Secrets to Driving Engagement to Your Virtual Consultation Widget Using Instagram - SmileSnap
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Secrets to Driving Engagement to Your Virtual Consultation Widget Using Instagram

Here’s a fact you already know: The internet is constantly changing. That’s why it’s important to stay connected to the latest trends. You may have a sleek website and a recently updated Facebook business page, and that’s fantastic! You’re smart to grab such low-hanging fruit. But the savvy marketer knows to seek out the latest venues where you can grab attention and strengthen valuable connections.

Put Instagram at the top of your list of social media platforms to check out. Why? Because Instagram is visual and we are visual creatures: 65% of us are visual learners and 40% of people respond better to images than branded text.

Free to download and simple to use, Instagram is devoted to one activity: uploading, sharing and browsing photos and videos.

For practices offering Virtual Consultations, Instagram offers you the opportunity to accelerate your success with the SmileSnap platform. Read ahead to learn six simple tips for putting the power of Instagram to work for you.

1. Link to your website from your Instagram bio

First thing’s first— you’ll want to link to your website from your Instagram bio.

Your bio is the brief bit of text on your Instagram profile page. You can find it directly beneath your screen name and profile image. Use this space to link to your practice’s website. Instagram doesn’t allow hyperlinks in posts or comments, so you’ll need to ensure your Followers can easily navigate to your website to schedule their Virtual Consultations.

Next, for all of your posts that are intended to interest leads and drive patient engagement, add a version of this line: “Link in bio.” This line is universally understood as an instruction that if the user goes to your Instagram bio page, they can follow the link to your website and learn more or do whatever it is you were offering for them to do.


2. Post on your main Instagram feed to spread the word about Virtual Consultations

Your main Instagram feed is the collection of images that appear on your profile page. This is the best place to post fun or personal “behind the scenes” shots from your dental practice— such as company parties or holiday decorations, as well as snapshots with smiling patients.

Be sure to sprinkle in posts alerting your Followers to your availability for Virtual Consultations via SmileSnap. The imagery you choose is up to you, but some ideas might include:

  • A snapshot of a before and after with a real patient (you’ll have to get permission to use their photo, of course). Use a caption like: What is [insert patient’s name] so happy about? She’s excited for her new smile! A few months ago, he/she discovered our Virtual Consultation tool and after a few simple steps, he/she was in our office getting fitted for Invisalign. Ready to start your smile transformation? Click the link in our profile!”
  • A snapshot of yourself during a Virtual Consultation with a patient (you can ask a family member or a friend to take the photo) with the caption: The doctor is IN! If you’d like to schedule a Virtual Consultation with Dr. [insert name], click the link our profile!”
  • A simple yet informative display of your Virtual Consultation offering that says something like “Conduct your free at-home consultation in just 3 steps: 1) answer a few questions, 2) snap 5 selfies of your smile, and 3) hit submit!”


3. Use Instagram Stories to show off your amazing employees hard at work or even before-and-afters of patients who started after a Virtual Consultation

If you are just starting out on Instagram, you may not have used stories yet. We’re here to tell you that you need to.

We’ll let the numbers speak for themselves: Instagram Stories have increased the amount of time people spend on Instagram every day from 15 to 32 minutes. Over 500 million people now use Stories every day.

What are they? On the Home page in the Instagram app, you’ll notice a series of circles running across the top of the screen. These are the Stories of the people you follow.

Stories are short updates of images and/or text that appear sequentially on a feed for 24 hours before disappearing (though you can save your own Stories posts to your profile page as Highlights). This area of the app is very popular among the platform’s regular users— which makes it the perfect venue for showing off great Virtual Consultations!

After your next successful Virtual Consultation, ask your patient if they wouldn’t mind providing you with feedback about their experience. Share their positive testimonial in your Instagram Story, and follow up with an all-text post that reads: “Want to schedule your own Virtual Consultation? Click the link our bio!”

For more tips on using stories, go to this blog (not industry specific).


4. Listen to your Followers and interact with them

Now that you’ve got the hang of creating posts, be sure to engage your Followers directly and ask for valuable feedback. Why?

If you don’t focus on building authentic relationships with your Followers, you won’t get very far. Why? Patients want to communicate with brands on Instagram. What is more, they are ready to spread the word about your practice if they are satisfied with this communication: 71% of people who have had a positive experience with a brand on social media are more likely to recommend the company to friends and family.

Here are the absolute basics to staying engaged with your patients:

  • Always, always, always reply to their comments on your posts
  • Take a moment to like and comment on their posts when it is relevant
  • Watch their stories when appropriate (they will know that you watched them)
  • Deliver excellent customer service. Social media is increasingly becoming a customer service platform

Now, to take things to the next level, create the following posts and add them to your Story:

  • Post 1a: Have you had a Virtual Consultation with us?
  • Post 1b: If yes— we want to hear from you! Reply to this post and tell us about your experience!

Other post ideas could include an ask-me-anything (AMA) session, and more.

Not only will you gain valuable insights for improving your Virtual Consultations, you’ll show dedication to creating positive experiences for your patients


5. Consider offering your Followers an incentive for trying a Virtual Consultation

Why not offer an incentive for scheduling a Virtual Consultation? Any marketer will tell you— freebies are an excellent strategy for building momentum and attracting attention.

It’s in our nature to love free stuff and giving away branded freebies can increase sales by up to 2000 percent. Thus, giveaways work well on Instagram.

Plus, patients who complete Virtual Consultations have been shown to have twice the in-office conversion rate as patients who didn’t, so it makes sense to incentivize it.

Consider offering a service such as one free teeth whitening to anyone tries a Virtual Consultation and posts about their experience on their Instagram Stories. Alert your Followers to this opportunity via your own Instagram story, along with the typical instructions for clicking the link in your bio.


6. Optimize your posts for local visibility to attract new Patients

“Sure,” you might say. “These are great tips for someone who already has a lot of Followers. But how do I get more people to follow my account in the first place?”

Hopefully you’re promoting your Instagram among your current patients already, as loyal people enjoy connecting on social networks with the businesses and services they frequent. Even so, if you’re just starting out on Instagram, you may be struggling to gain traction.

Fortunately, Instagram makes it easy to promote your practice among members of the local community. To maximize your reach, you should be doing two things:

  • Adding a geo location to each of your posts
  • Adding a geo hashtag at the end of your captions

By adding a geo location to a post – usually the city where your practice is located – you’ll be submitting that post to an aggregated pool of local content. Anyone searching for a business or dentist in your area will see your post included among their search results.

You can also add a geo hashtag to the caption of a post, which offers you even more opportunity for random Instagrammers who are browsing hashtags to stumble across your content— and maybe become your future Followers!


Want to read more tips for maximizing your marketing efforts during the coronavirus quarantine? Click here to read our easy guide!

Or check out Dr. Waldman’s tips for building a strong practice at this time: Part 1 and Part 2

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