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Are You In on Instagram? by Dr. Dovi Prero

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Dentaltown Magazine

Dr. Dovi Prero discusses the top 10 types of Instagram posts that helped build his practice—and how they can help yours, too

by Dr. Dovi Prero

When I started Prero Orthodontics in late 2014, I’d already been on Instagram for four years, using it for photos of the family and adding cool filters. In early 2016, I dove heavily into using Instagram for the office, and I began seeing patients come directly from the platform about 6 months later. It’s more important than ever for your practice to have a substantial presence on Instagram. In this article, I’ll review some of the reasons for this phenomenon and give you pointers for your practice as well. Let me show you why and how!

Overarching principles

Be where your patients are. Back in the days of the Yellow Pages, doctors would take out ads there because that’s where people looked to find information. When the internet started to become popular, we built websites on it because that’s where people were spending their time. Now, our patients and their parents are spending time on social media—Instagram, specifically. To be in front of their eyes, it’s imperative to have a substantial presence there: This is what’s known as “top-of-mind marketing.”

Grow your Instagram following. Encouraging friends, family and patients to follow your page is a great start. Consider offering a contest with giveaways and prizes to encourage followers and gain momentum.

Consider influencer marketing. An influencer, by definition, is someone who has influence over a certain segment of the population. In the social media setting, that means someone who has a large following. Think of social media as a microphone to broadcast your message: If you partner with an influencer, you’re using a louder microphone to broadcast that message to a wider audience.

Validate your referrals. Very often, patients will need to hear your name a few times before they take action. If they follow you on Instagram and then their doctor refers them, it now becomes a validated referral, like the second time someone suggests you.

Education and storytelling are essential. The best way to truly engage with your audience is through education—teaching them what it’s like to treat patients and explaining why you’re passionate about your practice. When I speak to my audience, I usually speak in terms that a first-year dental student would understand on the first day of dental school. You can speak in complex terms, but it’s important to elevate your audience and raise their dental IQ, empowering them to make the best decisions for their health.

Instagram is a great way to highlight the interesting and exciting things going on in your office. It is a tool, among many others, that can help your practice grow. On the next pages, I’ll share some examples of the posts that have worked great for my practice (which you can follow at @preroorthodontics). Wishing you continued success!

The top types of Instagram posts

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Happy patients
The biggest mistake I see is when a practice posts a picture of a patient alone, by themselves. It’s always a good idea to have the patients with the doctor, with staff, with their friends or even their parents, but never a patient alone. When they’re alone, it gives the feeling that they are just that: alone. Aim to engender a feeling of community and togetherness.

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Believe it or not, people want to see teeth! The public enjoys becoming more educated, and they can actually tell a quality finish. They love the nuances of cases. When prospective patients see a before-and-after post where the “before” shows something similar to their case and the “after” illustrates a nicely treated outcome, it engenders confidence in the doctor and encourages patients to reach out to the office because now they know—now they’ve seen—that the doctor can fix their problem.

Tips: Good-quality photographs will go a long way, and using the same perspective in the photos will give the most dramatic result. In the caption, be sure to explain how the goals were accomplished: Consider using the Keynote application to design the post, and the iWatermark app to place your logo on the photos.

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Acknowledging gratitude and mentorship
Patients love seeing their doctor display gratitude. Expressing thanks to those around us who support and inspire us illustrates how we’re all students and can learn from others. These posts further humanize the practice and make the doctors more relatable, too.

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Family shots
Posting about family—whether a spouse, a parent, a child, an aunt or uncle, or close friends that are like family—gives context to the doctor. It shows that you are more than just running a practice and gives you a chance to display your positive character traits. It also shows that you are someone other people can rely on.

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Technology displays
When we make great investments in technology for our practices, don’t keep it behind the walls of your office. Showing the technology is an ideal way to exhibit your commitment to staying up to date.

Take photos with your digital scanner (I use the iTero) and highlight the feature of the simulated outcome—it’s so exciting for patients to see that we’ve had prospective patients come in asking to be scanned so that they can see their own simulations.

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Yelp reviews
One of my favorite posts! Patients are always writing great reviews for us, but people only see them if they go to the review site. (Also, sometimes the site will “backpage” a review and not make it easily accessible to the public.) A great way to publicize a great experience at your office: Take a screenshot of the review, then use the Squaready app to make the photo a perfect square and add a red border around it. This makes it easily recognizable how great the experience is at your office.

Personalized holiday content
Holiday wishes are always a great thing, but I encourage doing a personalized photo with the doctor and staff, rather than canned generic content.

Reveal videos
I learned this one from my friend and fellow Townie Dr. Grant Collins, who practices in Rochester, Minnesota. (His IG handle is @TheBracesGuy.) The reveal captures the first moment patients look at their smiles after their braces are removed. It’s often a bit emotional, and very exciting to watch. Patients look forward to participating in these videos, too. One of the best parts is the interaction between parent and child. A once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to capture this intimate moment.

Hobbies and activities
Another great way for patients to relate to you is for them to see you in activities outside the office. Sharings posts with you doing your favorite hobbies or activities can create talking points and things in common with patients.

Happy team posts
A happy team is one of the most important assets a practice can have. Seeing camaraderie and a positive culture makes people feel at home and imbues confidence in their decision of choosing a doctor. When patients see an office at which the employees are happy, the vibe is contagious.


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