Local Business Marketing

4 Ways to Succeed at Instagram Marketing for Dentists

Melissa Rodriguez
Published on Oct 9, 2019

4 Ways to Succeed at Instagram Marketing for Dentists

You may already know the benefits of Facebook marketing for dentists, but do you know about the opportunities on Instagram?

Since its acquisition by Facebook in 2012, Instagram has grown to the second most popular social network. Over 1 billion active users are on Instagram each month.

The Pew Research Center says 35% of all US adults use Instagram. 71% of them are users between the ages of 18 and 24.

Originally an app for users to share photos with their friends, Instagram has grown into a serious platform for customer engagement. According to SproutSocial, Instagram has the highest engagement rate of all major social media platforms. Today, at least 80% of users follow at least one brand on Instagram.

If you are a dentistry looking to grow their Instagram presence and rake in more clients, we're here to help. Check out these 4 ways to successful Instagram marketing for dentists.

Table of Contents
1. Know Your Platform
2. Follow These Best Practices
3. Take Advantage of Instagram’s Latest Features
4. Instagram Marketing for Dentists: Dos and Don’ts

1. Know Your Platform

Maybe you don’t think dentistry is a fun or exciting enough topic for Instagram. 

People use social media for fun and connection, but will they follow their dentist on it? Yes, if you make it worth their while.

If there is a community, it exists on Instagram. It’s your job to find it, engage with it, and post valuable content that resonates with it. When it comes to Instagram for dentists, this remains true as well.

Instagram is all personal.

Folks are looking for connections to businesses they like, just like their friends and family.

This is your opportunity to speak to your patients outside of the office. Ease the fear and anxiety that people feel when they go to the dentist by showing a more personal side of you. Put the sales pitch aside, and engage.


View this post on Instagram


Raise your hand ✋🏼 if you know this voice! #DentalHumor #FriYAY

A post shared by Hu-Friedy (@hu_friedy) on

With no requirement to use your full name or enter much personal info, Instagram feels more anonymous than social networks like Facebook. This makes people feel free to interact with others - and you - on the platform.

It’s all about the visuals.

Dentistry is such a visual medium, there’s no shortage of content you can post. 

We’re visual creatures. Visuals evoke emotions a lot more easily than words. Strong visuals also have the power to make users take action.

A Shopify research study shows 93% of buyers cited “visual appearance” as the main reason for deciding on a purchase. Nearly 85% said “color” was the reason for choosing a specific product.

What visual elements can you imagine when you think of dentistry? This is your opportunity to think about your dental practice’s unique visual identity.

2. Follow These Best Practices

When doing Instagram marketing for dentists, keep these few things in mind while you’re exploring the world of the mobile app:

Know your audience.

On Instagram, people want real connections to businesses they care about. This involves thinking about who exactly you’re trying to reach.

Think of your audience’s values with every post:

  • What do your patients like the most about your practice?
  • What problems do your patients have?
  • What goals do they want to achieve?

It’s also helpful to remember the type of person you’re likely to find on Instagram. Nearly 90% of the users on Instagram are under the age of 35.

There are still benefits to Instagram marketing even if most of your patients are under 35. A well-rounded online presence, including an Instagram page, helps build your brand authority in search engines. Better dental SEO will help people of all ages find your dental practice in a search engine.

Use a Business account.

instagram marketing for dentists

Instagram launched Business accounts in 2016 after many businesses started jumping on board. A free Instagram business profile will open up a lot of options tailored to local businesses:

  • Add business hours, your address, and your phone number
  • Get insights on your audience and their activity on your posts
  • Set up and use Instagram advertising

After you sign up for Instagram, go into Settings and choose “Switch to Business Account.”

Advertise with Instagram.

Any local business can benefit from Instagram advertising. Instagram’s business profile format is arguably better at driving engagement than a Facebook page, due to the easy accessibility of your contact information and directions.

You have two options:

  • Advertise directly from the Instagram app (promote existing posts)
  • Advertise using Facebook’s Ad Manager (design ads to drive specific actions)

Instagram’s ad capabilities are powered by Facebook’s Ads platform - so your practice will need a Facebook page to use Instagram advertising.

There are a number of ad types available. For a dental practice, you’ll be interested in:

  • An existing, high-performing Instagram post
  • High-quality photo or video of your practice
  • Image carousel showcasing various parts of your business

Facebook’s targeting options are unmatched. Want to reach a user of a specific demographic who lives within a few miles of your dental practice, at a specific time of day? You could also target a hashtag pertaining to your niche or local area. You can even upload a list of your current patients so you can reach them directly with a post on Instagram.

Observe the 80/20 rule.

Instagram marketing for dentists should dedicate about 80% of your content to community building, fun, and informational content. The remaining 20% can go toward the promotion of your practice.

If you dedicate too much of your time promoting yourself on Instagram, you’re doing it wrong. Remember, Instagram is about being part of the community around what you do.

Get your #hashtag game on.

Hashtags are an extremely important part of your success on Instagram.

The Instagram Explore page features posts based on past likes and interests. By using the appropriate hashtags, your posts are likely to land in front of engaged users. Some examples in regards to Instagram marketing for dentists include:

  • #dentist (6.2 million posts)
  • #teeth (5.7 million posts)
  • #dentistrylife (418K posts)
  • #dentalhealth (283K posts)
  • #dentaloffice (234K posts)
  • #familydentist (78.9K posts)

Hashtags help you engage with the community around your brand’s niche. A study by Simply Measured says that Instagram posts with at least one hashtag have 12.6% more engagement than those without any.

