Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Social Media Marketing For Dentists

Most dental practices can't rely on word of mouth forever - at some point, the business will consider advertising and some will choose social media marketing for dentists.

Most dental practices can’t rely on word of mouth forever – at some point, the business will consider advertising and some will choose social media marketing for dentists. Social media advertising offers a dental practice a broad but controlled ‘reach’ that you can apply over and over again, for as long as it’s working for the business. How do you advertise your dentist on social media? Do dentists need marketing? And, how do you ensure your marketing works? Here’s everything you ever wanted to know about social media marketing for dentists…

There are many aspects of this ad that could be improved.

Let’s start here: if you want quality outcomes, you’re going to need quality ingredients…

Quality Ingredients = Qualiteeth Outcomes

It can be an avoided conversation…

Budget

You asked ‘how do I promote my dentist on social media’. Here’s how: you don’t have to have a McDonald’s level advertising budget, but, like the tooth fairy, you will need some form of a budget. Most dental clinics will start with around 1k a month + specialist fees. Anything less than that and it’s likely you’re dealing with a newbie service provider OR, are dabbling in some DIY. Both of these options are a resource risk. Some geographic regions and specialist services, like orthodontics, may require a higher budget. This is because these services have what we call a longer lead-in time, (kind of like a deliberation phase), and higher-priced services tend to have more advertising competition. It’s that competition that drives ad platform pricing higher.

Competition drives ad platform costs up.

See also: How much should a small business spend on marketing?

What you get in return for your social media marketing budget depends on:

  1. Your product/service and its value to the customer
  2. Your customer lifetime value
  3. How your advertising platform works (Facebook Ads manager, Twitter ads, YouTube ads etc)
  4. How effective your creative is (your ad content)
  5. Your supporting content (website, Google Business reviews etc)
  6. Targeting (Geographic area, demographic etc).
  7. How good your marketing specialist is

If you ace 1-7, you’ll bring your costs down, and increase your returns.

Customer Lifetime Value (CLV)

The prospective client may decide to come in for a basic check-up and if they have a positive customer experience, chances are they’ll be back. This repeat behaviour becomes recurring revenue for the business and helps inform your ad spend. Nobody wants to be out of pocket, so how you calculate this is important to the longevity of your practice.

There’s various debate over the average Customer Lifetime Value For dentists, but if you want to be specific for your dental practice, here’s a formula you can use that will give you an average to work with:

Average annual value eg. ($ 700) x Lifetime ratio (7 years) + Customer referral value ($ 4900)

= A lifetime value of $ 9800.

Your customer referral value is how much business you find a patient tends to refer to you. It could be that they have a positive experience with your dental practice, so they refer a family member or bring their child in for a check-up.

Once you know the lifetime value of a patient, you can make more informed marketing and advertising decisions to acquire new patients. You don’t want to spend more money on acquiring new patients than the lifetime profit they bring to your clinic.

Even the tooth fairy has a budget.

Choosing A Social Media Advertising Platform

Many businesses start their campaign planning by insisting on a platform that’s trending for SMEs like LinkedIn. Unfortunately, this is not always what works. Sometimes it’s older-school platforms that work – like Reddit! You better believe it. But, how do you know what will work for you?

Simple: where’s your target market at? You want a platform your target market is engaged with and active on. Oh, and make sure they are actually your target market. For example, in its early days, TikTok was hip but it was almost strictly teens only. If you’re a cosmetic dental practice, this young demographic are unlikely to have a budget for veneers. Saavy?

Captain Sparrow needs dental services too.

Ad Content

Sometimes ad content is what you have the most control over. Many social media advertising specialists only manage the ad targeting, not the ad content. For this reason, I’ve focused on content tips for dental practices wanting to advertise on social media.

Lead Viewers To The Outcome

Dental ad imagery sometimes just focus on the service: teeth, when the outcome improves the entire face. On social media, some argue you only have milliseconds to capture seconds of someone’s attention.

Articulate your message instantly:

  • Use outcome-led ads
  • Split, ‘before and after’s
  • Pain + solution (+ fear)
Highlight pain points and offer a solution.
People In Dental Ads

Eye contact and smiles capture attention, and dental practices can work this into ads for their dental services, particularly if they leverage ‘before and after’ imagery.

