Recent social media trends have seen professionals in several fields, including medicine,1 leveraging their knowledge to become social media influencers. There’s a tremendous opportunity for dental hygienists to educate their followers about great oral health practices, and better yet, we can do this while practicing in an office setting.
Many people test the water by making funny videos on social media, but for dental hygienists, content relevant to our career can gain a surprising amount of traction. My break came from a TikTok I made about my home whitening technique. When I made the video, my comment section blew up with dental questions. That’s when I decided to make more dental-themed videos.
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Find a niche on social media
Scrolling through social media, you may notice it’s full of repetitive trends like dances. These videos get a lot of views, but they don’t have much of an impact and serve only as fleeting entertainment. As you dive deeper into social media, you’ll find many successful influencers use their platforms for educational purposes. A growing subset of social media users have turned to the medium to find legitimate answers to their real-life concerns.
Social media platforms present a fantastic opportunity for RDHs to share our wisdom and encourage people to practice better oral health. After all, our job, first and foremost, is to educate patients. Social media allows us to significantly magnify that impact.
Those who don’t visit the dentist frequently lack knowledge about good oral health. But we can teach social media followers about affordable tools such as electric toothbrushes and c-shaped floss to keep their mouths healthy between dental visits.
Use social media to educate about oral health
To successfully educate the public about oral health through social media, you must first develop a strong following. The main thing to keep in mind is to create high-quality, informational content. If your content is genuinely helpful to social media users, they’ll find you and follow you.
Some strategies can be used to help push you along the path toward that strong social media presence. Many influencers, including me, have succeeded in commandeering popular social media trends and adapting them to our needs. You could do a video with a popular dance or lip-sync challenge and accompany it with educational or relatable text. This can be a great way to engage followers and reach users who might not have actively sought out dental hygiene advice.
One of the most important parts of maintaining good oral health is regularly visiting the dentist. Encourage followers to schedule an appointment with their dentist. Social media has the power to reintroduce the human element of the dentist’s office. Many people fear the dentist because they don’t understand what dental hygiene professionals do, but with your knowledge you can work to eliminate these misconceptions.
Humanize the dentist’s office
An easy way to humanize yourself, and the dental profession as a whole, is to post “day in the life” videos. Show your daily routine, including what you do in the morning to get energized, what you do during the workday, and what you do to wind down. This can help your followers form a connection with you and engage with your content. Of course, with any work-related content, be sure to avoid anything that could violate patient privacy or HIPAA rights.
Forming a unique persona can also be an effective way to boost your social media presence. For example, when I did videos in the office, I became known for my plethora of colorful scrubs and my saddle chair. When you discover what aspects of your videos resonate with followers, go all-in on those elements. They’ll help you expand beyond your core dental reach and give you a broad platform to share your messages.
If you make your social media presence relatable, your page may become a safe space for people to ask dental questions. Many people have questions about their dental hygiene, but they’re embarrassed to ask or don’t have time to go to the dentist. Although it’s still always important for people to visit the dentist, social media videos can help them understand common procedures so they can feel more comfortable heading to their appointments.
I often get messages or comments that my followers are now seeing a dentist, bought an electric toothbrush, or made a deeper commitment to their oral health. It’s encouraging to see this success, as my goal with my content and career is to educate people about dental hygiene and keeping their mouths healthier. Embracing these social media strategies will allow you have a similar impact.
- Konstantinovsky M. Doctors are now becoming influencers, and lines are becoming blurred. November 11, 2022. Accessed January 20, 2023. https://www.glamour.com/story/doctor-influencers