Dental Marketing Webinars, Dentist Social Media Marketing

Watch the webinar replay of “2022 Social Media Playbook For Dentists“.

Hi and welcome to our 9th webinar of 2022. Today, I’ll be talking with you about the 2022 Social Media Playbook For Dentists. My name is Ian Cantle, and I’m the founder and chief strategist at Dental Marketing Heroes.

We’re a dental marketing agency whose mission is to help dentists like you thrive by installing a marketing system into your practice so you can focus on what you do best, so your team and your families can thrive and so you can give more back to the community and worthwhile causes that you care about.

What We’ll Cover Today

Today, I’ll be sharing information that has the potential to radically impact your practice and increase your new patient numbers. And I’m eager to share this information with you. All right, today we’re going to really dig into this important and valuable topic, and this is what we will be covering about social media.

2022 Social Media Playbook for Dentists - what we'll cover

And let me remind you, if you stay until the end of the webinar, this is what you’ll be getting. It’s our Social Media for Dentist worksheets.

Social Media for Dentists worksheets

These are strategic worksheets that will help you get the most out of your social media efforts. And if this is your first webinar you’ve joined with us, let me provide a quick intro of who I am. My name is Ian Cantle. 

who am I and why should you listen to me

I’m a co-author of an Amazon best-selling marketing book about Content Marketing For Local Search: Creating Content That Google Loves And Prospects Devour. I’m also honoured to be a weekly contributor on the Marketing Guides for Small Business podcast. And I jumped ahead.

I bring over 20 years of marketing experience to the table. I’m constantly staying on the forefront of marketing with my professional development and certifications for both myself and the team. And best of all, I have a track record of producing extremely high returns on marketing investment ROI for my clients. So I hope that helps you know that you’re in good hands when it comes to this topic.

What Is Social Media?

So let’s jump right in. In order to make a distinction between social media and social media marketing, I thought it would be important just to cover what is social media, because not everybody is big into social media. You’ll see percentages later on. But here’s the definition:

“A computer-based technology that facilitates the sharing of ideas, the sharing of thoughts, and the sharing of information through virtual networks and communities. Social media is internet-based and gives users quick electronic communication of content, such as personal information, documents, videos, photos, and more. And users can engage with social media via their computer or tablet or smartphone or even a web-based software application.”

So social media is basically a place you hang out online to keep up with your friends, your family, to get information. And also a big one is to entertain yourself. Now let’s look at the definition of social media marketing.

What Is Social Media Marketing?

Social Media Marketing – here’s a definition from the internet that’s really good.

“Social media marketing is the use of social media platforms to connect with your audience, to build your brand, to increase sales, and to drive website traffic. This involves publishing great content on your social media profiles, listening to and engaging your followers, analyzing your results, and running social media advertisements.”

This is one of the best definitions of social media marketing I’ve seen because it’s really all encompassing. In short, social media marketing is the strategies and the tactics required to get your business, your practice, in front of your ideal customers, your patients, your prospective patients on the social media platforms, to engage with them, to drive them to action so they’ll spread your fame of your practice and become your patients. It’s all about being involved in your community, gathering your tribe, attracting new prospects, and driving engagement and conversions.

A big question you’re probably asking is, does social media marketing work for dentists? The short answer is, yes, it does. And we’ll talk about why that is throughout this webinar. But you need to combine strategy and great implementation to see great results. Although your focus may be on activity at first, like doing things on social media, your goal should be seeing a return on investment and ROI from your social media, or why are you there as a business?

As we go through this webinar, you’ll learn why social media marketing works and how to get it to work for your practice.

The Biggest Social Media Myth

biggest myth of social media marketing is that it's free

Now, let’s look at the biggest myth about social media marketing. The biggest myth of social media marketing is that it’s free. Social media is free, right? It’s free to download the app or apps. It’s free to use. It’s free to spend as much time on it as you want. It’s free to allow me to connect with my friends, my family, like-minded people.

And all that is absolutely true. But remember, you’re giving your time, your attention, your information, your interests, your demographics to the social network. And they exist, that social network exists to turn a profit. It may be free for you as a user to use social media, although you are doing a value exchange with that social media platform, with your information and your actions. But for a business, for a dental practice like yours, nothing could be further from the truth.

And often times dentists bring this kind of thinking into their ideas of their business social media. But it’s dramatically different. Think about it. It takes time, energy, creativity and resources to regularly post, engage and stand out on social media. And I think you’ll agree that none of these things are free. Either you have to pay someone to do this work, have a staff member do it, or you do it. But your staff’s time isn’t free. And your time isn’t free either.

