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a blog by Chris Barrow

The inexorable rise of Instagram and how to get the best out of your social media activity

At the beginning of 2017, pundits estimated that 31 million people in the UK had Facebook profiles, of which around 75% visit them every day.

The demographics indicate that the majority of Facebook users are in the 20-29 age bracket, but with a significant spread from teenagers through to the over 60’s.

Linkedin boasts a (surprising?) 21 million UK users and yet I see little activity in independent dentistry either by Principals maintaining and updating their own profiles or practice pages.

Instagram is the new fashion and, although the stats are few and far between, an educated guess suggests around 19 million UK users, 64% of whom are under age 30 but (here’s another surprise) with 46% of users reporting a household income in excess of £48,000 per annum.

With these stats in mind, an important distinction to make here is the difference between:

  1. paid advertising across social media channels (primarily Facebook) and

  2. the organic creation of marketing collateral through posts, comments, check-ins, reviews, photographs and videos.

Readers of this blog will know that I’m not a great fan of digital advertising.

There seems hardly a day goes by without a conversation with practices investing in Facebook (and Google) advertising and then complaining about low perceived returns and confusion about what is being done with their money.

Digital marketing agencies seem to be very poor at explaining what they do and the results they achieve in terminology that a lay client can make any sense of.

I’m frequently handed documents full of percentages, graphs and alien terminology with a “can you understand any of this?”

Call me cynical.

As to the latter (organic marketing collateral) – I love it and I’m regularly working with practices who are getting the team engaged in the daily search for patient and team stories that bring their message to life.

Hence all my work recently on daily huddles and end of treatment protocols – creating the systems and conversations that lead to the creation of share-worthy marketing collateral.

As I mentioned earlier, Instagram is taking centre stage in all of this just now (with all material repurposed on to Facebook).

A year ago I didn’t have an Instagram account.

Since opening my account in July 2016, I’ve posted 1,320 times, started following 3,424 other profiles and have accumulated 1,830 followers.

I have also bookmarked many dental practices and scroll through their posts daily to see what’s going on.

A few fall into the trap of posting extra-oral shots (the before and after stuff) or pictures of dental equipment.

The majority are following the correct route of patient photos, team photos, thank you cards, letters, flowers, team awards/training, external property shots, food, pets, babies, holidays, fund raisers.

Bottom line:

  1. the currency of advertising is money and the formula is to throw it around in the hope that some of it will stick

  2. the currency of organic marketing is time and the formula is to train your team to identify and capture every human interest moment that occurs, day by relentless day


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