In this day and age of digital marketing, we have a plethora of digital marketing tools to use – your own website, blog, Facebook page, Twitter account, LinkedIn profile, and so forth. Your dental practice has so many options to share information with your patients and potential patients. You want to tell them what your company is all about, who your team is, and how fun and personable you are. Have you considered Instagram-ing your smiles?
A picture says a thousand words, and in this case, Instagram allows users to share photos with each other with a click of the button from their iPhone or Android camera to their online profile. If you haven’t thought about Instagram for your dental practice, why not? Are you already posting your office team photos or patients’ before and after case photos online somewhere – perhaps your website or Facebook? Why not try uploading them to Instagram? After all – dentistry, especially cosmetic restorations, is all about the visuals.
One of our Frontier clients and Institute instructors, Dr. Robert Soto, showcases a great example of how he uses Instagram for his followers – whether they are patients, family, friends, or the general public. Visit his Instagram page @life.of.a.dentist to follow or to see examples on how to use Instagram for your dental practice. He is able to showcase his friendly personality, technical work, beautiful restorations, and acknowledgement to the beautiful city he lives in with photos. Through his Instagram account Dr. Soto has developed his own unique social media brand online, consistent with his website and personality.
Like Dr. Soto, you can start your own Instagram account. It’s free and easy to do. Here are 7 beginner’s tips for starting your dental practice’s Instagram account:
- Designate a dedicated team member to manage the account – Assign a dedicated team member to be trained in Instagram, create a schedule of how often to update posts, and create rules as to what content to post and what tone of captions/messages to post with the photos. One thing you want to avoid is having multiple people posting at different times throughout the week with different writing styles captioning the photos.
- Post regularly but have fun and meaningful content – Make sure you post a variety of photos that are fun and unique, yet meaningful to your company. Keep your company brand in mind. For example, if you are a kid-friendly dental practice, make sure you post some family oriented posts such as children’s drawings given to you or that large treasure chest of kids treats you allow your patients to select a toy out of. Post photos of your team outings doing something charitable or fun. If you are aesthetics focused, post some before and after photos. Just make sure you have permission before you post any photos with people, whether it be from your team members or your patients.
- Use hashtags (#) and tags (@) in your posts – Hashtags are used generally at the end of a post description on topics that are related to the photo. These hashtags are used in order for people to search topics of interests to find photos/posts. Examples of hashtags: #dentistry #ilovedentists #veneers #dentalpractice. Make sure to use hashtags relevant to your posts.Tags are used to tag a person or a company that also has an account on Instagram. For example if we posted a photo on Instagram of a before & after case and it was completed by Dr. Robert Soto, we would put a caption such as “We just finished a beautiful 6 unit case for @the_life_of_a_dentist. Check out this amazing smile!” Similar to a chain reaction, tagging others in your photos will create an announcement on their profiles – and alerts their followers of the post as well. You can help gain more followers with tags.
- Use comments to your advantage – Your followers might comment on a photo. Take time to respond to comments posted as it acknowledges that there’s a human behind your account taking the effort to stay in touch with your followers. Comment on others photos that might be relevant. By staying active, you gain more followers and also are part of the online community.
- Link your Instagram account with your other Social Media accounts to save time – Instagram allows you to link your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare or Flickr account so that your Instagram photo will also be posted on any of those sites you have linked. This saves you time from having to post on each different account.
- Make sure to tell patients about your Instagram account – Some methods of encouraging your patients to visit and follow your Instagram account is to 1) create a button or link on your website asking them to follow your account 2) run an office contest, whereby your patients in the waiting room can add/follow your Instagram account and be entered to win a prize through a draw 3) when sending promotional material to have an Instagram logo and your username so they can find you. The more people you tell, the more traffic you get to your account.
- Follow other dental accounts on Instagram – See what others are doing on their Instagram accounts so you can learn tips or ideas of photos to post to generate traffic and promote your brand. Why not start by following us @frontierdentallab, Dr. Robert Soto @life.of.a.dentist, California Dental Association @cda_dentists, and Henry Schein @henryschein?
This article was written by Alice Wong, Business Development Manager at Frontier Dental Laboratories. She manages FDL’s marketing and social media activities. In her spare time, Alice in an online food blogger with Vancouver Bits & Bites. You can follow her on Instagram @alicejhwong.