In fact, for dentists that run their own social media marketing, you are one of the most expensive social media coordinators on the planet. And that’s not a good use of your time. And to truly get in front of the people you want to as a practice, you have to invest in social media efforts and even advertise on social media. We’ll explain why this is shortly.

The second biggest myth of social media marketing is that it is the best marketing tactic for generating leads for your dental practice. In all my years of marketing, I have never seen this to be true. Social media is awesome, but social media can rarely target qualified, ideal patients at the time they are looking for a dentist. Other platforms like Google Ads, on the other hand, allow you to connect with qualified buyers at the time they are looking for you. This doesn’t mean social media won’t produce leads, nor does it mean you shouldn’t invest in social media.

But what it does mean is that you, as a smart marketing investor, will understand its place in your overall marketing strategy and you’ll have realistic expectations for it. And it’s important to remember that social media for your dental practice is a marketing play and it requires strategy before tactics. Let me say that again: a strategy-before-tactics mindset to ensure you get results.

social media marketing - strategy before tactics

You have to have strategy before tactics or you will get lost in the details. Having said that, I’m convinced that every practice should be on social media in some form or another. But the key is ensuring it fits within your bigger picture of your marketing plan so it doesn’t displace other marketing elements that would serve you better. You need to be smart about where you put your efforts and your budget to ensure that it pays off. So let’s jump in and look at some social media data that helps support why you should invest in social media.

Why Dentists Should Invest In Social Media

The first question we should ask is, are the people we want to reach using social media? Well, let’s look at these stats.

overview of social media use

This is global information, so it’s not specific to North America. But look at the number of social media users in January 2022 -> 4.62 billion users. And look at the change in users from quarter to quarter. There’s currently 77 million more users each quarter. There’s 424,000,000 more social media users each year.

The average time spent on social media by people is 2 hours and 27 minutes. The average number of social media platforms used per person each month is seven and a half. That’s a lot. Social media users versus the total population is 58.4% and social media users versus the population aged 13+ (because there’s really not a lot of point in using people below the age of twelve) is 74.8% globally.

But check this out. In North America alone, the percentage of active users aged 13+ is even higher at 82%. So that means 82% of people age 13+ are using social media. Social media users versus total internet users – so if you’re an internet user in the world – 93.4% of you are using social media as well. And then you can see the breakdown of male and female users of social media sitting slightly higher with men. 

Now, so people use social media. We figured that out in the last set of stats. And there’s a good chance the people that we want to reach for our practices are on social media. But now let’s look at how much time is spent on social media each month. I think you may be surprised by some of these results.

time spent with social media apps


  • YouTube, the average user is spending 23.7 hours a month. That’s over half a week’s time, basically work time, right?
  • Facebook 19, almost 20 hours per month there as well
  • WhatsApp which is commonly used in a lot of the world, 18.6 hours (which is owned by Facebook by the way)
  • Instagram, which is also owned by Facebook, 11.2 hours per month
  • TikTok, which is growing, 19.6 hours per month
  • Facebook Messenger, so just the messaging platform of Facebook, 3 hours a month
  • Twitter, 5.1 hours a month
  • Telegram 3 hours a month
  • Line 11.6 hours a month
  • Snapchat 3 hours a month

The key takeaway here is that your ideal patients are spending a lot of time on social media. So you need to be there.

Now let’s look at why people use social media.

Top Reasons For Using Social Media

main reasons for using social media

Let’s dig into the data on this. So the top reason is keeping in touch with friends and family, then filling their spare time. I can attest to this if I’m waiting in line at the grocery store. I’m checking my email, checking my texts, and checking social media. Maybe you’re similar but reading news stories. A lot of people find their news on social media. Finding content, articles, videos, seeing what’s being talked about, finding inspiration for things to do and things to buy, which is key for you guys. Finding products to purchase, another key for dental practices.

Sharing and discussing opinions with others. This is really key as well for dental practices because people will ask on social media, hey, I’m looking for a dentist, do you have a good one? Or in search of a dentist and people will comment. Watching live streams, that’s become very common. Making new contacts, seeing content from your favorite brands again, that’s really important. Work-related networking or research, watching or following sports, finding like-minded communities and interest groups, posting about your life, and following celebrities or influencers.

So the key takeaway here is that people are using social media for a variety of reasons. The biggest reason is staying in touch with the people they care about, but they also look for information. They find content, they look for products and services, they look for content from their favorite brands, and they seek opinions, all of which are really important to your dental practice.

Most-Used Social Media Platforms

Now let’s look at what social platforms people are using the most. We saw the reasons for use in the previous slide, but let’s look at it a little bit more because there’s a lot of misconceptions about this. There’s tons of news reports about how TikTok is taking over the world, and it is growing very quickly. But let’s look at usage stats.

most-used social media platforms

So the world’s most used social platform is Facebook. A lot of people who have been using Facebook for a while have heard that Facebook is no longer relevant. The data usage is absolutely clear. If you want to reach those people who are your ideal clients, ideal prospects, you probably want to be on Facebook. And we’ll talk a little bit more about demographics in a second. 

