Are You Ignoring Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest In Your Medical Marketing?

Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest

What do funny photos of dogs, cats, and babies on social media have to do with a professional medical practice?

An argument can be made that these photos are so silly that the marketing of a physician website should stay away from any direct association with such frivolous stuff. That viewpoint is completely wrong. Besides their favorite celebrities, people love silly photos of dogs, cats, and babies. Doctors benefit by being positively associated with the interests that people already have, in order to get their attention.

Medical marketing of a doctor website is about reaching people and getting them to make an appointment to visit a physician’s office. A doctor website that does not have an active campaign on Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest, and other social media platforms is missing an enormously effective part of a comprehensive medical marketing strategy used to promote a physician website.

Let’s take a look at the numbers.


There are over one billion global users of Instagram. About 20% or 200 million live in the United States. Even though the assumption is that Instagram is only for teenagers, many users are young adults.

Those between the ages of 30 and 49 equal 33% of the users. Those under the age of 30 (59%) include both younger adults and teens. A whopping 72% of this age group of Instagram members use the system every day.

Smartphone use in the United States is near maximum market penetration with 84% of Americans using a smartphone during 2018. That is 230 million smartphone users in America. Instagram is designed for access by smartphones and 25% of smartphone owners have an Instagram account.

If your medical practice has patients in these age groups, which includes teens to forty-somethings, then Instagram advertising is a must-have component of your medical marketing campaign.


Snapchat is a bustling social media system. Globally, it has 189 million active daily users. 79 million of those are in North America and about 50 million daily users are in the United States.

Snapchat users are mostly young adults, with 71% of them being between 18 to 34 years old. The average time that they spend on Snapchat each day is 25 to 30 minutes. Snapchat users create over three billion “snaps” every single day.

Marketing for future clients is an important consideration for many medical practices, such as those that focus on family practice. Snapchat is not necessarily the best source for potential clients who are older adults. However, if the average patient for a medical practice skews towards a younger demographic, then Snapchat can be very helpful in marketing campaigns.

A lesson can be learned from global-marketing masters like McDonald’s who begin their target marketing towards toddlers, in order to make them lifelong customers. Medical needs are also a lifelong prospect.

Many medical practices benefit significantly by marketing their services across multiple generations. Thirty-somethings will be in their forties within a decade. A thriving practice may have patients who continue to visit the same doctor for many years and bring along other family members.

Sending out advertising snaps can bring in younger adult patients who may stay with the practice for a long time.


Pinterest has over 250 million active monthly users. It is the fourth most popular social media platform in the United States after 1) YouTube; 2) Facebook, and; 3) Instagram. Pinterest, in fourth place, beats out Snapchat (fifth), LinkedIn (sixth), Twitter (seventh) and WhatsApp (eighth).

Pinterest users are generally a bit older and more likely to be female than male, although males represent half of the new sign-ups. Pinterest has always focused on women because they are the vast majority of what is called the “deciders” that choose how to spend up to 80% of a typical household’s budget.

On this system, one finds plenty of photo collections of dogs, cats, babies, home decor, antiques, flowers, and more. There are collections of just about everything including photo collections of attractive doctor’s offices.

If the target demographics for a medical practice includes female Americas that are between 25 and 54 years old, Pinterest marketing is essential. Pinterest reaches 83 percent of American females of that age. This system is a go-to resource for women thinking about life changes and major events, such as getting married, having a baby, or choosing a doctor.

Males are not neglected or discouraged from participation. Around 38 percent of American fathers are Pinterest users. Men like to browse Pinterest to get ideas about do-it-yourself (DIY) projects for home improvements, home decor, landscaping, gardening, and other outdoor activities too.

Pinterest boasts that an independent study conducted by Analytic Partners in 2017, found that for the average $1.00 spent on advertising in their system, businesses receive gross revenues of $4.30. This results in approximately $2.00 in profits. That is an exceptional 100% average return on the investment of advertising dollars.

Just about everyone uses social media, your medical practice should too

Social Media Advertising Strategy

It is critical to work closely with your media marketing strategist in order to develop a plan to create advertising campaigns for Instagram, Snapchat and Pinterest, if the demographics of the people found on those systems could be a viable source of new patients for a medical practice.

Instagram advertising offers:

  • Story Ads
  • Photo Ads
  • Video Ads
  • Carousel Ads
  • Collection Ads

Snapchat has these advertising opportunities:

  • Snaps (photo ads)
  • Collection Ads
  • Story Ads
  • Augmented Reality (AR) Lenses (sponsored image manipulation)
  • Filters (sponsored overlays on users’ photos)

Pinterest advertising includes:

  • Promoted Pins
  • Promoted Video Pins
  • Promoted App Pins
  • Buyable Pins


Actively participating in these social media systems is important. Doctor’s offices should establish accounts on each of them and regularly post items to create organic (non-paid) web traffic to a physician’s website. Yes, this means that doctors and their office staff should post cute photos of their dogs, cats, and babies on these systems and link to photos posted by their patients on these systems as well.

One simple, yet successful, campaign that any doctor who is a pet owner can use to gain attention on social media is “My dog (or cat) recommends _______”

Advertising builds website traffic when it has good response rates. Advertising goes along well with other organic efforts on social media that are useful to gain attention.

The bottom-line takeaway from this article is that participation on Instagram, Snapchat, and Pinterest is a critical component of a successful online marketing strategy for most medical practices.

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