Instagram has taken the world by storm over the last few years, with statistics showing it now boasts more than 500 million daily users.1 However, very few businesses are correctly clued up on the best ways to reach out to as many potential customers as possible.
Facebook and Twitter alone are no longer enough. In fact, a study recently discovered that teenagers are abandoning Facebook in favor of other social media sites—Instagram included.2 Indeed, around 72% of the teenagers studied said they used the app—and these are your patients of the future.
Since its inception in 2010, the social networking app has become one of the key tools used by businesses all over the world to market their products and services—with photo sharing as the emphasis.
In fact, Instagram is now considered one of the hottest social networks, thanks largely to the fact that it is visual, easy to use and quick to scroll through, giving users access to thousands of eye-catching images and short videos.
And in a world where seeing is believing, Instagram is a crucial tool for dental practices. Results and products can be shared with thousands almost instantaneously. Live streaming can be done at the touch of a button, and the value this could add to your business is priceless.
Let’s look at a few tips for getting started on this powerful marketing platform.
Getting started with Instagram
It’s important to choose an account name—also known as a “handle”—that isn’t too complicated. If your favored username is taken, avoid using numbers. Although numbers are often the simplest way to create a unique username, it can take away your credibility as a business. Unfortunately, numbers suggest that the page is not genuine.
Ensure your Instagram page is branded with all the correct information. Over the last couple of years, Instagram launched its business account feature. This allows users to connect with you directly via email, text message, or phone call straight through the app. A short description of the services you provide can also go a long way.
When to post
Regular posts are essential if your dental practice is to climb the Instagram ladder and garner the attention it desires. One post every two days, if not every day, is what you should aim for—enough to maintain a relationship with your target audience, but not too many to become irritating.
There are several myths floating around on the internet that there are particular prime times when it comes to posting on Instagram. Some studies have emphasized the importance of weekdays over the weekends, which tend to get more traffic.3 The best way to figure out what works for your business is to use Instagram’s own analytics tool, which allows you to work out times and days of the week produce the most interaction.
What to post
What should you post? Professionalism is key, but this doesn’t mean your account has to be boring—and nor should it be. Make sure there is a wide variety of content on your page. After all, it’s supposed to show off the personality of your dental practice.
Before and after photos of patients, for example, help to highlight the treatments you offer and what results patients can expect. These, alongside photos of your staff hard at work, also create the impression that your dental team is approachable and friendly.
Posting any discounts or offers, as well as oral health advice, can also go a long way. In an age where people make a living through fitness and nutrition accounts on Instagram, it is important not to underestimate the importance of health advice.
Additionally, regularly adding videos as posts to the page as well as to your Instagram stories is easy to do and is great for engagement. You can record videos (which can last up to 60 seconds) directly or post prerecorded videos, which can be edited with filters, time, and location added.
Tips for posting
Hashtags are essential if you are to keep attracting a steady stream of users. Don’t overload each post with too many—instead, choose a select few that best relate to the post. Hashtags such as #cosmeticdentistry, #teethwhitening, and your location would all be ideal additions to your post’s description.
One of app’s newest features is highlights. This is, essentially, the ability for users to save their Instagram stories and keep them on their profiles permanently. Utilize this, as it’s a great way to show off how your practice operates on a day-to-day basis.
The same applies to live streaming, which is growing in popularity—particularly in the cosmetic world. For example, surgeon Michael Salzhauer—commonly known as Dr Miami—was one of the first to broadcast his treatments using social media and, although controversial, it works. Slightly tempered, it can be effective for your dental business.
In essence, Instagram is a tool your business cannot afford to push aside. With it rapidly becoming one of the most used social media sites, it can be seen as an untapped hotbed of potential patients. With a little bit of time and a little bit of effort, your dental business will undoubtedly reap the benefits.
1. Mathison R. 22+ Useful Instagram Statistics for Social Media Marketers. Hootsuite website. https://blog.hootsuite.com/instagram-statistics/. Published January 24, 2018.
2. Anderson M, Jiang J. Teens, Social Media & Technology 2018. Pew Research Center website. http://www.pewinternet.org/2018/05/31/teens-social-media-technology-2018/. Published May 31, 2018.
3. Coomes K, Burgett G. When is the best time to post on Instagram? Digital Trends website. https://www.digitaltrends.com/photography/best-time-to-post-on-instagram/. Posted May 24, 2018.Shaz Memon is the creative director of Digimax and Digimax Dental and has worked with leading dental and nondental names. Digimax Dental uses nondental industries to infuse creative expertise into dental marketing. Some of Digimax’s clients include House of Fraser, McDonalds, Formula One, James Caan, and Caffè Concerto. Memon specializes in offering bespoke, creative, high-end design solutions that encompass branding, dental website design, dental SEO, e-marketing and more—just for dentists. Learn more at digimax.dental.