YouTube, WhatsApp, Instagram, WeChat, TikTok – so TikTok’s down fair bit, but it’s growing, Facebook Messenger, and then there’s others. Pinterest is in there as well. The big takeaway here is that Facebook is still the most-used social media channel worldwide. TikTok, despite its rapid growth and lots of media attention, still lags far behind.

It’s also important to understand that each social network attracts some unique demographics and each has strengths and weaknesses and unique marketing opportunities for you as a business.

demographics of most popular social media platforms

As you can see, this chart just shows the most common demographics related to the channels. What’s interesting too, is if you’ll notice under Facebook, you’ll see that it’s most common with people 25 to 34, which I think surprises a lot of business owners because they think that people are aging out of Facebook, but that’s not true. 

And then boomers. Not only are boomers there, but seniors have been starting to use it a lot because they get to see their friends, family, and kids on there as well. You’ll notice this a lot when people post their pictures of kids going back to school. The grandparents are all over that, and it’s because they’re active on social media. They’re staying connected to their friends and family.

Then if you look at Instagram, there’s a bit of a lower-aged demographic, but it still covers the same as Facebook. So millennials are big there too. Twitter and on and on and you can see the breakdown. What’s interesting is currently TikTok really is targeting people or has the most audience with people that are ten to 19 years old although it’s growing, and that females make up 60% of the viewers.

And then I’m not going to go into great detail about this, but you can see how on different channels people look for different things and there’s also different strategies that you can take in each of the social media platforms.

Let’s look at strategies. So in strategies you see Facebook local marketing, which is important to you; advertising, which is important to you; and relationship building, which is important to you. Instagram ecommerce, not as important to most dental practices unless you’re selling a lot of product, teeth whitening kits and that kind of stuff.

Organic engagement, which is super important and being an influencer, which again can be very important for you and your community. And then again look at TikTok as influencer marketing and that just gives you a bit of an idea of where the strategies are the strongest by platform.

But then also look at the weaknesses at the very bottom. The weakness of Facebook – now it didn’t used to be this way – is that it lacks organic reach for businesses. And the reason for this is, a few years ago Facebook in their wisdom wanted to monetize the platform more – in other words, make more money off of its users – and decided that no longer would it show in the news feeds of followers’ business information.

And all of us who are marketing our businesses saw a big drop in organic reach on Facebook. The reason for this is Facebook wants us to advertise. So you now have to ‘pay to play’ really on the Facebook platform. But it’s still very powerful.

Instagram, you can see that ad costs tend to be a bit higher. Twitter, it’s got both pros and cons as above and then TikTok, you can see it’s least popular for marketing, although it’s starting to grow as they start to develop their advertising platform. The big takeaway here is that again, you need to focus on your primary audience that you’re trying to attract and perhaps a secondary one as well. And not to spread yourself too thin, but to use the right social media network to reach the right people.

Top Reasons Your Dental Practice Should Be On Social Media

So after all that, here are the top reasons you should use social media within your dental practice.

top reasons your dental practice should be on social media

Number one, social proof. What’s better than you talking about how great your practice is? That’s right, other people talking about how great you and your dental practice and your team are. Social media is a fantastic place for you to share reviews from your patients, to get recommendations and for people to talk about your business.

The second is brand exposure. Social media can be great for local brand exposure, especially if you combine your organic efforts with paid advertising.

And lastly, social media can play a very important part in your buyer’s journey through the Marketing Hourglass. Let me explain that a little bit more. In case you haven’t been on some of our other webinars, the Marketing Hourglass is a holistic view of the journey that your buyers or your prospective patients are on.

marketing hourglass - buyer's journey

They have to know you, to like you, to trust you, to try you in order to become your patient and buy from you. Then you’ll want them to repeat their purchase, or in other words, stay on as your patient. High retention. And lastly, you’ll want them to refer others to you. What’s really powerful about the Marketing Hourglass framework is that there’s two sides of it, as you can see.

On the one side you have the buyer’s journey, the steps that people like you and I go through before we make a buying decision. And on the right, you have your marketing, the things that you as a business can do to be where your prospective patients are and what you’ll do, the activities you’ll do to influence their buying decision. And social media can be an important part of those steps in the buying journey. Here’s what I mean.

