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Four Key Advantages of Instagram Stories for Pharma Marketers

Broaden your social marketing mix with this versatile addition

Since its debut last summer, Instagram Stories have engaged hundreds of millions of global users each day and offers a rich – albeit largely untapped – opportunity for pharma marketers. Not only has Stories rapidly gained social dominance, but its ease of use and overall versatility offers new ways to engage your disease audience. And when it comes to growing your social media presence, this feature can go a long way in making this a possibility. As Stories expire within twenty-four hours of posting, it further offers a low-pressure setting to test and evaluate new tactics and concepts.

Here, I break down how to get started along with the four key advantages of Instagram Stories for pharma marketers.

Understanding Instagram Stories

A story is a photo or video which appears on your profile page and on Instagram’s main feed. Unlike a standard Instagram photo or video, Stories leave room for greater creativity as text, geotags, doodles, and even stickers can be added to the post. Stories also allow multiple photos or videos to be shared in a reel. To start a story, click on your profile image and record the content or upload the photo of your choice.


From here, customize the post by adding text, stickers or icons from the upper right hand corner and/or swiping right to add a filter.


In some instances, your content may need to be more planned. In this case, swipe up to upload media from your camera roll.


To add additional photos or recordings to your Story, select the camera icon in the upper left-hand corner of the app. Now that we have a basic understanding of Stories’ fundamentals, let’s explore its four key advantages. (If you’re looking for an in-depth tutorial of Instagram Stories features and tricks, I recommend this guide).

Push Creative Limits

Stories are ideal for experimentation as they are quick to play and disappear. So try something new to drive disease or product awareness. Offer disease education as told through the eyes of a patient, call attention to a new blog post, run a Q&A session where followers can direct-message questions – the options are as endless as your ideas. With Stories, nothing has to be finite so test the limits and see what sticks among your patient community. A successful tactic could well inform your next big campaign.

Beat the Algorithm

Traditional Instagram posts, i.e. what is displayed on your account page, are continually re-ordered on a user or follower’s feed based on an internal algorithm, meaning organic reach can be severely limited. Stories are different. For twenty-four hours, your story will appear as part of your account’s image on its profile page, reaching however many users watch your story. As unpaid media, this offers potentially rich dividends.

Amplify Unbranded Disease Awareness

From up- to- the minute streaming of a medical conference or KOL event to behind the scenes access into disease and drug research, stories offer a way to share content in a way that is, above all, accessible. Your audience will expect quick and engaging updates, so create content that feels unexpectedly relevant and different from other social posts.

Stay Hands Off

Stories are easier to manage than a Facebook or a traditional Instagram post as there isn’t a comment feature – only private messages which route to the account admin.  This feature is valuable to building trust among patients and HCPs as it alleviates false or misleading follower comments. Private messages are, in turn, a stronger patient support tool as queries are kept private.

Have you tried Instagram Stories? What key benefits or applications have I missed?

Wanting more digital pharma insight? Access my whitepaper for examples of current best practices, case studies and anecdotes illustrating real-world applications of all 8 principals for digital pharma marketing success.

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