The quest to generate new business is a matter close to all medspa owners’ hearts. Instagram represents one of the most effective social media channels to harness to increase revenue: With more than 500 million daily active users, Instagram remains one of the most engaging and most used social media platforms in the world–particularly among brands that are focused on beauty, health and wellness. Since Instagram recently added shopping tags to its offering, an estimated 44% of people also use Instagram on a weekly basis to shop.
Growing your Instagram presence doesn’t have to be hard but it should be strategic. In essence, successful and sustainable growth hacking is about encouraging steady, consistent growth in your Instagram account without using bots or buying followers. Using organic actionable marketing tactics can not only drive your follower numbers up, but also increase the exposure of your clinic to a wider diversity of clients, improve your reputation, and also elevate sales.
Here’s our updated guide to four growth hacks for Instagram.
1. 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:
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:
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.
2. 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 followers make, a burgeoning demographic with disposable income that is increasingly spending on cosmetic surgery. It’s a well known fact that instagrams main user demographic are the 25-34 year old age group, otherwise known as Generation Z.
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.
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:
3. Incorporate Instagram Shopping into Your Offering
Instagram’s Shop tab has revolutionized business for brands that use Instagram to showcase products. Merchants can now add a shopping tab to their profile and tag products in posts, stories and reels so that users have the option of viewing a product and then making a purchase. In 2021, U.S. social commerce sales collected approximately $36b in 2021, a figure that is expected to climb to $79B by 2025. A 2022 survey also showed that 72% of millennials buy beauty products based on what they see in Instagram. Shopping encourages growth by adding another dimension to your user Instagram experience, allowing customers to purchase your products and services more directly.
Med spas can harness the benefits of Instagram shopping in two fundamental ways. Firstly, they can use shopping tags to advertise products available for retail, such as home microdermabrasion kits or skin peels. However, the price of med spa services can also be tagged–think Botox, CoolSculpting, or dermal fillers. If you’re offering a promotional holiday discount for a particular procedure, let customers know by sharing a post, story or reel and tagging the price.
- A more rapid customer buying journey
Customers can move from discovering the product on Instagram to purchasing it in a matter of minutes. This significantly decreases the buying journey and minimizes the risk of losing customers in the middle of the sales funnel.
- Enhanced conversion rates
Thanks to a faster buying journey, med spas are also likely to see more conversions coming from Instagram. You’re leaving smaller room for second thoughts and reaching customers who are ripe for purchase, which naturally translates to increased conversions.
- Improved customer experience
Instagram allows customers to move seamlessly through the purchase funnel and enhances the overall shopping experience. This reflects positively on your brand and its reputation, but also incentivizes customers to make repeat purchases, thus improving brand loyalty.
4. Engage with Interactive Features
Showcasing user-generated content and customer responses can be a very empowering and revealing way to encourage your followers to interact with your brand and grow your following. Here are three fun and easy ways to do this:
Polls are an option that are available with Instagram stories. When you post a poll, you can ask your followers to choose between two options, such as choosing between a special offer on Botox or a promotion on dermal fillers.
One of the most noteworthy benefits of polling your followers is that you can learn more about what your followers are interested in. Fifty-eight percent of Instagram users say they become more invested in a brand or product after seeing it in their Stories, and polls represent a great way to jump in and capture their attention.
Instagram Story question stickers enable you to engage your audience at a deeper level by kick starting conversations. Question stickers can be customized to include any question you want to ask your audience. Users who view your story can tap on the sticker to send you a short answer or message, which is then stored in the Story Insights tab.
For med spas in particular, Instagram question stickers represent a straightforward, easy way to host a Q&A with new or returning customers. You can insert a question sticker into your stories, then share responses publicly so everyone can learn. Stickers are ideal for situations where customers may have a simple product question, but can’t be bothered contacting the customer service team. They can also help if a customer is almost ready to buy a product, but they just need that final push to complete the purchase. In these cases, Instagram question stickers offer an ideal low-friction way to engage these people. Using responses sourced from the med spa company executives and skincare experts offers a way to showcase your expertise and transparency. You can also credit followers if you republish their questions.
An example might be a question sticker that asks clients what their most pressing skincare question is?
Social media platforms and their ranking algorithms award higher priority to video content such as live streams. Instagram Live videos represent a means of interacting directly with your audience, demonstrating a procedure or giving a tutorial, or explaining how a product works. You can also use live videos to interview experts at your clinic about different procedures or host a weekly question and answers session. Live content can help followers feel important and foster a sense of shared community–you can acknowledge your followers by name as they join your stream, and respond to their comments and questions in real-time.
However, it’s important to bear in mind that live videos are not visible in the Instagram app once the recording finishes. Nonetheless, you can gain extra mileage from live content by sharing the video to your Instagram Stories feed when it’s over, or saving really memorable live content as a highlight.
The Final Word
Instagram remains one of the most engaging and utilized forms of social media and thanks to its ongoing evolution and innovations, there are more ways than ever to use the platform and connect with clients.The four strategies we’ve explored above offer invaluable and straightforward methods to not only increase followers, but also convert more prospects into sales. Use some or all of these techniques to quickly and effectively increase your traffic and promote greater engagement with existing or potential clients.