When someone is looking for a dentist, they will often ask connections on social media for who they like, who’s your favorite dentist? Who do you go to? Why? Those friends may link directly to your profile so they get to know you. The first step, the prospective patient will often look at your social profile, what you post, what your reviews are, how you interact with people. They might even instant message you for information and see what that experience is like. It’s almost like a micro decision.

Through this, they start to like you. They will often then click on the link to your website. They’ll Google you. They’ll check out your Google reviews, how trustworthy you are. They’ll click on other social profiles you have, they’ll follow you on social media. And what’s really cool is that if you’ve set up retargeting ads on the social platforms, they will start to see more of you, even after they’ve visited your website and left it.

And through all this, you start to earn their trust as a great option for their dental needs. If you are on their short list of dentists they’d like to try, they will probably call you or fill in an online form by clicking on the call link or the form link within your website, or on your social networks or on your Google Business Profile because they want to schedule an appointment or get a consultation.

And this is a big try because how this experience, this phone call, what happens after they do that, how quick you are to respond, and how friendly you are as a dental practice, leaves them feeling either good or bad and will determine whether you stay on that shortlist and will ultimately determine whether they become your patient. Then they get to the buy stage, they become your patient. Yay, well done. A lot of sales funnels stop there.

But that’s where the power of the Marketing Hourglass comes in. Because there’s things that happen after they buy that you care about. You should be creating a great experience, and if you’ve done a great job, they will repeat purchases by staying on as your patient. They will value your relationship, their relationship with you, and they will engage with you on social media. They’ll share your posts with other people that they’re connected with because they love you and they want everybody to know you.

Then they’ll leave a sparkling review in the referral stage, which you can share on social media. And they will refer other people they know to you – on social media and off of social media. But especially in this context of this discussion, when somebody is saying in search of a dentist in your local community, they will respond because they are your fans. So I hope that little scenario helps you see how social media can be an important part of that Marketing Hourglass and help you attract, engage, and retain great patients.

The Context Of A Marketing System

the context of a marketing system

It’s important to remember from our last webinar that your practice needs an integrated strategic marketing system to get a great return on investment and your social media. Your social media needs the context of this marketing system so that it can run well and be strategic.

Not only will the system create the content you need to be successful in social media because content fuels your efforts, it will also empower your practice to focus on social media in a sustainable and a strategic way. And it will produce bigger results than if social media is just a side project, which often happens with dental practices.

So now, the next question we want to answer is, what’s the best social network for dentists to be on?

How To Choose The Best Social Media Networks For Your Practice

After seeing some of these statistics, you may already be leaning towards a particular network, or perhaps your personal interest may be pulling you in one direction or another.

how to choose the best social media networks for your practice

If you’re a big TikTok fan, you’re like, oh, we should be on TikTok. But let’s break this down. So you’re making this decision strategically. Things you need to consider…

  1. Your audience. You’re going to hear this a lot today. Can I reach the people I need to reach? That’s your audience. Which social network will help you reach them the best and the most efficiently?
  2. Can we have sustainability in regularly posting and in the management of the social media? In other words, can I and my team or my agency partner cost-effectively do what’s required for us to be visible and engaging on this network? And do we or our partners have the skills and the tools required to do that?
  3. And number three, does the social network offer a strong advertising platform that empowers you to target your ideal patients?

And this is a good spot to talk about the difference between organic social media, which is the stuff you and I do if we’re active on social media all the time, and paid social media advertising.

Organic Social vs. Paid Social

organic social vs. paid social

Let’s first look at how organic social media usually works, on the left above. You post something, someone who follows you sees that post and they engage with it. Because they engage with your post, their network sees it as well, and those other people might engage with it too, which means their connections would see it. And it goes on and on and on. And that’s how your exposure broadens on social media. And that’s essentially how viral posts work and regular engaged posts work in the same way, just to a lesser degree.

Now let’s look at the right hand side. Let’s look at how paid social media works. You create an ad and you tell the social network to target certain people within a certain area. You can even say within certain times and certain interests. There’s lots of information that you can do in order to target it. And the targeting is key. This is where a lot of social media advertising falls short. The targeting is absolutely key to your success.

A percentage of your audience will see your ad and engage with it. They perform an action that you’re trying to draw them through, like completing a form or a lead request, or going to your website, or click to call and they become a lead. Think of it as a highly targeted billboard advertising that you can track very precisely.

The cool thing also is that you can retarget people with ads if they visit your website or act on your previous ad. So there’s this deeper and deeper method of doing advertising on social media where you can actually strengthen your results by creating more complex campaigns.

So that’s really the difference. But here’s the hard fact that most dentists don’t realize. Again, I talked about it earlier, you have to pay to play. Let me say that again, you have to pay to play now because as I mentioned earlier, Facebook made changes and makes it really hard for businesses to show up in followers’ news feeds unless they pay for advertising. And this was part of their monetization plan.

