Instagram – The Visual Marketing Tool
Instagram has grown since its inception in 2010 into a platform that can be a powerful tool for Dental Practices to engage and connect with new and existing patients.
According to Instagram stats, this social media app has a whopping 500+ million global daily users .
DOES INSTAGRAM HAVE A PLACE IN DENTISTRY?
Unfortunately, a website alone is no longer enough to give you a strong online presence.
With almost half a billion people actively using Instagram each day, it makes sense to consider if your Practice should use the Instagram platform. Instagram can help you:
- Establish trust by allowing your patients to get to know you beyond their dental visit
- Target a local client base
- Share educational or informational content about treatments and new products
WHEN SHOULD YOU POST ON INSTAGRAM?
You can grow your Instagram following by posting on a regular schedule. To maintain a relationship with your target audience, try to post something at least every couple of days, or even once per day as long as you are consistent.
Several studies  stress that choosing the right time to post on Instagram is important. Use Instagram’s analytical tools within the business account feature to help you determine the best days and times for your Practice to post on Instagram so you can maximise audience engagement.
Instagram’s business account feature also allows current and potential patients to connect with you instantly via email, text message or a phone call, so you need to engage with as many followers as possible.
WHICH DEMOGRAPHIC USES INSTAGRAM AND WHAT IT MEANS FOR YOUR PRACTICE?
Instagram users in the United Kingdom represent 54% of adult males and 67% of adult females between the ages of 25 and 44. Over 85% of these adults are millennials between the ages of 25 and 34.
A recent study  revealed teenagers are choosing social media platforms like Instagram over Facebook. Around 72% of the teenagers studied had used the Instagram app, and these teenagers are your potential future patients.
By adding this platform to your marketing programme, the online presence of your Practice will increase by the heightened SEO ranking. It is the reaction of these young adults to your posts that can lead to referrals to your Practice.
In today’s visual society, service-oriented practices can no longer rely on word-of-mouth referrals. It is the positive experience on social media that drives business.
HOW TO GET STARTED
Create the handle (account name) and hashtags that are easily identifiable and relevant to your Practice. Some key things to remember:
- Pay attention to the Instagram posts of your competitors to maintain your edge in the market
- Focus on local hashtags to maximise your visibility in your local community
- Research which hashtags are trending in your local market
- Don’t overshadow your message with too many hashtags
- Tag other local services to connect with potential patients
WHAT SHOULD YOU POST?
Postings should relate directly to your Dental Practice and be engaging, community-oriented and fun. Postings shouldn’t detract from the professional value and reputation you have built for your Practice. The tone of your postings reflects your business. Some suggestions include:
- Photos, videos of Holiday parties, charitable events and the celebration of new team members or patients to visually promote your brand.
- Helpful advice on oral health and discounts on services to deepen your patient outreach.
- Before-and-after photos of patients. These photos can tell the story better than words.
- Knowledge of community events such as health fairs, 5K charity runs, and art festivals to engage your Practice with the public.
- Instagram highlights about your Practice. Use this newest feature to create a highlight slideshow of how your Practice operates, to introduce your staff, showcase award ceremonies, participation in dental conventions, etc.
- Live streaming of an innovative service, so existing and potential patients can get a glimpse into what it entails. Or, a Q & A session on a particular service.
- Share a personal post occasionally so your followers can get a peek into your interests outside of dentistry and establish trust in your service.
CAN YOU SHARE YOUR POST?
Although Instagram is quickly becoming known as the most popular of the social networks, it does not offer a ‘share’ or a ‘repost’ feature like its competitors in the digital space. Instagram is testing for a ‘regram’ feature. In the meantime, don’t be afraid to cross-point by connecting to your other social media applications.
INCLUDE A STRONG CALL TO ACTION
To increase engagement with your posts include a call to action that directs your followers to act, such as liking your post.
To make your call to action even more powerful include an incentive such as a discount on a service.
INSTAGRAM IS A FUN AND RELEVANT WAY TO PROMOTE YOUR BUSINESS!
Instagram is an integral tool for your marketing arsenal, and it can be fun. It also complements your Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter profiles.
Instagram can keep your existing patients engaged and help you connect with new patients. However, most dentists can’t dedicate the time to keeping up with emerging technologies. Contact Digimax Dental if you’d like assistance with your social media accounts and tips on how to maximise your social media presence.
Shaz Memon is the creative director of Digimax and Digimax Dental and has worked with leading dental and non-dental names. Digimax Dental uses non-dental industries to infuse creative expertise into dental marketing. Some of Digimax’s clients include House of Fraser, Mcdonalds, Formula One, James Caan and Caffe Concerto. Shaz specialises 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 www.digimax.dental.