At least some of the things you do to market your dental practice should be fun. It’s especially important to show the human side of dentistry because so many people fear going to the dentist and because choosing a dentist is such a personal decision. Instagram is a great way to stay top-of-mind and add fun and personalization to your marketing, especially with younger patients.
Everybody loves to share pictures, and Instagram makes it easy. It is a photo-based social network that enables you to share pictures and very short videos with other Instagram users as well as your Facebook, Twitter or other social contacts. All you need is a smartphone and a little practice. The real marketing boost comes from customizing your pictures, with special effects and a caption.
How does that work?
There are 17 different filters you can add to each photo, and each one has a specific type of border. You can also alter the photo’s brightness and contrast, perspective, warmth, saturation, highlights and shadows and sharpen the focus. Enhance your photo’s marketing value by adding a caption. If it’s a shot of a patient, use a short testimonial quote from them for even more marketing mileage.
Using relevant hashtags — #dentist, for example – in your captions allows Instagram users to find your photos and follow your posts. Use the hashtags on your other social media posts to encourage engagement.
How can you use Instagram?
- Show off those smiles – what could be more appropriate to help prospective and existing patients visualize your dental prowess than by showing off the results. Since patients are real people with real mouths, be sure to include pictures that reflect the age range of your patients.
- Show them what’s new — your new hygienist or a new doc, new products you now carry or new specialty services.
- Bring before-and-after photos to life by shooting a sequence of pictures and combining them into a single post. This is a great way to demonstrate how certain procedures work, too.
- Share behind-the-scenes shots – everyone loves “insider” details, so show them your stash of toothbrushes, how you prep your equipment, etc.
- Share pictures of your staff, too – at work, at play, volunteering in the community.
- Take a selfie of yourself and a patient with their phone (a staff member can take the picture), so they can post it to their Instagram page and tag your location. If they share the photo with you, you can post it to your page, too.
- Make it a contest for greater engagement – offer a prize to the person who shares the most popular photo of their new braces or super-pearly whites. Just give them a special hashtag to use on their photo submissions. You can comment on photos and like them, too.
Getting started and best practices.
- Choose a user name for your account that is identical or as similar as possible to your URL, practice name or other social names, so it’s consistent and easiest for people to remember.
- Pick someone to be responsible for your Instagram activity – you probably have at least one staffer who’s an expert already. Download the Instagram mobile app onto their smartphone or another mobile device you’ll be using in the office to take and customize photos.
- Try to be consistent about how often you post photos. Once a week is good.
- Respect confidentiality by asking permission before taking or posting pictures of patients. Use only first names (or none) in captions.
- When someone “tags” you by mentioning your Instagram username in a photo description, you can (and should) thank them by responding.
Instagram can help inform people about your practice in a professional but lighthearted way. Keep it fun, with candid “real-life” photos, and you’ll get the most from using Instagram to market your dental practice.
Looking for other marketing tactics for your dental practice? Why not try using dental postcards to attract your local market. If you are unsure about the effectiveness of postcards, then check out the success stories of other dental marketing campaigns.