So what it means is that to truly get the most out of your social media efforts, you need to plan. You need a plan that balances organic efforts and is augmented by paid advertising. Without paid advertising, your social media results will be very meaty, ochre and lackluster.

organice social vs. paid social - control and scalability

This chart shows where you have very little control now over your organic results and that it’s not very scalable indeed. You can post more often and you can be more engaged and also provide more engaging content but beyond that, organic is not very scalable on social media.

But when you look at the paid social media side, paid advertising, in addition to your organic efforts, you can see that you have greater control and it’s more scalable. What I mean by this is that you can control who you target, when you target, and what ads you target them with, you can increase your ad spend and your targeting to scale more. So if you start to see great results, you just invest more and you start to increase those results. So it gives you more scalability. So paid ads give you an addition of control that is beyond organic.

How To Measure Your Social Media Marketing Success

Now, as you’ve probably realized, I’m a huge fan of measurement. In fact, you shouldn’t be marketing if you’re not intending to measure the results. That’s just flushing money down the toilet. Here’s what you need to measure in social media marketing. 

how to measure social media marketing success - Social Media Playbook for Dentists

Let’s start from the right hand side. The most important, the bigger metrics, your return on investment, your ROI. That is the gold standard for any marketing effort. So somehow you need to always tie your cost, your budget that you’re spending in an area, back to the conversions, the results that you want people to make and ultimately to the new patients that you attract and also retain.

Next is conversions. These are the calls, the form completions, the sign-up for downloads, the messages, the appointments, the clinic visits, the free consultations, the traffic to your website from social media. This is really important. You need to track the conversions.

And then the next step is traffic to the website, then engagement. Are people engaging with my social posts? Am I posting regularly? Again, super low key metric, but very telling, especially if you’re having a partner do this for you or a staff member and you want to be kept abreast of what’s going on.

And then audience size – am I growing? Is my social profile getting more and more followers each month? And how does it compare with my competition? From a competitive standpoint, you can actually look at engagement, posting and audience size against your top competitors, and it’s very interesting to watch that over time, especially if you have a strategic method of doing social media.

Social Media Marketing Tips For Dentists

Now I’d like to help you avoid some common pitfalls by providing some key social media marketing tips for dentists.

Tip 1:  Avoid The Shiny Object Syndrome

social media playbook for dentists - marketing tip-avoid shiny object syndrome

Tip number one: avoid the shiny object syndrome. Do not get sucked into the latest fads. And be careful which experts you’re listening to. There’s so much false and misleading information out there about social media marketing that it presents some major pitfalls for dentists. So instead of chasing the shiny objects, stick to your strategic marketing plan that defines who your ideal audience is, what content you’ll produce, and which social networks are the best fit for you to reach your goals.

Plan the work and work the plan and put blinders on for all the hype you’ll hear. And as a final note on this, any good marketing agency will be your leader and guide for marketing decisions. So pass anything that you’re considering by them first so that they can give you some professional feedback.

It’s really important not to chase the latest shiny object, but also know that your marketing plan is a living document. As social media networks develop, as things change, your marketing plan will also adapt and improve and be optimized for that as well.

Tip 2:  Your Audience Is The Key

tip 2 - your audience is the key

Tip number two we’ve talked about a lot in here. Your audience is the key. As we said earlier, your audience is such a huge part of how you need to do social media.

Listen to me now. It is not about you. I’ll say it again – it’s not about you. It’s about them, your audience. So don’t ever lose sight of that fact. If you do, you will go off the rails. Create simple personas of your ideal patients so that you can effectively speak to them on social media and target them with social media advertising.

Are your ideal patients moms of young children? Then define them. Are your ideal patients aged 40+ that golf and drive nice cars because they are ideal implant patients? Then define them. Strategy is key and it will keep you from spending money in the wrong places to the wrong people.

Tip 3:  Relationship Is Everything

tip 3 - relationship is everything

Tip number three: relationship is everything. Don’t forget the ‘social’ in social media. We talked about the importance of never losing sight of your audience. But also never lose sight that these are real people with real feelings, real challenges and real dreams.

When you think about social media, think about meeting people in real life. Think about how you would engage them, what’s important to them, what pains they have that they need solved. And be sure to be real with them. Pay attention to them and treat them special and show interest in them and your relationships will grow.

Tip 4:  Have Clear Goals For Social Media

tip 4 - have clear goals for social media

Tip number four: have clear goals for social media. We talked earlier about the importance of having a strategic marketing plan. Within that plan, you should also have clearly defined your social media goals. What is it that success looks like for your practice on social media? Be sure to define it. Measure your results against those goals.

