Tapping into the power of social media
Very few aspects of our modern world are as pervasive as social media. It has quickly become part of the home, workplace and just about every other element of daily life. It also continues to evolve at such an astonishing rate that it’s difficult to predict exactly what changes it will bring about next. What we do know is that social media usage is increasing rapidly, especially at a time when a global health crisis is driving more people online in order to stay connected with each other. For dental professionals, this presents both an opportunity and a challenge to better engage with patients and, consequently, boost business.
According to a report by We Are Social and Hootsuite, there are now 3.96 billion social media users worldwide. Of the 3.7 hours that people spend using mobile phones each day, approximately half is spent on social and communication apps, meaning these platforms account for the same share of our mobile time as all of our other mobile activities put together. Unsurprisingly, Facebook continues to dominate as the most used social media platform, but others that are proving popular too include YouTube, Whatsapp, Instagram and TikTok.i
There are various reasons why people use social media, with the key motives being to entertain themselves, stay in touch with friends and family, and keep up-to-date on news and current events.ii It is clear from the research that social media has become central to our lives, so it’s no wonder that it is having a profound impact on human behaviour, including how we perceive ourselves and others. Within an increasingly appearance-focused society, social media gives us the power to represent ourselves online in a way that we choose and can, therefore, influence body image.iii
Due to the emphasis that social media places on self-image, some people feel motivated to invest in cosmetic procedures in order to enhance the way that they look, which is a key driver behind the rising popularity of cosmetic dentistry. At a time when we are spending more time on social media and video calling each other, many patients are seeing themselves more often on a screen and are undoubtedly feeling more conscious about their smile. Attitudes towards oral health are further influenced by celebrities, beauty bloggers and social media stars, many of whom are using their online platforms to endorse cosmetic dental procedures.
In turn, some patients are investing in treatment to emulate their idols and improve the health and appearance of their smile. This presents a chance for dental professionals to promote the benefits of minimally invasive cosmetic dentistry that ensures an effective, long-lasting result in the safest, most ethical way. In fact, now is the ideal time to engage with patients about their oral health, given the surge in screen time as a result of lockdown measures – the latest Ofcom research into online behaviour revealed that people in the UK spent 36% more time on social media during the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic in April.iv
With people likely to be looking at their screens more frequently and absorbing more information, this is your opportunity to improve communication with existing and prospective patients. Social media marketing is still in the early adoption stage within the dental profession, but more and more clinicians are benefitting from the power of being active on platforms such as Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. These social media networks ultimately provide a vital link to patients that every dentist should be tapping into as a means of promoting their services, including cosmetic dentistry – an area of practice that’s already high in demand.
A major factor in ensuring success is to invest in a marketing strategy that outlines why you want to be on social media, who your target audience is, what content you are going to share, where you are going to distribute this content, and when you will do so. With image-sharing at its heart, Instagram, in particular, can be an effective platform for you to showcase your cosmetic dental work, including before-and-after images of past cases you have completed. These photographs can also be used to demonstrate your track record of success, as well as your passion, skill and experience in delivering top-quality results.
Of course, determining how best to maximise your time on Instagram can be challenging, which is why the BACD offers useful insight on the topic through an online CPD course, available via its members portal on the BACD website. Entitled “Building Influence With Instagram”, this in-depth webinar is presented by social media expert, Shaz Memon, who covers everything you need to know about Instagram, including how to attract new patients, grow your followers authentically and the type of account you should have. This provides a foundation of knowledge for you to explore the benefits of using Instagram for yourself.
Considering the effects of social media on self-image, having healthy, beautiful teeth is more important to people than ever before. Take advantage of social media now to show patients exactly what they can achieve with their smile through minimally invasive cosmetic dental treatments, delivered by the best clinicians in the field.
For further enquiries about the British Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, visit www.bacd.com