Inside Dentistry
September 2016
Volume 12, Issue 9

Social Media Trends for Today’s Dentist

The latest updates and new trends for connecting with the modern dental patient

Naomi Cooper

From snaps to shares and from filters to followers, the dental marketing game has been overtaken by social media, and with more websites and apps emerging every day, it’s nearly impossible for dentists to stay up to date. While every dentist doesn’t need to have a profile on every social media network, it is helpful to be aware of what today’s patients are using for selecting more targeted and effective online marketing efforts for the dental practice.

Facebook is Still Core

If your goal is to attract more growing families, Gen Xers (who are now mostly in their 40s), and Baby Boomers, Facebook should still be your priority in terms of social media. In fact, Facebook remains the most widely used social media site and the Facebook app boasts over 1.5 billion mobile users.1 Facebook is still incredibly popular among moms with 81% of online moms2 actively engaged on the site, as well as Baby Boomers, 82% of whom3 choose Facebook over alternative sites.

Video is the New King

An important trend to note—because of rapid growth and resulting deep market penetration of smartphones and mobile high-speed data, video content has been steadily increasing in popularity. All of the top social media websites and apps today incorporate video into their platforms.

While uploading videos to Facebook is nothing new, the social media giant has recently expanded its influence within the video sphere by launching Facebook Live, where users can live stream a video that is automatically posted to their Facebook profile. This can be a great opportunity for dentists to sit down and answer patients’ questions in real time, facilitating real-time direct conversation and helping brand the dentist and practice in a more personal way.

YouTube = Social + Search

Not only is YouTube the prime site for publishing videos, it’s one of the top used search engines, meaning that uploading videos to YouTube makes it even easier for patients to find you online.

Uploading videos to YouTube is smart for several reasons. It is owned by Google, so videos uploaded to YouTube most certainly help new patients find your practice and grow your online presence. It is relatively easy to use, making it a great option for dentists just getting into the online video game. And, it’s easy to share YouTube videos across a variety of other social media sites and apps, meaning that once the video is on YouTube, it’s easily syndicated across your online profiles in a matter of minutes.

In addition to these two powerful websites, there are a host of other social media apps that have exploded onto the online scene. Marketing is most effective when it is targeted, and identifying your target market will be the jumping off point from which your social media campaigns can take off. A good starting point for dentists trying to decide what sites and social media apps to be active on is to ask, who are you trying to reach?

Here are a few of the hot new(ish) apps for dentists that are worth exploring:

New App #1: Instagram

Dentists haven’t yet jumped on the Instagram bandwagon en masse, but there’s no time like the present to get started, especially considering it was recently ranked as the #1 of all time for brand social engagement.4 Instagram allows dentists to share both photos and videos with their followers, creating the perfect opportunities for behind-the-scenes looks at the practice. Hashtags are a prominent feature within Instagram, which dentists can take advantage of by creating and using a personalized hashtag for the practice, as well as promoting the hashtag around the practice to encourage patients to use while posting during office visits.

New App #2: Snapchat

At first widely used by Millennials and younger generations, Snapchat has evolved to a social media platform that patients of all ages are jumping into, meaning dentists can take advantage of it too. Snapchat users take photos and videos that will be shown for only a 24-hour period before disappearing, which makes it necessary to post relatively frequently. Ask patients to take a “snap” while in the practice, or give a behind-the-scenes look at the practice with office tours or share snaps during staff meetings to be shared on the practice’s story.

New App # 3: Vine

This widely popular app allows users to share Vines, or videos, with a catch: the videos cannot be more than 6 seconds long. Twitter, who acquired Vine in 2012, recently announced that the capacity for longer videos may become available in the future, but dentists looking to get in on the Vine game today can shoot short videos on a smartphone and upload them to Vine, or shoot them within the Vine app itself. The app is simple to use and an easy transition for dentists already familiar with Twitter.

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