Tip 5:  Measure For Success

tip 5 - measure for success

Tip number five is similar:  if you don’t measure it, you can’t improve it. You need to know what’s working, what’s not working, and why. You need to be able to show that for X dollars, I’m getting Y back. When you properly measure your results, you’ll be able to improve and invest your marketing dollars more wisely.

Tip 6:  Consistency Is Vital

tip 6 - consistency is vital

Tip number six:  consistency is vital. One of the tenets of good marketing is consistency. So set up a plan that will work for you and your team and your marketing partner, and work the plan day in and day out. The worst thing to do is to put a ton of effort into social media when you are slow or you have extra time, and then drop it when you don’t.

We saw a lot of this during COVID when dental practices were closed down. For a little while, they just were all on board with social media. They spent more time on it, and then all of a sudden they were able to work again and they stopped posting on social media. They created an expectation with their followers, and then they dropped that expectation. So be consistent and it will pay off.

Tip 7:  Get Involved

tip 7 - get involved

Tip number seven:  get involved. In social media it is all about being involved. 

Imagine you went to a business networking event and you sat alone in the corner. It certainly would not help your business achieve its goals. So in the same way, get involved in social media, where it makes most sense. Join groups, post relevant content, comment on other people’s posts, follow local businesses, follow your town or your city, and be involved.

Tip 8:  Be Strategic

tip 8 - be strategic

Tip number eight:  be strategic. Many dentists think of social media as ad hoc posting, just like we do in our personal life. I’ll post when I’m feeling like it – oh, wow, that was cool. Or, this food is cool, or wow, there’s a deer, or whatever. You take a picture, you post it. But you can be strategic on social media. You want to ensure you’re talking about topics that are important for your business and valuable for your ideal patients.

Map out those topics and be strategic in the planning of your posts. I love the analogy of, how can you put the most water, sand, pebbles and rocks in a container? Well, if you start with the small stuff like water and sand, you won’t be able to put as many of the larger rocks in there.

It’s best to start with the big rocks, then the pebbles, then pour the sand between the cracks, then pour the water in. That will saturate everything in the same way. If you plan your strategic big rocks first, it will ensure that those get done and allow you to layer in some more ad hoc posts as well. So be strategic.

Tip 9:  Be Authentic & Real

tip 9 - be authentic and real

Tip number nine:  be authentic and real. A lot of dentists feel they have to put on this serious tone all the time because, darn it, you’re dealing with serious issues. And that’s true, but that doesn’t mean you can’t be authentic. 

These photos are all about fun that you see on the screen. But authenticity doesn’t mean you have to joke around. Although people do enjoy dentists that joke around because it’s like a juxtaposition to them, oh, there’s my serious dentist when I go in because they’re dealing with my health issues, and here they are having fun.

Be real with people. If you love dogs, share photos of your dog. If you love to run, post your running photos. If you love to garden or dance or go to concerts or eat or… you see where this is going. Share real stuff that people can relate to, and you will attract your tribe. So be real.

Tip 10:  Hashtags Can Help

tip 10 - hashtags can help

Hashtags can help. I’m not going to go into a lot of detail at this point of what hashtags are and how to use them, but I’m sure you’ve seen the pound sign or the hashtag sign on social posts. The reason this is done is because it’s essentially categorizing the topic of your post. So people who are interested can search for it, or they can actually follow that term or hashtag. So things like your town hashtag, braces hashtag, teeth whitening, can help people come across and engage with your posts. 

Using hashtags can expand your reach beyond your immediate followers. So don’t ignore hashtags. On the other hand, some people put 20, 30, 50 hashtags in a post. They think more is better. But data shows this isn’t true. Usually three to five hashtags is ideal, but it depends on the social platform.

Tip 11 – Share Pics Of Dogs And Cats

tip 11 - share pics of dogs and cats

I talked a little bit about being authentic and being real and sharing real stuff. Share pictures of your dogs and cats, your pets. Okay, you’re probably thinking, what, post pics of my furry friends? No way. This is a professional establishment. Yes, it is. But if you want to connect and be real with people and attract your tribe, then you need to do this. As long as you like dogs and cats, of course.

And this is just an example. If you’ve got a dog or a cat, you absolutely should share photos of them. If your team has pets, share photos of them. Why? Because people love them. Check out these statistics.

internet stats on dog and cat posts

  • Web pages about dogs: 2.4 billion
  • Average Google Search Volume Index for dogs: 89
  • Average Google Search Volume Index for cats: 43
  • Web pages about cats: 2.83 billion. So there’s more web pages on cats, but the average search is lower.
  • Instagram posts tagged with #dog: 330,700,000
  • Instagram posts tagged with #cat: 257,300,000
  • Views on TikTok posts tagged with #dog: 205,000,000,000
  • Views on TikTok posts about #cats: 136,600,000,000
  • Number of Twitter users interested in dogs: 391,000,000
  • Number of Twitter users interested in cats: 106,000,000

So the key about this is that tons of people have interests in dogs and cats. So you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t share pictures of your own, because people really love cats and dogs.

