Journals are increasingly using social media to increase article engagement. We aim to determine the impact of Instagram promotion on, and identify social media tools that effectively enhance, plastic surgery article engagement and impact.
Instagram accounts for Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, Annals of Plastic Surgery, Aesthetic Surgery Journal, and Aesthetic Plastic Surgery were reviewed for posts published by February 8, 2022. Open access journal articles were excluded. Post caption word count and number of likes, tagged accounts, and hashtags were recorded. Inclusion of videos, article links, or author introductions was noted. All articles from journal issues published between the dates of the first and last posts promoting articles were reviewed. Altmetric data approximated article engagement. Citation numbers from the National Institutes of Health iCite tool approximated impact. Differences in engagement and impact of articles with and without Instagram promotion were compared by Mann-Whitney U tests. Univariate and multivariable regressions identified factors predictive of more engagement (Altmetric Attention Score, ?5) and citations (?7).
A total of 5037 articles were included, with 675 (13.4%) promoted on Instagram. Of posts featuring articles, 274 (40.6%) included videos, 469 (69.5%) included article links, and 123 included (18.2%) author introductions. Promoted articles had higher median Altmetric Attention Scores and citations (P < 0.001). On multivariable analysis, using more hashtags predicted higher article Altmetric Attention Scores (odds ratio [OR], 1.85; P = 0.002) and more citations (OR, 1.90; P < 0.001). Including article links (OR, 3.52; P < 0.001) and tagging more accounts (OR, 1.64; P = 0.022) predicted higher Altmetric Attention Scores. Including author introductions negatively predicted Altmetric Attention Scores (OR, 0.46; P < 0.001) and citations (OR, 0.65; P = 0.047). Caption word count had no significant impact on article engagement or impact.
Instagram promotion increases plastic surgery article engagement and impact. Journals should use more hashtags, tag more accounts, and include manuscript links to increase article metrics. We recommend that authors promote on journal social media to maximize article reach, engagement, and citations, which positively impacts research productivity with minimal additional effort in designing Instagram content.