Sam Jethwa explains how he uses his Instagram account to market his dental practice through a number of different strategies.
The online consumer experience has never been so key to business survival. We all adapted to new ways of working. The pandemic propelled a mass of executives into the world of digital communications. For those without any previous online presence, it was a steep learning curve.
According to Lloyds Bank, more than half of all UK spending has now shifted to online. They suggest COVID-19 has: ‘Fundamentally changed where and how we have spent our money over the last 12 months’.
Permanent shift in behaviour remains to be seen. There is an argument for continued engagement for those businesses looking to ride any further waves in this global health crisis.
Of course, dentistry also took a hit in this derailing of the economy. Lockdown forced practices to shut doors from March until June 2020. This left practices bereft of patients and challenged in their bid to win back patient trust and deliver the care they always had but in a new COVID-19 world.
For some practice owners, this served as a green light to up their game in their digital comms. This would future-proof existing relationships with their patient base. So, if dental websites and the accompanying social media activity has remained static in the past 12 months ago, then dentists might be missing a trick.
Dr Sam Jethwa has been described by colleagues as a perfectionist whose marketing strategy is second to none. Consistent and frequent, social media has given Sam the opportunity to tell his story. To drive people to his practice and develop a picture of his brand – swiftly and creatively. All to a highly engaged audience.
Sam explains: ‘In my opinion, there is no better platform than Instagram. The ability to curate one’s own brand image through multiple options of posts, stories, IGTV, and reels really allows us to share a diverse range of content with our audience on one single platform. Obviously, Instagram is also entirely suited to cosmetic dentistry because of its visual element.’
Sam embraces all these options to relay his key marketing messages. He says: ‘We are very non-prescriptive when it comes to our social media content strategy. Our focus is to share our story, our vision and our patients – in fact, everything that makes our clinic unique. Whatever we find exciting, we share on our platforms, helping viewers to share in this sentiment, too.’
His approach to his Instagram account is certainly innovative. In among the delighted patient smile makeover reactions, press coverage and before and after pictures are less formal posts that introduce the team. His short video of them dancing is a highlight. These all help to break down the barriers for patients in a fun way.
He also posts images of him lecturing and relaxing away from work. He even shares images of his mini sausage dog, Snoopy (who has his own Instagram account by the way). This imagery helps to strip back the professional face and reveal something more relatable.
Sam is also a perfectionist when it comes to interaction with patients. He takes patient communications seriously. He says: ‘Our patient care coordinator will always respond to messages, reviews, and engage with any clients who follow our pages – frequently and rapidly.’
This ‘quick to respond’ approach can benefit the management of patient expectations. As well as boost patient numbers.
‘The biggest barrier to break down between a prospective patient and dentist is always one of trust.’ Sam says. ‘Patients need to know they can communicate with us openly and confidently, and so our aim is always to build on that when we market our practice. That is why there is a strong focus on our team – in video content, photos, and when posting “before and after” images, too.
‘We make it clear which dentist has carried out the treatment. This allows viewers to learn about the people behind the dentistry, and choose who they may wish to see.’
But there is an additional reason to reach patients in this way, especially if dentists and their teams are to ensure longevity of smiles. Key oral health messages also need to be shared in tandem with the other posts if practices are to demonstrate that the interests of potential patients lie at the very heart of what they do.
Good oral hygiene
Sam says: ‘Of course, there is more to cosmetic dentistry than just amazing smiles, which is why it is so important to me that prospective patients who may find me on social media understand that.
‘The functional elements of clinical dentistry are key to achieving a successful result. As a clinic, we also share oral hygiene instructions, whitening videos, and other frequently asked questions or top tips to help our patients, and anyone else who happens upon our account, with simple advice.
‘We have worked with Oral-B to promote good brushing technique using the Oral-B Test Drive. People have received this very well. As well as with its latest toothbrush model, the Oral-B Io – an interactive electric toothbrush that really helps to guide patients to achieve optimal coverage.
‘Of course, there’s no point a patient investing in expensive cosmetic work if they can’t master good oral hygiene. The Io gives them the guidance they need to perfect their technique.’
For those yet to embrace a similar approach to Sam’s bespoke formula, there may be inspiration to be found in the cosmetic dentist’s Instagram account.
Taking one of Sam’s Instagram posts out of context that references his team – ‘a magic formula created to deliver the very best’. You could say the same about the way he is choosing to share his story.
This article was first commissioned for Dentistry magazine. Read the latest issue of Dentistry magazine here.