The AAO launched its first-ever Instagram influencers campaign in October as part of the 2019-20 Consumer Awareness Program (CAP).

A social media influencer is one whose authority, knowledge, position or relationship with his/her audience is so strong that the influencer impacts purchasing decisions or choices in aspects of life such as healthcare. The AAO focused its campaign on Instagram, one of the primary social media outlets where many influencers have become prominent and attracted large followings.

Influencers who focus on motherhood content share high-quality photos of their families and communicate with their followers to provide inspiration and tips about raising children. The AAO sponsored posts by 16 mom influencers on October 4. Posts noted that the date was World Smile Day, helping make the content authentic and relatable to followers. In addition, they offered audience members information points from the AAO, including:

  • By age 7, kids should have their first check-up with an AAO orthodontist;
  • A dentist’s referral is not necessary to have an orthodontic check-up;
  • While most orthodontic problems can be treated in one phase, there are exceptions. With two-phase orthodontic treatment, the first phase begins while the child still has some baby teeth.

Posts also invited audience members to submit questions, with answers to be provided by the AAO.

Followers Engage with AAO Information

The 16 mom influencers’ posts were viewed by a combined audience of nearly 400,000 followers, of whom 30,500 engaged with the content. Many of those who engaged posted comments or questions that were similar to findings of the recent AAO parents research initiative. Comments included:

  • “Holy Moses, how did I not know this? I had braces twice, starting in 2nd grade. Definitely going to take the kiddo in sooner rather than later!”
  • “Thanks for this info. I’ve been waiting and waiting for our dentist to recommend my 10-year-old see an orthodontist and they never have. It’s very obvious she needs braces and she’s self-conscious about her teeth, but I thought I HAD to wait for a referral. I’ll be looking into seeing an orthodontist on my own now.”
  • “We started going to the ortho with our boys this past year and I’m so glad we did! I’m pretty sure all my kids will need expanders/braces .
  • “Thank you! I work at a dental office and this is so important for people to understand!”

About the Consumer Awareness Program

The all-digital Consumer Awareness Program is the ONLY mass awareness campaign working to raise awareness among consumers about the benefits of orthodontic treatment provided by orthodontists, and promote orthodontists as specialists. Digital marketing platforms currently being utilized include paid search (Google, Yahoo! and Bing), website ads, social media outlets (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat), email marketing, online video, and much more.

AAO online ads are behaviorally targeted, to individuals who are researching orthodontic treatment topics online. By bringing approximately 5 million consumers per year to the website,, the CAP educates consumers about orthodontists and the importance of getting treatment from an orthodontist. In addition, visitors to the website have the opportunity to locate nearby AAO members through the ‘Find an Orthodontist’ service.