As a dental practice owner, Instagram may well be the last thing on your mind. However, in the interests of attracting high-end patients for cosmetic dentistry, dental implants, and clear aligners, we strongly advise bringing Instagram more towards the forefront.
Your first response may be to ask why. After all, your day-to-day is flurried enough as is, amidst patients, appointments, and the general running of operations. The answer is that Instagram falls among the preferred mediums through which businesses can reach their audiences. More to the point, 3.7 billion users can’t be wrong.
So, what are we saying? Basically, if you’re not on Instagram, you’re missing out on an enormous pool of potential patients. What if you’re time-poor? Luckily for busy professionals like yourself, a strong Instagram presence requires no more than 10 minutes out of your day. How’s that for a good deal? Let’s break it down.
Before we break down each of the 10 minutes, let’s revisit the why. Why choose Instagram over other platforms? The truth is that Instagram took the best elements of Facebook and condensed them into a simpler, more visual format. And, despite its simplicity, Instagram’s developers continue to add new features that resonate with its audience.
As established, Instagram boasts 3.7 billion users total—and of these users, 90 per cent of them follow at least one business account. Sixty-eight per cent of all users log in daily, over a billion users log in monthly, and Instagram itself accrues 4.2 billion likes every single day. When you examine these numbers, the importance of Instagram becomes clear. If you’re not on Instagram, you have no horse in the race.
So, you’re including Instagram in your practice growth strategy. Fantastic! However, you’re now likely grappling with questions concerning what you should post, how often you should post, and which content will attract high-end patients. Fear not, for we’re about to break down how you should spend your 10 minutes on Instagram. Here’s where the real work begins.
Feeling overwhelmed already? We get it. If you’re unsure you can spare even 10 minutes a day, you can certainly delegate these responsibilities to 360 Dental Marketing. After all, we’re here to make life easier for dental practice owners. Please call us on 1300 777 847 or book your free consultation online.
Minute 1: Writing your Instagram bio
Think of your Instagram bio as a haiku: short and three lines long. (Well, you can exceed three lines, but you shouldn’t exceed three sections.) The first line is where you should write your practice name so that users will know who they’re dealing with. The second line should have a link to your website, which will help you to drum up traffic and bring users one step closer to your ‘BOOK APPOINTMENT’ button. Your third and final line is a wild card, so have fun with it! Perhaps add an emoji or write a fun fact about your practice.
Overall, an Instagram bio should be a short introduction that makes your intentions clear. Users respond well to bite-sized information they can digest at a glance.
Minute 2: Choosing what to post
Here’s a tip for free: don’t agonise over your posts. Although your website should feature original photography—preferably from a professional photoshoot—the stakes are not as high for your social media account(s). All that said, don’t rest on your laurels. Whether you’re using original photography or a quality stock image, you should strive for high-quality and engaging posts with captivating captions. What you needn’t fret over is getting the angle right or the lighting spot on.
Minute 3: Posting consistently
Although there’s no hard and fast rule about posting, you should post a minimum of three times a week. However many times you post, though, consistency will be key. What we mean by this is that once you’ve established your system, you shouldn’t change it up. If you post every day for a week and then post nothing the week after, users may find the shift abrupt—and Instagram will, too. Much like the human mind, Instagram will pick up on patterns. If you post without consistency, Instagram will notice and penalise this by pushing your posts to the bottom of followers’ newsfeeds. In turn, this will push your practice to the bottom of people’s minds, too.
Before we move on to our next point, we want to emphasise that posting consistently is not the same as spamming. In fact, spamming will get people off-side—especially if the content is low-quality. Our best advice is to post three photos a week on the same days each week. And when you do post, do it well with content that will engage.
Minute 4: Scheduling posts
Here’s another tip for free: schedule your posts for peak times—a good rule of thumb being 8 am or 6 pm. These are the times when people are either on their way to or finishing work. (Diligent) people won’t be scrolling through social media in the middle of a workday, so the best way to drum up engagement is to schedule your posts for when people will most likely be looking.
