‘Take big leaps’ – Megan Fairhall discusses launching a social media profile

social media on laptop and phoneDuring the Smile Revolution podcast on 2 June, Megan Fairhall encourages her peers to give it a go and take risks.

Ten years ago, Megan Fairhall qualified from the University of Portsmouth with a degree in dental hygiene and dental therapy. She went straight into private practice, predominantly carrying out hygiene work. Pretty soon Megan started to feel a little bit frustrated by the monotony of her day job. She wanted more from her career.

Five years later, Megan started developing her brand #Livetosmile. As she explains in a podcast interview with Victoria Wilson: ‘I saw that social media was transforming a lot of industries and at that point not a lot of people in dentistry were utilising these channels. So I started building my own brand and talking about tooth whitening and cleaning treatments, so that patients could contact me directly and come to the practice to see me, which meant I no longer had to purely rely on referrals from the practice I was already working at’.

Growing the brand

When developing the plans for her campaign Megan wanted to create a lifestyle brand that was more relatable to the millennial generation. Her idea was to help inspire people from her generation to consider the aesthetic and health benefits of treatments in a positive light and as a sought after and desirable part of a health and beauty routine.

‘Social media helped break down barriers within dentistry – this was always my aim. It has encouraged people to book appointments directly with me and has had a huge impact on my career path’.

Megan commented that creating her brand needed a lot of thought and research. ‘A brand is an extension of yourself and reflects who you are as a person. I loved the process and it gave me a new passion for branding and marketing. So I am a hygienist, but this does not mean dentistry confines me. My scope as a professional broadens the different avenues I can undertake. Admittedly, it is difficult to let go and trust somebody else with your brand when you need to get help. If you are just outsourcing creative work, the best thing to do is look for reviews and get recommendations. Again social media is an ideal platform to exchange good contacts!’

Making a difference

Nowadays, according to Megan, it is a lot easier to create your own website. There are also different apps which you can use to create content. It has democratised dental hygiene and allowed whoever wishes to go on a different journey to do so without fear of judgment. Putting yourself out there means that you think your content is relevant and has a value, and so long as you feel it is going to make a difference, this is what ultimately matters.

‘I am trying to help the public and make an impact on their oral hygiene. If I can spread a positive message and that one post is making a difference to even one person then it is worth doing. It is all about having the right mindset. Ultimately if you don’t try what seems a good idea for you, it is going to frustrate you and leave you with regrets, so just give it a go’.

The dental beauty box

Megan also told Victoria during the podcast that: ‘The dental beauty box is my pride and joy. Coming from the dental industry, I wanted to combine dentistry and beauty to make it a bit more desirable. Patients may find it overwhelming to go down the dental oral hygiene aisle in the chemist. With so many different products to choose from, they trust my professional recommendations instead. I have included beauty and wellness products in the box too to make it more aspirational. This collaboration of beauty, dentistry and wellness makes me feel as if I have hit the jackpot, with the belief that I can have a positive impact on people’s lives on so many levels, is definitely thrilling.

‘With social media, you can only feel more connected, compared with years ago. There are forums, Instagram, smaller online groups. So social media has opened up new doors, which is particularly important for the profession. It can really be a lonely place when you confine yourself to the surgery on your own. So when you then go to conferences or events, you will be able to recognise people and their faces – even though you have never met them, that’s the power of social media!’

Tooth whitening

‘For me social media has been much more than a means to connect with people,’ Megan continues. Social media has made me stand out from my peers and given me incredible career prospects. Philips (Zoom whitening and Sonicare) and Unilever (Regenerate) approached me having seen what I was doing with my outreach to patients. That was the start of so many amazing opportunities working with those brands and being involved in things I would have never dreamt of when I was in university. I am also very proactive in my role with them now and I will reach out to them if I feel there is a good opportunity presenting itself.

‘Every hygienist and therapist is unique. ‘Everyone has something to offer and unique selling points that make them special. So with determination and hard work, everything is possible. Just figure out what makes you different, and what you are passionate about. Reach out to people and give it your best shot.

‘Beside my patients, it was important to me to also help other hygienists and therapists. I had found that whitening had become a huge part of my treatment focus. I wanted to share that passion with my peers. So Philips and I put together a series of whitening courses to show hygienists and therapists that there is something beyond back to back cleaning appointments. Whitening is within our scope of practice, albeit under a prescription.’

‘Take big leaps’

‘My reward is when hygienists and therapists walk out of my courses and start working on a marketing plan, on social media and implement what has been explained during these courses,’ Megan concludes. ‘Zoom take-home whitening demonstrations also help give my course delegates confidence to make a start with whitening. I run about 10 courses a year and locations are generally London, Manchester and Leicester. Although we can discuss locations wherever someone has a need. However, with lockdown limiting our travel opportunities at present, I am launching online training courses too.

‘There have been times in my career where dentists in the practice were receptive to my ideas. Other times, less so. But if you have a vision or a dream, you need to find people who will help you and allow you to make your ideas a reality. Let’s not forget how lucky we are to be able to always go back to the practice for your clinical work, which gives you that security. So take big leaps if you have to. You only have a few chances in life. Find your passion, be confident in everything you do and be fearless’.

Enjoy listening to the complete recording here:

For more information on whitening courses please visit www.eventbrite.co.uk/o/megan-fairhall-17244777321.

For Megan’s webinar in July, please visit: www.dentistrystudyclub.com/webinar/utilising-the-dental-hygienist-and-dental-therapist-and-teeth-whitening-treatments-in-practice.

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