When you’re smilin’ the whole world smiles with you. A dental Instagram account is the secret to sharing your smiles with the world
The work you do in a dental office is so often hidden away. Hair salons, restaurants, even car dealerships share pretty pictures of their work with the world. Do dental practices share, too? Not as much as you would think. Facebook and Twitter are two obvious social media stops for a dental practice, but have you considered a dental Instagram account?
Instagram is a visually-based social sharing tool that allows all industries to show off their work. And there’s a good chance at least some of your audience will see your work. Instagram has over 600 million users and a report from the Pew Research Center published in 2015 notes that 53% of 18 – 29 year-olds use Instagram.
- Create an account: Instagram is a mobile app, so you’ll need a smartphone or tablet to set up your account. Beyond that, there isn’t anything unexpected in creating an account for a dental practice. Choose an email address and password that you can share with other staff members if you will be sharing the dental Instagram account with your team.
- Choose your account name: Your account name should, if possible, be the name of your dental practice. If that name isn’t available, try something that will be consistent with your online identity, so it is easy for your audience to find. For instance, City Dental is a popular name for a dental practice. City Dental, in Cooper City, Florida, worked around that problem by naming their Instagram account, “CityDental2.”
- Upload your profile photo: It’s important to remember that your photo will be small, so choosing something that is easily identified is key. Your best choice, of course, is your company logo. At the very least, choose something that you can use across social media platforms, so whether your customers find you on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, they know it’s you. Mountain View Family Dental, with seven offices in the Denver, Colorado area, is one practice that uses an identifiable logo, making it easy to quickly spot them on multiple social media platforms.
Use your dental Instagram account: getting started
- Post carefully: Instagram is a visual medium. This doesn’t mean you need a professional photographer or graphic designer to create your posts. It does mean that you need to check your photos carefully. Photos should be clear, visually enticing, and should tell a story. Pearl Family Dentistry does an excellent job of interspersing real photos with colorful dentistry-related graphics.
- Post thoughtfully: Your dental Instagram account is, most likely, a way to communicate and share with your patients, and not with other dental professionals. The occasional before and after photo is fine, but please bear in mind that most of your followers aren’t following you on Instagram so they can see pictures that should be relegated to dental textbooks. Steveston Smiles, in British Colombia, posts a variety of patient-centric images that promotes the practice with only a rare before and after style photo.
- Post regularly: Any social media account requires regular activity. There is little consensus, however, on the best posting frequency for Instagram. There is little argument on the importance of quality, though. Whether you post once per day, three times a week, or five times daily, consistency and quality are way more important than quantity. Remember, as a business, your social media presence is marketing, and it represents your practice. The Smile Company, in Maryland Heights, Missouri, does a nice job of posting multiple times per week, including a nice mix of personality posts and some adorable kids!
- Post hashtags: Hashtags are the file cabinet of the social media world. Hashtags help organize your images so your audience can find you. The beauty of hashtags is that you can use them effectively to reach a global audience and your local audience at the same time. For instance, if you search in Instagram for #LosAngelesDentist, you get, among other names, Dr. Chelsea Pinto, who has over 1,300 Instagram followers. Dr. Pinto successfully uses hashtags to help clients in Los Angeles and Santa Monica find her practice, but she also uses universal hashtags, like #dentist, #teeth, and #smile to reach a much wider audience.
It’s that easy to create and use a dental Instagram account to promote your practice. Instagram is a great way to share the personality of your practice and have some fun with your audience. Best of all, it’s a free marketing platform. It will, of course, cost you a little in terms of time and effort, but after that, it is some of the best advertising you can do.
Does your practice have an Instagram account? Has it helped you engage your existing patients or attract new ones? We’d love to hear your story in the comments.