Before & afters are often relatable to those that suffer from similar ‘before’ challenges. Plus, they can maximise eye contact!

Experiments have found a direct gaze increases engagement, understanding and credibility. Viewers understand your message better and eye contact boosts the spokesperson’s credibility. For these reasons, it can boost the effectiveness of the informational-style ads that dental practices often use.

Studies have found people respond better to ads that use direct eye contact.

Genuine smiles in advertisements evoke positive emotions and lead to positive evaluations. Smiles that have a few crow’s feet, (Duchenne smiles), work best, encouraging receptivity to the advert.

This ad could perform better if it included eye contact.

A small business is often fighting to earn brand recognition, so being careful about how you portray people in your ads is important. Women on mediums that rely on split-second viewing have been found to delay brand recognition, depending on how the photography is done.

Photography Tips For Social Media Marketing For Dentists
  • Use direct eye contact
  • Smiles are contagious – use them
  • People should look real and relatable
  • Use images that reinforce key messages in the ad
  • Paint a picture of positive aspects of the process, like talking to the dentist, rather than imagery of tools in the mouth
Pacific Smiles group uses team members in their recruitment ads.

Some ads on social media for dentists are hiring ads. Pacific Smiles uses videos of their dentists, turning their ads into genuine, friendly-looking testimonials that attract talent. Bonus points for video captions.

Images of dental tools in the mouth don’t tend to facilitate appeal.

Some of these principles are more important than others. For example, imagery where you can still see pores in the skin look ‘real’ and are seen as more authentic, and therefore more trustworthy. Heavy filters or photoshopping should be avoided.

The bottom image may have eye contact and a smile, but authentic-looking imagery is more trustworthy.
Ad Copy

Your social media ad is a 1:1 conversation

We can forget that social media is usually viewed on mobile – a personal and direct medium that can turn content into a 1:1 conversation. Treating it exactly like it is one can be more engaging than ads that say something like, “Hey Perth! We’re your local dentist!”. Remember, your ads might reach many, but they are viewed 1:1. Writing in first or second person is a common copy preference in advertising, simply because it tends to outperform third person copy.

Most social media ads are viewed on mobile, making your ad a 1:1 conversation.

Think of it like radio. When a radio jock says, ‘Hey y’all’, or ‘hey everyone!’ he’s forgetting that the medium is usually received 1:1. You may be broadcasting to thousands, but how your audience receives the content is contextual.

This ad has some great elements, but it doesn’t read as a 1:1 conversation.

When you speak directly to a person, you’re less likely to be ignored. Your copy is your conversation. Even if you have no imagery, you can still create a 1:1 dialogue.

Ad captions can be a conversation.

I’ve noticed dental campaigns in Australia tend to avoid using fear as a motivator. Fear is not an evil tool in marketing, it’s a powerful motivator that encourages action to avoid it. Captions like, ‘Teeth getting worse?’, ‘Sensitivity increasing?’Better late than never… except for dental checkups‘ help prospective patients or current patients maintain their dental health.

Video Ads Vs Still Image

Popular belief dictates that video is a must for an engaging ad. However, on social media, this is not always the case. We see so much content that it’s sometimes the still image that users focus on.

You don’t necessarily need video content for an engaging dentist advert.

A phenomenon called ‘banner blindness’ was first reported way back in the 90s and has only grown on digital advertising channels. This is a phenomenon where users ‘don’t see’ animation, and only the static content they are scanning for. Video ads are still high performers, but they aren’t the rule. If you don’t have video content, you can still have a high-performing ad.

High-performing video ads on TikTok can be as long as 50-seconds!

Supporting Content

Supporting content is what clients see after viewing your ad. It’s not enough to have a flashy ad, you need content on surrounding touchpoints that equally support the ‘path’ to making a booking.

Your Website or Landing Page

The Dental Room is a Melbourne-based practice offering cosmetic dentistry options. Their personable ads lead to a killer landing page, packed with conversion-driven content few dental practices invest in.

Images of real people, rather than stock-photos tend to win trust.

