategies such as the four outlined above offer invaluable and straightforward methods to dramatically increase your following on Instagram. Employ these techniques to quickly and effectively reach more followers, increase your traffic and promote greater engagement with users/potential clients. Ultimately, these remarkably simple and straightforward techniques translate into increased exposure and therefore increased revenue.

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Scott Alten

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