Ok, you got me – Healstagrams isn’t a real word, but Instagraming for health is most definitely real!
As you may have guessed, week four of my six-week exploration into all that is health communications was all about Instagram. I’ll admit, at the outset, I was skeptical. What could a photo site hold for health? I imagined huge barriers with signed photo consent forms, pictures of gross wounds, and images of self-promoting surgeons taking selfies in the operating room. While the first one may be true, in general the landscape is far more inspiring than I anticipated.
After quite a bit of research, I’ve compiled a top 12 of the Instagram pages I found that really did a great job promoting health. I’m now happy to hand this list on to you as a resource. Here they all are for your viewing pleasure, with a little bit of background on why I think these groups are doing an awesome job.
Public Health Specific:
- AmericanPublicHealth (aka APHA)
Why: They post relatively frequently about a broad range of topics. They use their logo as an avatar (best practice, don’t-cha-know). Their photos range from cute to educational, making it fun to look at.
Why: They link straight to their blog in their description. Again, they use their logo for their avatar and post relatively frequently. Look at this site for inspiration on how to use Instagram to engage your local community on health issues. There are posts on everything from community forums to the Affordable Care Act, and some great/simple infographics given the mobile constraints of Instagram.
Health Care Providers:
Why: I wasn’t sure what to expect from a hospital on Instagram, but man are they rocking it! From campaigns to get out and exercise, to inspiring photos of patients, this is a very engaging page. They don’t post as often as some sites, but they seem to find a good amount of content. I enjoyed it.
- OSClinic (Orthopedic & Spine Clinic)
Why: This is a clinic out of Kuwait that seems to be doing a really good job attracting folks to its Instagram page. They’ve done over 130 posts, ranging from tips on posture, and pictures of their newest equipment, to images of the doctor who presumably owns the clinic. I can’t read everything they’ve posted, but it sure looks like they’ve been doing a good job grabbing the attention of viewers – they have nearly 650 followers!
Why: They post all the time about a ton of different topics and engaging subjects. Granted it is Oxfam so their annual budget is like that of a small country, meaning they can afford to do a ton of events and things to take photos of, still they are really doing a great job here. From photos of volunteers, to participants in events, to inspiring quotes – they really own their presence on Instagram!
Why: You want to talk funny, engaging pictures? Planned Parenthood has it. For the purposes of a top 12 list, this example may be a bit niche, but I think everyone can get inspired by how to post about sensitive health topics. PP’s posts are super engaging – with lots of great examples of the types of pictures/quotes that make for good Instagraming. While they aren’t as good as Oxfam at using Instagram to acknowledge volunteers, etc., but that could just be a different tactic.
…And in a surprise twist, the final category of rock star Instagram users isn’t users at all.
Hashtags to follow!
#PHNerd and/or #PublicHealthNerd
There are literally dozens of ways to end this, even more if you count #health. Try #HealthFood, #HealthyGirl, #HealthyBreakfast, #HealthyLifestyle, or just #Health and #Healthy
- #LoveMyDoctor or #LoveMyNurses
For all the medical folks out there – if you ever need a little pick me up
This is a bit of a shout out for everyone who loves Kaiser as much as I do.
- This is also a great way to find health campaigns, for example: #ThinkPink, #RedRibbonWeek, #GetYourselfTested, and so many more!
Given how limited my exposure to most social media sites is, I always feel it is best practice to reference articles from the wise explorers who traveled these roads before me. In that spirit, and if you’re looking for more to dig into on this subject, take a look at this fun article by Alyssa Anderson called Instagram It! Using Instagram for Public Health. I found it very enjoyable – though I would like to note that I sourced my ideas separately from her. Which just shows you how super great some of the resources above are!