Just to make this point very clear, check out the examples above of the number of followers these social media cats have on Instagram. The one on the left, 2.4 million followers. The one in the middle, 4.4 million followers. Who doesn’t like to see a cat dressed up in a costume? Then you have the synonymous grumpy cat, 2.6 million followers.

And then let’s look at dogs. Oh my goodness.

tip 11 - share pics of dogs and cats

  • jiffpom, 9.6 million followers
  • itsdougthepug, 3.7 million
  • tuckerbudzyn 3.3 million

The point is, a lot of people like them. They’re cute, they’re fun, and it’s something else to post that people will engage with.

Tip 12:  Know When To Post

tip 12 - know when to post

Tip number twelve: know when to post. People’s social media streams are so packed with content that if you’re posting at the wrong time, they may never see your posts. You need to know when your audience is most likely to engage with your posts.

And if you’ve had a social media presence for a while, you can look at the insights or the reporting on each platform to see when your audience engages with your posts. If you haven’t had a strong social presence, then you can Google something like ‘best times to post on social media’. And there are some great resources available. Just remember that if you’re Googling it and looking at that data, it’s such a broad spectrum of brands, influencers and geography that it may provide too broad a spectrum to be as valuable as your own data once you can harvest it.

Now, let’s look at your social media playbook.

Your Social Media Playbook

So we talked a lot about tips, we talked a lot about why social media is valuable through the data. Let’s look at your playbook.

How do you create a social media presence in a powerful and sustainable way where you have all the right ingredients to create your social media? Sustainability Sandwich is a great metaphor for sustainability, and it’s not just because I’m presenting this webinar during lunch.

No, a sandwich offers a great metaphor because it’s made up of different parts or ingredients. But when you put them all together, it makes something great that is better than the individual parts and provides fuel for your body. In the same way, the social media sandwich method will help you remember the important elements you need to focus on to fuel your business social media engine.

social media sustainability sandwich

So let’s dig into this delicious sandwich.

social media sandwich - the bread

It all starts with the bread, because the bread, just like in a sandwich, it’s got to be fresh, it’s got to be delicious. Because the bread sets the tone, it contains the rest of the elements and makes it easier to handle. That’s what a sandwich is.

And in the same way, you as a business need to assign responsibility, you need to make someone in your business accountable for social media marketing. This can be someone internally, or it can be an agency partner. You need to share the load, make social media part of everyone’s job and daily work life. It’s really important because once you start to build out the strategic elements, you need the ad hoc elements from within your practice in order to cultivate great engagement.

So you might even need to incentivize involvement so people are inspired and motivated to help. A lot of practices and businesses are now actually putting into their hiring package, their job descriptions, parts of social media that they need to be active, an active collaborator in presenting a great social media presence to the community.

And lastly, you need to create social media guidelines. This is really important because it sets the tone. It also provides the guardrails that people need in order to not go off the rails. Essentially, it’s like playing a sport. You’re giving the people the boundaries so that they can play within them. So these guidelines are really important, especially when you’re enlisting people to help you.

social media sandwich - the meat

Now you’ve got the delicious meat. This is the stuff that sets you apart. This is often what makes a sandwich a sandwich, right? It’s the meat. Sometimes it’s the bread, but it’s often the meat. And it also provides the most calories for the body to keep it going. And the key here, when you’re thinking about the meat part of your Sustainability Social Media Sandwich, is to be strategic. Strategic posting about your services, your products, common pain points and the solutions you provide. Success stories, before and afters, reviews.

These are all super important strategic community posts. Posting in community groups, very important. Then smart advertising. It will help you gain followers and gain visibility and exposure to your target audience.

And then lastly, measure and track your results. We’ve talked about why this is so important. Now be sure to include it in your Sustainability Sandwich.

social media sandwich - the garnishes

Now we look at the garnishes. These are things that augment your sandwich and give it great taste. It gives it greater overall health benefits as well. And in the same way your social media needs authenticity, this means your team, you as the dentist need to post things. You need to feature your people. You need to have fun. Post about your patients. (Of course you need waivers for this.)