Take the time to do some hashtag research, and you’ll be at a great advantage. There are plenty of online resources to help you find the dentistry hashtags you should focus on. 

Pacific54 uses Instagram’s best practices when conducting hashtag research for clients. We go through the search section and select a category that best describes our client. In this case, it would be “dentist.” From there, Instagram will serve up the top-trending posts for that category. Click on each post and make a note of which hashtags are used. You will most likely notice a repeat of hashtags among them. These are the hashtags we focus on. 

instagram marketing for dentists

Timing is everything.

Instagram’s algorithm gives your posts a pretty short shelf life. 

Keep a close eye on what time of day people are interacting with your posts. Think of when your average user would log on. A good bet: lunch breaks, or downtime after work.

Post regularly and often - shoot for 1 post a day. Test various post times, and look at your post Insights. Keep tweaking until you find your sweet spot.

Check out what Sprout Social had to say about optimal times to post on Instagram. 

instagram marketing for dentists

Encourage user-generated content.

You don’t have to create all your content every day. Some of the most powerful marketing is the kind that others do for you. 

User-generated content (UGC) is a great way to fill out your social media calendar, while also building relationships. UGC can be photos or videos, or even just a call to comment on a post. You can then feature those interactions as posts or stories.


View this post on Instagram


I feel so honored to be part of your IG story, @amberlynnwatson 😂😂 #IGdentist4lyfe

A post shared by Dr. Spitz (@lowervalleydentist) on

Some ways to generate UGC:

  • Ask questions your followers are eager to answer. 
  • Use Polls in your Instagram story as a way to get your followers to engage.

instagram marketing for dentists

  • Do regular contests and giveaways.
  • Encourage people to use a hashtag or tag your account so you can easily repost and gain exposure. 

Measure your results, and use them!

Digital marketing is all about data - analyzing it, measuring, and using it to make better marketing decisions.

If you have a Business account, you have access to Instagram Insights. Here you can learn more about your audience’s demographics, what posts are performing the best, and when your users are online.

There are plenty of 3rd party Instagram analytics tools to go even deeper with Instagram data. Want to monitor trending topics and hashtags, or identify popular influencers in your niche? There are tools for that.

Some metrics you can monitor include:

  • Engagement (likes, comments, shares) per post
  • Impressions (number of times someone laid eyes on your post)
  • Trending or popular hashtags in dentistry 

The more comfortable you are with looking at data and using it to make better decisions, the more successful you’ll be with digital marketing, period!

3. Take Advantage of Instagram’s Latest Features

Instagram is always changing its look, functionality, and features. Try to capitalize on all the newest features as they drop, so you avoid being seen as behind the times.

Use Instagram Stories to stay top of mind.

Instagram Stories are one of the platform’s most popular features. They allow you to post photos and videos that vanish over 24 hours. And they show up right at the top of your followers’ feeds, so this is a great way to stay top of mind. 

Stickers are a great way to add context to your Stories and build your community.

  • @mention another Instagram user
  • Add a poll sticker to get immediate feedback from your patients.
  • Use “Stories Highlights” to feature some of your best stories on your Instagram profile.

instagram marketing for dentists


Instagram influencers are users with established credibility and audience. If you build a relationship with an influencer, they can employ your brand hashtag to a large number of followers. Since Instagram is all about trustworthiness and authenticity, influencers are tremendously popular on Instagram.

instagram marketing for dentists

There are plenty of influencers in the dental industry. Follow some of the top dental industry influencers to help deliver your message to a broader audience. NOTE: there's a difference between dentists that are influencers and the type of influencers that dentists would want to hire (regular influencers that they can pay for promotions). 

Who you decide to go with depends on your overall goals as a dental marketer. Are you selling a product such as a teeth cleaning kit? A lifestyle influencer may be your best bet. 

4. Instagram Marketing for Dentists: Dos and Don’ts 


  • When making a dental Instagram post, upload real photos of your dental practice (instead of stock photography).
  • Highlight members of your team, so your followers get to know you better.
  • Comment back to comments you get, and respond to tagged photos.
  • Tag all participants in your post. Using @ mentions can double your engagement.
  • Print photos from Instagram and display them in your office.


  • Post too much (multiple times a day). No one likes it when one user takes up their entire Instagram feed.
  • Take photos of your patients without their permission.
  • Use too many hashtags: Instagram has a hashtag limit of 30, but maxing out along with a caption can make your post come across as obnoxious. 
  • Only promote your dental practice in posts. For effective Instagram dental marketing, you should create content that is interesting and engaging to your followers.
  • Photos or graphics with text on them. They look tacky and are proven to be less engaging.

Talk to us

With the right care and attention, an effective social presence and creativity will help when it comes to Instagram for dental practices.

Let Pacific54 start or improve your Instagram marketing for dentists. Talk to a representative today

3 Responses to “4 Ways to Succeed at Instagram Marketing for Dentists”

  • Mandy Robinson says:

    This is great advice. It can be really overwhelming trying to figure out how to do Instagram for the right business.

  • Jenny R. says:

    I finally started advertising my business more through Instagram and Facebook and honestly, it has really helped the growth of my company. People enjoy it when you have something fun and interesting to say so I always like to include some humor in my posts. It seems to get a lot more engagement that way.

  • Jeremy says:

    I would highly recommend not just posting random phone photos if you’re wanting to make a good social media impression. You need good, quality photos so maybe enlist someone on your staff that has an eye for good photos or maybe a good phone camera.

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