How to Market Teeth Whitening on Social Media
In the time it takes you to read this blog, roughly 300 people in the US will whiten their teeth. Analysts say more than 38 million adults will use whiteners this year and the tooth whitening market is projected to grow annually by 4%.
Brightening smiles can be a tool to grow your practice, but a few waiting room signs and pamphlets aren't enough promotion to make the most out of the professional tooth whitening services you provide.
"Dentistry is really about relationships," says Blake Hadley, founder of My Social Practice; a social media marketing agency geared specifically toward dental offices. "That's what social media is about too—relationships—and for dentists, it's about using social media to show the culture and how they treat patients, but also to stay in touch with patients between those every-six-month visits to strengthen those relationships."
A creative social media marketing strategy could be the key to harnessing your practice's tooth whitening potential.
"Whitening ads, as we traditionally think of them, we haven't had a lot of success with just a picture of a bright smile . . . they don't feel genuine," says Hadley. "Rather than just run an ad that looks like an ad, show the experience of someone coming into the office to get their teeth whitened. Show the process. It's more about the experience than the results."
Successfully growing your tooth whitening business through social media will come down to creating simultaneously entertaining and educational posts, understanding the differences between platforms, timing, and consistency.
The Influence of Edutainment
Social media can be an effective avenue for educating patients about products and procedures through videos, linking to blogs, and other marketing materials. But—and this is a big BUT—being dry, overly-clinical, and mundane will lampoon your efforts. To successfully promote, you want to educate while you entertain. Check out this example featuring Opalescence Go™ teeth whitening:
These images were designed to be used on Instagram stories, posted so viewers can start at the left image and click through, eventually ending on the last image which directly promotes your whitening business.
Using influencers can also be a compelling and efficient tactic.
Example: Tooth sensitivity after whitening is a common concern for patients debating whether to whiten their teeth. Find a local influencer and reach out with the proposition of trading free whitening in exchange for promotion through their Instagram profile and stories. Sensitivity can be managed with a product like UltraEZ™ desensitizing gel, so the showcased treatment could use this product. The influencer will talk about their seamless pain-free experience, showing viewers that sensitivity isn't a barrier to a whiter smile.
With this strategy, the influencer is doing the heavy lifting by utilizing their skills to entertain their audience while simultaneously educating them about a common concern with the procedure—as well as promoting your practice.
Example: An influencer could post an Instagram story, while going about their day-to-day life using Opalescence Go teeth whitening, pointing to your office as the local place to purchase the product. They could also let viewers know about a promotion you're running—follow X page and comment on X post and you'll get a free sample of Opalescence™ Whitening Toothpaste.
Hadley and My Social Practice recently implemented influencers to help the Smiles for Life campaign. Over a four-month period, he says 90 influencers generated 3,700 website clicks, 86 thousand social engagements, and 2.1 million impressions.
Influencer Merrick White used this Instagram story as part of her collaboration with My Social Practice and the Smiles for Life campaign.
Quality edutainment can also be created within your office, without outsourcing to influencers. If this is your approach, Hadley says you should focus on being sincere and candid. Be a person, not a business. Highlight processes, not just products. Sell potential patients on the benefits of tooth whitening, not on the service itself.
Your posts should also address common "objections" such as price, complexity of procedure, and scheduling. If you post about the simplicity of whitening, make sure to include a direct link to your online scheduling page to simplify the process for patients. Inform your audience about how fast whitening can be done in-office and don't be afraid to showcase pricing. Tooth whitening is a simple, quick, cost effective procedure—all those areas should be reflected in your posts.
All Platforms are not Created Equal
There's no shortage of social media platforms touting massive user bases; Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat, Reddit, Tumblr, and TikTok all have millions of people actively using their platforms every day. However, Hadley says he keeps his clients' resources concentrated solely on Facebook and Instagram.
Facebook boasts more than 2 billion monthly active users and Instagram claims more than 1 billion. Facebook is the king for text and links while Instagram content is highly visual.
Example: Instagram isn't great for linking to outside sources, so Facebook would be the better choice if you're trying to promote a blog comparing in-office whitening to at-home treatments. If you're promoting a video showing the simplicity of your whitening treatment, Instagram would be your best bet.
There's also vast differences in what's allowed on each platform. "Facebook has quite a few regulations on how much text you can put in an image . . . and they're starting to get pretty strict on showing close-up shots of teeth, or before-and-after shots," says Hadley. "We've had ads flagged for being too zoomed in on the teeth or too zoomed in on one area of the body."
"Facebook is a pay-to-play model," Hadley says. "In order to get your content seen through Facebook, you need to 'boost' it or create ads with it." With Instagram, your followers are more likely to see your content organically without you shelling out cash. "Currently, Stories are the most effective way to post on Instagram because more and more people are seeing that content. More people are watching Stories on Instagram than seeing posts. Without putting any money into anything, Instagram Stories are your best bet right now."
A patient may decide on tooth whitening due to pressures or circumstances that have nothing to do with your products or services—like timing.
Shape your messaging to reflect events, occasions, seasons, etc. when people might be interested in more photogenic smiles.
Example: During graduation season, a college student may have just spent the last few months slamming mug after mug of coffee to stay up late, study, and earn their cap and gown. Coffee stains aren't what they want to stand out in their grad photos.
Timing isn't just time of year, it's also time of day. Understanding the analytics for your audience is vital to publishing successful content. Posting when your followers aren't online makes it more difficult for them to see your message. If your followers aren't viewing your content, they aren't interacting with it. If they aren't interacting with it, timeline algorithms think you posted bad content and will basically bury it.
There's also the issue of consistency. You want to post with enough frequency to ensure your followers see your message, without flooding their feed and potentially annoying them to the point of unfollowing (gasp!). But, is that really a colossal concern? "Sometimes people get nervous about posting too much about one thing. We have clients ask us 'should I really be posting every day?' or 'should I really be talking about this that much?' I don't think it really annoys people as much as some think it might," Hadley says. "If they don't want to see it, they just scroll past it."
Converting Posts Into Patients
Social media is a proven medium to bolster your tooth whitening business. Properly utilizing platforms like Facebook and Instagram will allow you to showcase treatments and engage with users. Turning your social posts into real-world patients requires genuine content that entertains while it educates, posting at the right time of the year and day, and understanding the nuances between platforms.
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