Minute 5: Creating your caption
Captions are key to hooking in your readers. Your first sentence is critical as it’s your best shot at grabbing users’ attention. How should you use your opening sentence? Our top recommendation is to address a pain point. For example, if you’re promoting veneers, you could lead with the question, ‘Want to smile with confidence again?’.
Whilst social media captions don’t always address pain points, captions for dental practices usually do. After all, your goal is to encourage bookings—and a lot of that depends on selling your services to patients. That said, dental captions can also entice an audience by sharing dental care tips, patient anecdotes, or behind-the-scenes snaps at the clinic. If you’re telling a short story, you should keep it sharp and engaging in a way that hits all the emotional beats you’re aiming for.
Remember: a social media context is casual, so formal language likely won’t fly here. You want to entertain or inform or appeal to a patient’s needs or desires. What do dental patients want from your practice? Asking this question can help you form your content.
You also want to keep things brief. Remember, your post is one drop in the ocean that is Instagram’s newsfeed. If you want to get a nibble, don’t take too long to get to the point. You want to hold interest, but you also want to reel in your catch.
Finally, you’ve got to keep your caption original and fun—so don’t neglect the emojis! Our recommendation is to use four emojis per post. That said, if you’re striving for a premium vibe, you should select your emojis wisely. Limit yourself to hearts, the tooth, and perhaps a phone emoji when you’re encouraging patients to call you.
Minute 6: Using hashtags
Hashtags are part of your caption. They follow the main body text and occupy their own space at the base. Hashtags are not merely the symbol (#) but also the words or acronyms (or sometimes numbers) that follow. You can click them to find related posts that also pertain to the topic at hand. For example, you could make your post more accessible to locals by using the hashtag, #dentistsofmelbourne.
Hashtags also help searchability. When using Instagram’s search feature, users will often search for specific hashtags. If someone searches for ‘#dentistsofmelbourne’, your post will fall among the results. This strategy is fantastic for your visibility.
Fun fact: you can’t exceed 30 hashtags per post—and this isn’t necessarily a bad thing. A wall of hashtags can overwhelm and appear spammy. A good rule of thumb is to use about 10 hashtags per post or fewer. The knack is to use hashtags that will target both mass and niche audiences.
Minute 7: Engaging with accounts that also target your audience
On Instagram, what goes around comes around. If you want users to engage with you, why not lead by example? Follow accounts that also target your audience, and leave them some comments and likes. Tag other accounts in your posts. Some may consider this to be fraternising with the enemy, but we say it’s spreading love! Engage and the whole platform engages with you. It’s a great way to build a community, keep up to date with the dental industry, and get your name out there.
Minute 8: Including a location in your post
If possible, always add a location to your post. The more local your post, the more locals will learn about your practice. If you’re writing a patient anecdote, it can help to mention the patient’s location. Users sometimes find a sense of solidarity in seeing patients representing their town or suburb.
Minute 9: Taking an extra minute
There are other ways to build your Instagram profile, but doing so may exceed our allotted 10 minutes. That said, you can certainly keep these tricks up your sleeve for future reference:
- Adding posts to your Instagram story, which will stay on your profile for 24 hours. If you want to keep a story post permanently, you can add it to your Highlights reel.
- Using Reels or IGTV to add longer videos to your profile.
- Partaking in Guides, which provides an easier way to discover recommendations, tips, and new content from favourited creators.
- Amping up the creativity—which is a whole separate blog post in itself.
Minute 10: Having fun
Finally, it’s important to enjoy your time on Instagram. This platform has a lot going on so be sure to explore and get inspired! If you don’t have a lot of followers initially, don’t fret. So long as you’re using the platform consistently, your audience should grow with time.
Rather than thinking of Instagram as an extension of your job, strive to enjoy the process. Social media can be a lot of fun so don’t get too bogged down in the admin!
Again, if this seems like a lot, we’re more than happy to break it down for you in person. Call 360 Dental Marketing on 1300 777 847 or book your free consultation online today. We can take all social media responsibilities off your plate so that you don’t have to spare even 10 minutes from your busy schedule. We can’t wait to talk all things Instagram with you.