Five steps to bringing Instagram to life
Shaz Memon gives five simple ways to help bring your Instagram profile to life for potential dental patients.
We are craving human connection more than ever before. Relationships give us the feeling of belonging as well as a sense of identity. In the digital world, it is easy to lose the essence of those all-essential human connections.
Online, while the efficient and flexible exchange of information is a commodity, there needs to exist a deeper and more meaningful relationship between a business and its clients if it is to build and nurture trust.
Too often we view online interactions as a shortcut to building relationships. How many of us refer to our 600 Facebook friends and 1,000 Instagram followers. But then rarely actively engage with the people behind the accounts?
In dentistry, the role of a dental practice – in its most simplistic terms – is to help solve people’s problems.
We often associate the rise of the internet with the loss of essential human elements. This is unfortunate for dentists who arguably still have to work hard at appealing to the general public.
An appointment with the dentist rates highly on the list of most common fears. Statistics from the Oral Health Foundation suggest almost half of UK adults have a fear to some degree.
Happily, cosmetic dentistry is helping to changing that general perception. Accessibility to aesthetic improvements and smile makeovers entice many into the chair.
What is important in any dental marketing campaign is the need to personalise social media posts. Add a layer of intimacy and familiarity to the treatments you promote.
Additionally, any dental marketing activity should give voice to the team as well as focus on their capabilities. Be inclusive as well as targeting the right audience. Showcase real people who are happy with how you’ve solved their ‘problems’.
In a culture of instant gratification and easy access to information, it is vital dentists and their teams support relationships with communication in the real world. Whilst the foundations can be built digitally, dental teams need to follow through with more human interactions.
In effect, your online profile should reflect the in-house experience and vice versa. It should also impart with clarity the treatments you offer and the experience they can expect at the door.
1. Make it personal
Make sure you personalise your Instagram account. The platform is well placed to showcase you and your team, as well as your services, your happy patients and your success in meeting their expectations by delivering great treatment results.
Award-winning dentist, Dr Monik Vasant, has 13.5k followers on Instagram (drmonik) thanks to his mix of posts that include smile makeovers, patient videos and testimonials, updates on the international dental courses he runs and some family shots.
He advises: ‘Let your current and prospective patients and colleagues see your talents and passion. Not only in dentistry but outside of it, too. Your personality and what you are all about should shine through.’
Faceless practice posts do little to enhance the image of dentistry. So, ignite that spark in your followers to encourage them to make the step from online curiosity to becoming a patient in your chair.
2. Become more animated
Video offers so much more than a single image can convey. It gives you the ability to tell an engaging story via multiple images, music, and even interviews and patient testimonials.
Social platforms are improving their video formats all the time to help clients like you develop deeper forms of engagement. Instagram allows users to upload video clips up to a full minute. That’s more than enough to capture a patient reaction to a remodelled smile or introduce the newest member of your team.
Additionally, Instagram Stories allows us to post photos and videos in slideshow format, which disappear after 24 hours. It’s a great feature that enables practices to share highlights or moments that they may not want to keep permanently on their feed. People who don’t follow you can still see them so it can give them insight and offers a great snapshot of what you and your business is all about, enticing them to find out more by following your account.
3. Be the person you claim to be
The dating business is a commonly referenced scenario where the online persona failed to live up to expectations on the first date. Strangely, dentistry is no different. Good dental care is inevitably powered by the trust patients have in you, and those who find you online will expect to enjoy similar experiences to those who you share in your dental marketing. Anything less than that and you run the risk of disappointing them and losing your integrity.
Whether your dental marketing portrays a child-friendly team or treatment within a slick city spa-like setting, you need to deliver on your promises. Don’t be that balding 55-year-old bloke with fat rolls whose profile picture on a dating app is of him 20 years younger, much more hirsute and with a six-pack.
Dr Manrina Rhode is a facio-aesthetic dental surgeon with an impressive following of 18.2k. She explains: ‘People follow you because they want to get to know you better and they want to know the real you. If you hide who you really are, it’s harder for the public to relate to you or engage. Post Instagram Stories often – daily if possible so your followers get an insight into your life.’
4. Have that conversation
The current trend on Instagram is to write lengthier captions – mini blogs, if you will – to support the imagery share. The key here is to divide it up into sections or add emojis to your text so that there are enough breaks to disguise large blocks of text. This makes the caption more engaging and the information easier to process – especially when it comes to explaining treatments and their benefits.
Not everyone will invest time into digesting the written word so limit these posts because Instagram is, after all, a photo-led platform.
Besides which, you simply cannot share everything about your business online. Whilst your dental marketing can go a long way towards giving an over-arching feel for your practice, potential patients will need to speak to and hear from the ‘real’ you in order to make that all-important transition into your chair.
Sign off in some of your social media posts by inviting potential patients to make contact, pick up the phone or email by sending them to a link in your bio – a clickable URL you deem to be the most valuable.
And when they do make contact, be the team you are online by reflecting what they see in your social media accounts. For those already in your appointment book, take the time to follow up appointments with a phone call to ask if they are happy post-treatment and if there is anything further you can do for them. Be accessible both online and in the real world.
5. Share the love
Inspire your followers with the digital storytelling of patient journeys. Use imagery, videos with the patients recounting their experience to the camera. Create a personal narrative to share with your target audience. That way, followers can focus on the words as well as the visuals. This has tremendous potential for motivating followers to enquire further – and ultimately seek treatments with you.
The Instagram accounts that offer real visual insights into a person or business tend to be the most successful. They share genuine and personal glimpses into their world. Often, the owners of successful dental accounts speak their followers’ language. They include content that feels authentic and is written by you rather than a marketing team. Stay true to yourself when posting content and engage in real terms. You have a much greater chance of a long-term relationship with patients and are far more likely to grow your audience in an organic and positive way.
Shaz Memon’s Amazon bestselling book, Instagram for Dentists offers a definitive guide to boosting business using the social media platform.
Instagram boasts an incredible one billion monthly active users. Many cite it as the best place online to get great engagement from potential patients. To order your copy, click here. All profits go to Wells on Wheels.