Often, an advertiser’s website can let an ad down. A lack of resources toward content quality inadvertently causes prospects to drop off. For example, the ad may be about teeth sensitivity, but the website page the user lands on after clicking the ad is a website home page that doesn’t even mention it. The Dental Room has invested in a killer website that supports any curiosity driven through its ads. Their landing page showcases the professionals and the process a customer can expect when they visit, all within a short video snapshot. It’s brilliant on desktop and mobile devices and loads fast, all important factors to seize engagement.

Having a website that supports your ad is critical to ad performance.

Process-focused simulations like the video on The Dental Room’s website allow people to visualise and then formulate a plan in their head before they’ve even made an initial booking. Just highlight the positive aspects of the process! Studies have found this tends to work well for products or services that tend to have a longer lead time, such as cosmetic veneers. The visual enhances the chance that the plan will be enacted. However, for a service like teeth whitening, the lower price point also means there’s already a lower barrier to purchase. So, if you have content that focuses on what is often not the most pleasant process, you emphasise a barrier, rather than squash a barrier on the path to purchase.

Does this look fun to you?

If you don’t have cash to splash on a website refresh, or you’d rather experiment with what may work for your dental practice, try a website masking tool, like Unbounce. A marketer can create a landing page, without a developer, and test what works best for paid traffic and your audience.

Here’s an example of a well-structured dental landing page template, created using Unbounce.

Positive Reviews

One of the first things people do when looking for a dentist is search for a dentist near them. Or, after viewing a social media ad about a dentist, they may ‘look them up’ on Google. Positive reviews on search engines like Google Business listings fast-track the path to booking an appointment with your dental practice.

If your clinic lacks positive reviews, maybe check out what dental clinics are doing differently that do have positive reviews.

How does a dentist get reviews? Normally by using automated EDMs (SMS + email).

An automatic text can facilitate reviews.

Ad Targeting

Different ad platforms have different targeting options and it’s best to leave this up to the social media marketing expert. Dental practices tend to target a broad 18+ audience within their local area with split ad sets designed for acquiring new customers, and retaining customers.

Retargeting

You can ‘retarget’ those that take interest in a specific product or service on social media. This targeting method hones in on recent website or landing page visitors. The prospect has already checked you out, now they just need to be ‘reeled in’. For example, the ad below is likely to work well for those who already want dental implants but just need an extra ‘push’ to come on by for a consult.

This ad is offer specific, so it is likely to work best on those who already want dental implants but just need an extra ‘push’ to come on by.

Cool Dental Ads

Creative social media marketing for dentists doesn’t have to break the bank account. For creative campaigns you will need a marketer or marketing agency with a creative bent, preferably that can integrate your on and offline channels.

The teeth become pull-off tabs with contact information in this low-budget dentist ad.

This tooth campaign is offline but could encourage social media shares in your local area. Creative ads like this are clever, but it may be helpful to know that you don’t necessarily need a super creative advert for an effective ad.

Social Media Marketing Ideas For Dentists

Social media marketing for dentists may use humour. It turns a topic many avoid into a laugh or even a meme. It can be a great way to challenge a prospect’s pattern of avoidance. Here’s a nice list of captions for dental ads to help you in your brainstorming:

  • Smiles made here
  • You know the drill, time for a dental checkup!
  • Better late than never… except for dental checkups.
  • It’s never too late to set your smile straight
  • Eat with confidence
  • Don’t let coffee dull your shine
  • We believe each of our patients are born to shine
  • Recession? RECESSION (gum recession)
  • Oh holy tooth (Christmas)
  • Sparkly teeth can be cheaper than getting your nails donebook a dental clean today
  • Shine bright like a diamond
  • Stop hiding
  • War on stains
You essentially make smiles, so why not make people smile?
Memes are easy to make, and some can be used in adverts.

Summary: Social Media Marketing For Dentists 101

  • Use customer lifetime value to inform investment
  • Choose a social media platform where your target market is at
  • Lead viewers to the outcome
  • Use eye-contact, real people and genuine smiles
  • Still imagery or video can both work well
  • Have supporting content that supports your ads (well-structured website etc)
  • Work with a social media specialist for faster results
SHARE

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Social Media Marketing For Dentists

Need Advice?

I’m an independent marketing consultant who’s spent 15+ years working with SMEs. I spend every working hour dissecting marketing strategies that take clients from grey to payday

Meet me virtually.