Why Your Dental Practice Should Have an Instagram Account
Instagram may not immediately come to mind when you think about patient acquisition and retention strategy, but dismissing it as part of your dental marketing program may be a mistake. If your practice doesn’t have an account, you’re missing a great opportunity to showcase yourself and take advantage of reaching potential new patients that you might not be exposed to otherwise.
In this blog post, we’re going to give you a little crash course on Instagram to help you understand this platform, it’s users, how you can utilize it in your dental patient marketing program and why you should start today. So, let’s dig in!
INSTAGRAM: WHAT IS IT?
Almost anyone who owns a business or runs a practice knows that having an account on Facebook and Twitter is nearly as important as having a website. It’s well established that these social media channels are often where users go to get information on a practice that they are considering. They provide insight on the internal culture, personality of the office, and ultimately help to inform their decisions. The absence of these accounts can damage your credibility as a practice because this is considered a standard, but this truth extends to Instagram as well.
Instagram differs from other platforms in that it is built almost entirely around sharing images and videos. Since it’s launch, it’s become a popular way to connect with brands, public figures, thought leaders and more. What began as a trendy social media sharing channel, that skewed towards a younger demographic, has exponentially increased in popularity in recent years, due in part to the ease of mobile photography. In 2016, Instagram announced business profiles and business tools making it easier than ever for businesses to gain exposure and brand recognition, and socially connect with their audiences through the platform.
INSTAGRAM USERS: WHO ARE THEY?
Instagram boasts nearly 1 billion users, and climbing, per month. And these users have a few unique qualities that set the platform apart and make a case for taking the plunge into active account status. Research shows that Instagram users are highly active and engaged when compared to other channels, especially interactions with companies, practices and brands.Key findings to consider show that 22% of Instagram users log in at least once a day, and 38% check in multiple times a day which creates opportunities for greater exposure.
If you’re looking to expand your base to a younger audience,look no further. 34% of users are millennials (age 23-38), representing the largest advertising audience on Instagram, and a staggering 73% of Generation Z(age 18-22) are active users. These generational groups favor Instagram as the platform of choice so if you’re hoping to reach them, you need visibility on Instagram.
Consider for a moment that the lifetime value of a young patient can far exceed that of a middle-age or senior patient. Gaining and retaining patients in this age group can have a huge and positive financial impact on your practice. But let’s not over look the fact that for Generation X (age 39-54), Instagram is a close second to Facebook. So, the take-away here is that if don’t have an Instagram account,you’re missing out on expanding your patient base and you’re being passed over for practices that have already cultivated an active following.
HOW CAN I USE INSTAGRAM FOR MY DENTAL PRACTICE?
At this point, you may be convinced that having Instagram for your practice makes sense, but how can a dental practice effectively use this platform for patient acquisition and retention? The quick answer is that Instagram is a platform that celebrates visual storytelling, and dentistry is an industry that is driven largely by aesthetics. This is not to minimize the overwhelming impact of dental health on a person’s overall health, but to point out how the nature of dentistry fits perfectly into this visual model.
Instagram provides an opportunity to showcase smile makeovers, before and after braces photos, educational images, videos and infographics, pictures of happy patients and office staff and memorializing events and impactful moments in your practice. This is the type of content that draws in potential patients and strengthens relationships with your existing base to improve retention.
Here are just a few ways to use Instagram to promote your practice:
· BEFORE & AFTERS: Feature your patients and show before and after photos of your dental work on real patients – just be sure to get their permission first.
· FEATURED TEAM MEMBERS: Introduce your dental team and office staff through employee features so followers can get to know your practice.
· EDUCATIONAL CONTENT: Share educational content in the form of videos and infographics.
· BEHIND THE SCENES: Give followers a sneak-peak behind the scenes of your office. Instagram tends to be a little less formal than other platforms, so don’t be afraid to have some fun with these types of posts.
· USER-GENERATED CONTENT: Promote user-generated content. One example is a photo sharing contest using a hashtag that is unique to your promotion and practice.
· HASHTAGS: Research and use hashtags to increase your reach and visibility on your posts
· RESPOND: Be diligent about interacting with your followers by responding to comments
· FOLLOW OTHERS: Follow other accounts and hashtags that are relevant to your industry and interact with them by contributing comments and liking posts.
If you think you’re ready to create an Instagram account for your practice, be sure to plan out a few posts in advance. It’s best to post with regularity, whether that’s once a week or five times a week, as long as it’s consistent and you’re offering quality content, your following will organically grow. Once you have an established account, you can even take advantage of Instagram marketing and create advertisements with precision targeting for patient acquisition.
If you need help setting up your account or planning an Instagram calendar, Storihale can help. Click here to get started!