Support your community. When you go out for a team lunch, take a photo. Tag that restaurant and share. When you’re doing things in the community or around town, tag local businesses, local suppliers, partners, charities. Just be sure to be authentic and post lots of dog and cat pictures.

social media sandwich - the secret sauce

And lastly, don’t forget about the secret sauce. This is the stuff, that juicy zesty-tasting stuff that augments everything you do on social media. It will truly build relationships and track more followers and attract more engagement. So be engaging. How do you get more engagement? Be engaging and engage with people. Be responsive. Invite involvement from your audience.

So when you put all these things together, you’ve got a great method for ensuring you’re doing the very best things for your business on social media. And that, my friends, is the social media sustainability sandwich. And the great thing is that once you start to gain traction, you can start to experiment with new elements to create an even better social media presence over time. Throw in a dash of video, a pinch of TikTok, and some great lead magnets and boom, you’re rocking it.

Does Social Media Marketing Work For Dentists?

does social media marketing work for dentists

So, going back to the question that was asked earlier, does social media marketing work for dentists? Absolutely. Let’s give it a big golden thumbs up. Yes, it can. Remember to be strategic, remember to be sustainable, remember to engage your team and ask for help when you want to do it well.

The great news also is that you don’t need to treat your business’s social media like you do your personal social media. You can pre-plan and schedule posts to go out at particular times to particular channels, you can share and monitor across multiple platforms. You can analyze results using great tools available, and there’s a lot of them. But here’s a few of our favorites worth looking at: Buffer, Hootsuite, Sendible, Later, Social Pilot.

tools to conquer social media

We’re big proponents of Social Pilot and even our own homegrown Social Media Engagement Engine. All of these tools help you plan out your schedule for posting. They monitor what you’re doing and they’re able to track the results. But just know that you can invest in the right tools to help you perform social media marketing better. Or if you’re partnering with an agency, they will be using tools like these, so you don’t even have to worry about them.

How A Digital Marketing Agency Can Help You Dominate On Social Media

how a digital marketing agency can help you dominate on social media

And along that line of thinking, let me share why you might want to consider hiring an agency to help you with your social media marketing.

  • They will be better at it than you. They’re spending all day, every day doing it. We all get good at what we do, so they will be better at it.
  • It will free you and your team to do your jobs and to grow your practice and to benefit from the fruits of the labors that your agency is doing.
  • They will ensure the right things are done at the right time to make you look fantastic.
  • The beauty of hiring an agency is that it’s in their best interest to help you be successful so you’ll continue to work with them.
  • They’ll provide regular reporting on social media, and they’ll lead you in what you can do next to get more out of social media.

So we covered a lot today, and I know it’s a lot to understand and even more to implement. It takes a lot of training and experience to do it well. And for most dentists and orthodontists, they will never do this themselves really well, or have an in-house team that can devote themselves and be really good at it. So you need to find an external partner to help you. And that’s where we, the Dental Marketing Heroes, come in.

Dental Marketing Heroes credentials

So let me share a little bit about what sets us apart. We’ve become well known for our expertise in the social media and advertising world. We’re a national excellence award-winning agency. For the past four years, we’ve been named a top Digital Ads agency and a top Web Design agency. We’re an SEO For Growth Certified Consultant. And we’re a Strategy First Master Certified Duct Tape Marketing Consultant.

As I said earlier, I co-host a weekly small business podcast called Marketing Guides For Small Business and I co-authored a book about local SEO. So all of that is to say that my team and I can help you with your social media efforts and we are super passionate about it. We find that when we implement our comprehensive integrated marketing system into practices, which includes social media, we consistently achieve a greater than five times return on investment for you, and usually much more than that, as you saw in the case studies, if you watched our last presentation.

5X ROI Engine

So if you’re interested in learning more, please schedule a free marketing consultation with me.

And as I mentioned at the beginning of the webinar, I wanted to provide you with a good free resource that fits with what we’re talking about today, so you can get your social media game in order. So if you scan the QR code, you can get a copy of our Social Media For Dentists Worksheets. And I have no doubt you’ll get a ton of value from this free resource that I’m sharing with you.

And lastly, I wanted to say thank you for joining us today and for taking important time out of your schedule to educate yourself on this really valuable topic. And let me invite you to join us for the next webinar in this series that will cover the important topic of How To Leverage Video And Multimedia For Dental Practices. This will be on the first Friday in October at 12:00 p.m. eastern time. I hope to see you there. And of course, if you look on our website, we have a free webinar section that has all of our past webinars there that you can watch immediately.

In the meantime, keep calm and market on! Bye for now.


About the author

Ian Cantle is passionate about helping dental practice owners achieve their dreams by helping them systematically grow their practices, beat out the competition, and give back to their community. Ian is an author and expert in the fields of strategic marketing for local businesses, SEO (Search Engine Optimization), and Web Design. Want to discover the Dental Marketing Heroes difference, book a free discovery call or call us at 905-251-8178.

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