IphoneA picture paints a thousand words, which is why you shouldn’t ignore photo-sharing app Instagram says Amy Rose-Jones

With over 400 million users gained in six short years, Instagram is one social media upstart that you really shouldn’t ignore. As a mobile photo app, it may be all about looks – but it’s far from shallow, providing a platform for sharing images and videos with picture enhancing filters fit for a pro. And if you think a dental practice isn’t a particularly attractive subject for a photoshoot, think again, your dental doings can provide a feast of photo opportunities to promote your smile friendly brand.

Influence

Don’t be put off by the fact that the largest percentage of its users are 18-34 year old women (after all young women want healthy teeth too!), there are plenty of men Instagraming, and though they may be a little slow on the uptake, the number of older people using this snappy app is sure to increase. Look how popular Facebook has become with silver surfers – your octogenarian aunt Agnes probably even has a profile – and this big shot social networking site is also Instagram’s big daddy so that means lots of parental influence. It’s not just individuals who have benefitted from sharing their profiles. Millions of businesses have embraced Facebook as a marketing tool, and it looks like Instagram is becoming a commercially attractive gizmo too.

Strategy

So is it just a case of snapping away and posting all the haphazard results? Not exactly; it’s about creating a visual, yet professional, reflection of your practice without too much heavy handed selling. Crafting an ever-changing photographic guide to what you do can make you seem a little less clinical and a lot more human.

And there’s all kind of pictures you can post: you can highlight members of your team, such as those offering expertise in a particular field of dentistry, or brave souls who have skydived for charity. The key is balance, you don’t want hundreds of pics of your staff wearing whacky outfits and crazy wigs, but a few fun ones mixed in with good looking imagery showcasing your state-of-the-art practice will go a long way to making you appear more welcoming. A simple photo of the message inside a grateful patient’s thank you card will speak volumes. And before and after smiles will show off your skills much more effectively than masses of marketing copy.

A few words of warning. Remember to stay relevant, you’re in the tooth business, so don’t go posting random photos of your latest celebrity crush – unless you’re personally responsible for their gleaming Hollywood smile! Also, use a variety of subjects and don’t go on a posting frenzy; you don’t want to saturate your followers’ feeds with endless images of teeth. Have a look here for a real mixed bag of images: www.instagram.com/dental_design_products/

Bring your photos to life with snappy comments. Unlike those character misers at Twitter, there are no limits on the length of your caption, but go easy, you don’t want to bore people with longwinded waffle. Make like a poet and trim down your words to encapsulate your photo perfectly. And by tagging certain photos with a hashtag, your posts will become more visible to more people, as this handy tool groups together all photos/videos that share the same hashtag.

Planning

Before you get going, it’s a good idea to have a cunning plan so you know exactly how you want your practice to come across. Though Instagram was designed to capture real time events, there is software that can schedule your posts to go out at specified times so you’ll never forget to upload a pretty picture, no matter how busy you are.

So give this snap happy app a try and open up your practice doors to a whole world of followers!


 

Amy Rose-Jones is marketing manager at Dental Design Products Ltd, a website design and marketing agency for the dental profession. She has more than 15 years of dental marketing experience which has given her a unique blend of design and online marketing skills.
WEBSITE: www.dental-design.co.uk
Twitter: @dentaldesign