Dentists on Instagram: Do or Don’t?

A root canal? Time for a selfie.

Instagram is everywhere. It’s at the Oscars, the White House, the bathroom, the shopping mall. NASA has is on Instagram. Stephen Hawking is on Instagram. Most importantly, your patients are on Instagram. Are you? Just as social media creates ways for people to connect with their family, friends, and coworkers, it also allows them to build more personal connections to their favorite businesses and brands. Let’s face it, overt advertising tactics aren’t winning any favors with young, social media savvy consumers. Instagram marketing was all but non-existent a few years ago. Today, three strategies stand out:

Behind the Scenes

Who doesn’t want to pull back the curtain for a closer peek? Musicians and fashion houses excel at this tactic, sharing a “backstage pass” viewpoint. It’s not only for half-made-up supermodels and after-parties, though. The healthcare world is still slightly mysterious in the eyes of patients, and there’s always a feeling that this mystery creates an impersonal feeling. What happens before and after the first and last patient of the day?

Photo-Sharing Challenges

Create your own hashtag, then invite your patients to snap images and post them using your hashtag. Every week, select and announce a winner. Need an infographic? We can help with that. Even if you don’t offer a tangible reward, the spotlight itself is reward enough for social media enthusiasts.

Before and After

The only thing people love more than seeing behind the scenes is sharing the spotlight for a moment, especially if they’ve recently undergone a radical transformation via, say, cosmetic dentistry. Remember to get explicit permission from a patient before posting an image, lest you violate patient confidentiality laws.

The Dos and Don’ts of Instagram for Dentists

DO respond to comments, whether negative or positive. Two-way communication is the crux of social media.

DO show pictures of your office after hours. Do you have a new digital x-ray machine? Share it, along with a few key benefits of digital radiography.

DO feature a different member of your team on occasion. How long have they been with you? Why do patients love them? It creates a strong relationship between patients and staff, and among staff members.

DO document your good deeds. Are you sponsoring a local sports team? Participating in a fundraiser for a nonprofit? Snap a few pics for posterity.

DO master the exquisite art of the hashtag, using only a few relevant, carefully chosen topics.

DON’T wear out your welcome. A few posts per week will ensure visibility without coming across as spam.

DON’T go crazy with filters, especially in before and after pictures. Patients shouldn’t have to wonder whether images of your handiwork have been edited.

DON’T forget to ask for patient consent before posting their image online.

DON’T #overdo #hashtags. The more you use, the less relevant they’re likely to be.

DON’T make it all about me-marketing. An effective content strategy is more subtle than overtly promotional. Instagram users want to see, not to read or buy.

Instagram is fun, but the right approach makes it functional. Is your practice on Instagram? Why or why not? Comment below!

About Jill: Jill Nastasia, CEO and Director of Business Development at MDPM, couldn’t decide on Dentstagram or Instadent for the title of this post. To connect with Jill, contact her at 972-781-8861, or send her an email.