Instagram Guidelines

Instagram, with over one billion monthly active users, is an important platform for endless applications such as reaching larger audiences and building community over shared interests (Shift, n.d.). Use these Instagram guidelines as part of a coordinated plan for your social media presence:

  • Share experiences and use emotional appeals with images instead of simple repetition of health information (Photoslurp, n.d.). Images and videos create engagement (York, 2016b).
  • In videos, appeal to multiple senses (Bezak, 2019).
  • Tailor posts to your audience. Once you’ve identified your audience, be consistent with your style and branding (Photoslurp, n.d.).
  • Use multiple hashtags to group and organize photos (Bezak, 2019). Many Instagram users search for photos or posts using hashtags. By using established general hashtags, your posts may potentially gain new followers. If you create your own custom hashtag, make sure it is short and intuitive.
  • Welcome and recognize audience interaction (Bezak, 2019).
  • Use creative ideas like contests and encourage user-generated content to get your audience to participate (York, 2016a). 
  • Use Instagram stories. As of April 2020, brands post an average of 2.5 Instagram stories per week. Stories should include a call to action. Optionally, add stickers, hashtags, sound, polls or locations. Check story views or add a story to your highlights to share with an audience more long-term (Cooper, 2020).
  • Leverage existing health-related observances to spread your content (Photoslurp, n.d.).
  • Like your audience’s comments. You can like and comment on the content of related organizations/causes to gain visibility with their audiences (Bezak, 2019).
  • Use simple or free photo editing tools to make your images pop (York, 2016a).
  • Highlight stories, graphics or key campaigns, materials or specialties by adding them under your bio with buttons (Bezak, 2019).
  • Post regularly and during optimal times. Your analytics data from Instagram or other sources can help you identify when your audience is most active and likely to interact with a post (York, 2016a).


Bezak, E. (2019, September 18). The 4 best Instagram marketing ideas for healthcare brands. Hearst Bay Area Media Group. Retrieved from


Cooper, P. (2020, April 30). How to use Instagram stories to build Your audience. Hootsuite. Retrieved from


Photoslurp. (n.d.). Instagram best practices - 8 content tricks used by top brands. Retrieved from


Shift. (n.d.). Social Media in Healthcare: Why Instagram Is Its Best Kept Secret. Retrieved from


York, A. (2016b, June 8). 7 Instagram best practices to build your audience. Sprout Blog. Retrieved from