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An Orthodontic Practice That Understands Social Media Marketing

By June 8, 2011June 6th, 20222 Comments


orthodontic digital marketing


WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE A “SOCIAL” ORTHODONTIC PRACTICE? It means creating online conversations that not only engage with your patients, but to also engage with the many dental practices in your area who refer patients to (or could potentially refer patients to) your practice.

One of our valued clients, Mattingly & Howell Orthodontics PSC in Kentucky, came up with a brilliant way to dramatically increase their Facebook “Likes” and Facebook traffic while building stronger relationships with local referring dentists. Here’s how:

Their Derby Hat Challenge

How It Worked:

As we all know, part of Kentucky’s culture is the famous Kentucky Derby. Mattingly & Howell got behind the hype of the Kentucky Derby and introduced “The Derby Hat Challenge”. To launch the contest, they visited 39 local dental practices and issued them a challenge to create a derby hat made only from the items found in their dental office: rubber gloves, bibs, toothbrushes, floss, masks, etc. Upon completion, a Mattingly & Howell team member returned to each practice to take a quick photograph of the hat they created. Each dental practice was then asked to display their hat creation in a highly visible area inside their practice and to ask patients to “Like” their hat on Mattingly & Howell’s Facebook page, where photos of all the hats had been uploaded into a photo album.

The Results:

  • All traffic was directed to Mattingly & Howell’s Facebook Page. In order to “Like” a photo, visitors had to first Like Mattingly & Howell’s Facebook page. Over the period of one month their page Likes went from about 600 to 2,176. Their Likes are currently at 2,647.
  • Because of the push from the dental practices, there were many first time visitors to Mattiingly & Howell’s Facebook page. These new visitors all landed on their Welcome Page first, which ended up with 4,155 views that month. Some continued to browse to the wall which, in turn, had 2,811 views. Mattingly & Howell’s wall post views that month reached an amazing 57,306.
  • Mattingly & Howell’s Facebook Welcome Page featured a link where visitors could also enter into a drawing to win an iPad. As part of the entry process, visitors could recommend Mattingly and Howell’s blog on their Facebook wall for 2 additional entries. The blog was shared about 200 times which resulted in 75 new newsletter subscriptions.
  • Perhaps most importantly, Mattingly and Howell Orthodontics built a better relationship with each one of these 39 dental practices by including them in the challenge and then by thanking them with a gift basket. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that these dental practices will be more likely to refer patients to an orthodontist they have built a trusted, and fun relationship with.

Congratulations to the forward thinkers and awesome dental marketing team at Mattingly & Howell. This is just one more example of your understanding of what it takes to be a social practice. It’s about people, not teeth.

A Couple Additional Thoughts…

Here’s an important recommendation if you were to consider this type of Orthodontic Facebook marketing challenge in your practice…

99% OF BUSINESSES ON FACEBOOK PROBABLY DON’T KNOW THIS, BUT… Technically, it is against Facebook promotion guidelines to conduct a “contest” where Likes are considered “votes” toward winning a prize. The guidelines specifically say, “You must not use Facebook features or functionality, such as the Like button, as a voting mechanism for a promotion.”


This comes as a big surprise to most people because so many big brands run contests that violate this guideline.

So What’s The Solution?

About now, you’re probably thinking to yourself, “Golly… why did these folks at My Social Practice get me excited about the things Mattingly & Howell did, and then say that we can’t do it?”

That’s not what we’re saying.

Here are a few simple things that you can do—in connection with this type of challenge—to stay completely within Facebook’s guidelines and still make your effort highly effective:

    1. There’s no need to call it a “orthodontic contest” where people “vote” to determine a “winner”. You may think that this will take all of the incentive out of participating. Not so. Most people who use Facebook enjoy being on Facebook! They participate because they want to, and because people they care about are participating there too. If a hygienist at a participating dental practice, for example, asks one of her patients to take a look at the crazy hat she helped make, and then “Like” it, no guidelines have been broken.
    2. You can use your wall to update viewers on the number of Likes that different practices are getting without referring to it as a contest. Bragging rights? You bet. For example, take a look at the things Sports Nation does on Facebook. People participate because it’s fun to be part of the conversation! If participating dental practices have good relationships with their patients, they’re happy to support them with a click.
    3. It’s OK to thank EVERY participant with a thank-you gift. Regardless of which practice gets the most Likes, never forget the objectives of community driven marketing using social media tools. Here at My Social Practice, we talk about becoming a social practice all the time, with these three objectives in mind… 1) Greater Loyalty through a “Trust Culture”, 2) Practice Growth Through “Top-of-Mind Awareness”, and 3) Heightened Career Fulfillment through “Sharing Your Story”. Mattingly & Howell were very smart to drop by a lovely gift basket to each participating practice.

Remarkable Results From Such A Simple Challenge!

OK, OK… We understand that not everybody has an event in their neighborhood like the Kentucky Derby! So, put your thinking “hat” on! What can you do in your practice that follows the thinking behind the challenge you just read about? Is it something else made from the materials found in a dental practice? Can you think of your own challenge?

We’d love to hear about your Orthodontic marketing ideas. And if you’re not yet one of our valued clients, contact us with any questions you may have. We work with many Orthodontic practices on orthodontic SEO and orthodontic website development. Thanks!



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About the Author: Jack Hadley is one of the founding members of My Social Practice located in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is passionate about helping dental practices grow their patient base exponentially by using digital dental marketing strategies. If you’d like to book Jack or one of the other members of My Social Practice’s speaking team, you can do that on our dental marketing consultant page.



  • This is a list of what we are look for:
    • Choice of sweepstakes or contest promotions
    • Duration of 4 – 8 weeks depending upon practice preference and type of promotion
    • Full-service management of all aspects of the promotion including:
    • Design, administration and management
    • Promotional emails, newsletters and outreach to the patient base*
    • Google Places plugin on Facebook Timeline
    • Facebook Recommendations plugin on Facebook Timeline
    • In-office promotional materials with convenient QR Code
    • Legal compliance
    • Detailed reporting on all entrants

    • Jack Hadley says:

      Thanks, Christine, for your comment and the great ideas! By the way, you are doing an awesome job with your social media. Congrats! Are you the point person in the practice responsible for all the great content being published to FB, Instagram, etc.?