People love to win. They also love to support businesses that actively engage with them. That's why Facebook and Instagram contests are a great way to boost engagement and build good-will with your followers, while expanding your reach to new followers.
Plus, they're fun!
This list will provide you with 25 specific dental contest ideas for Facebook and Instagram to help you get started, as well as outline best practices to ensure your contests are set up for success.
Creating a Successful Dental Practice Facebook Contest
It's important that your contest is well thought out to avoid any confusion, a lack of entries, or disputes over the prize. You'll want to make sure your contest post includes the following:
- A call-to-action (CTA)
- End date/time
A CTA is a phrase that tells the reader exactly what you want them to do (i.e. "Click here to enter" or "Comment below"). Don't leave your followers guessing.
Your followers need a reason to enter your contest, so offer something that will be appealing to a wide audience.
Set a specific end date and time for your contest so that your followers know how much time they have to enter and when a winner will be selected.
To avoid any complications, make the rules and regulations clear from the start. For example, "Entrants must follow us on Facebook and comment on the post to be eligible. Winner must contact us within 24 hours of the announcement to claim the prize or another winner will be selected." State what they need to do to be eligible to win and how and when to claim their prize. Also, refer to Facebook's guidelines for running contests here.
The Best Facebook & Instagram Contests for Dentists
Is there a holiday coming up? Holiday-themed contests are always a good idea. Think: Halloween costume contest, best Christmas shirt contests, or "Guess how many lollies are in the jar" Valentine's Day contests.
- Short time-frame
Create a sense of urgency by running a contest with a short time-frame (i.e. "Contest ends in 48 hours!"). You might be surprised how many entries you get when the window of opportunity is short.
- Followers giveaway
Looking to grow your followers on Facebook or Instagram? Set a followers goal and give away an awesome prize when you reach it. For instance, tell your followers that you will be giving away [INSERT SIZABLE PRIZE HERE] when you reach 2,000 followers on Instagram. To enter, they must share your contest post in their Instagram story and in their feed and tag you. Their friends will see the contest post and start following you so they can enter to win as well. Your following will grow and odds are, a good percentage of your new followers will be local friends of your current patients. Those are quality new patient leads right there!
- Tag friends to be entered
Ask your followers to tag their friends in the comments of your contest post as a way to enter the contest. More people seeing your contest post, means more opportunities for new followers. Here's an example of a London dentist who gave away a teeth whitening session:
- Post a photo in the comments
Get your followers involved by asking them to post a photo of something specific in order to be entered in the contest. For instance, a picture of their crazy hair for a chance to win a gift certificate to a local salon. Or a photo showing what makes them smile for a chance to win an electric toothbrush.
- Drive traffic to your website
Create a landing page on your website with the contest details and an entry form. The traffic boost to your site sends good signals to Google. And if you really want to take it to the next level, you could use that traffic to build an audience for Facebook retargeting ads.
- Photo with branded hashtag
Ask your followers to post a photo to their Instagram feed with a particular hashtag. You can see who enters by clicking on the hashtag. For example, one dentist asked his followers to take a photo of their new quarantine hobbies, post it with the contest hashtag, and tag the practice Instagram account. His practice gets free advertising and his patients have a chance to win something. It's a win-win! (*Note: make sure your hashtag has not been used before by searching for it ahead of time)
- Multi-business giveaway
Partner up with other local businesses to do a multi-business, multi-prize giveaway. These are very popular on Instagram. Several businesses will offer up a prize, each one posts about the contest, and to enter, a person must like your post, then go to the profile of the next business, follow them, like their contest post, then go to the next business, and so on until they're back where they started. These contests are fantastic for getting your brand in front of more local eyes and cross-promoting with other local businesses. Here's an example of a family-owned strawberry farm that partnered with a couple of other small businesses to do an Instagram giveaway:
- Reward loyal patients
"Anyone who comes in for an appointment in the month of July will get one raffle ticket to enter in our [INSERT PRIZE] giveaway! Winner will be drawn August 1st, announced on social media, and contacted via email." Post a photo of the prize and boost the post to your followers to make sure it's seen by more people.
(*Note: Add a disclaimer to your raffle tickets or on a sign near the raffle box that states winner's first name and last initial will be announced on social media and entering a ticket in the drawing counts as permission to share their name in the event that they win, just to be mindful of any patient privacy concerns.)
- Promote new service/products
Build excitement around a new service you're offering by doing a giveaway. Now offering take-home teeth whitening trays? Give away a free one to get the word out. The post could be as simple as, "We're excited to announce that we now offer take-home teeth whitening trays! Help us get the word out by sharing this post and then leaving a comment below to be entered to win a free, custom take-home whitening kit. Winner will be randomly selected on [INSERT DATE/TIME]." You could do something similar with any new products you start selling, such as electric toothbrushes.
- Build excitement for an upcoming event
If you host webinars, in-person events, or sponsor any community events, let your followers know by doing a giveaway based on the event. If it's a paid event, offer up free admission to the winner. Want more people to attend the event? Let your social media followers know that all attendees will be entered to win a special prize and provide the details on how they can sign up to attend.
- Regular giveaways for consistent engagement
Keep your followers engaged by doing consistent giveaways. By holding a contest every month, or even every week, your followers will know to look forward to it and the amount of engagement you get will gradually increase over time. Take a look at this dentist who does a quarterly drawing:
- Celebrate a milestone
The doctor's birthday, the anniversary of the practice, or an employee's work anniversary – all reasons to celebrate and all great excuses to hold a contest! Let's say your hygienist is celebrating 5 years with the practice. Play a game with your followers by asking them a question about the team member ("Where was [INSERT HYGIENIST'S NAME] born?" or "What college did [INSERT HYGIENIST'S NAME] graduate from?"). First person to guess correctly wins a gift card to your hygienist's favourite local restaurant.
- Biggest fan contest
To enter, followers must post a picture of themselves wearing practice swag, holding a sign that says "I ❤️ my dentist," or showing off their pearly white smile, and tag your practice in their post.
- Big ticket giveaway
To really get people's attention, give away a big ticket item. For example, Charleston Orthodontic Specialists wanted to get more people in for Invisalign consults. To achieve that, they announced they'd be giving away a free Invisalign treatment. They created a landing page on their site and plan to announce the winner on a Facebook live video. Here's the landing page on their site with the details:
If you're afraid you wouldn't see a return on an investment like that, consider the lifetime value of a new patient. How many new patients would you need to get from the contest to come out ahead?
- Caption contest
Post a silly photo and ask your followers to caption it. Your office staff can vote to choose the best caption. This dentist had some fun in a photo caption contest in which he gave away a restaurant gift card:
- Easy, last minute contest
"Comment below with your favourite (easy weeknight recipe/way to destress at the end of the day/at-home workout/etc.). One winner will be randomly selected to receive a ____ at 5pm tonight."
Dental Facebook Contest Prize Ideas
Now that we've shared some specific types of contests and giveaways and how to run them, here's a short list of popular prize ideas to help you get started:
- Teeth whitening (the before and after photos of the winner would make great social media posts!)
- Electric toothbrush
- Branded office swag (t-shirts, hats, etc.)
- Local small business goods/gift cards
- Small appliances (juicer, blender, pressure cooker, etc.)
- Themed gift baskets
- Restaurant gift cards
Shake Up Your Marketing Routine with Facebook Contests
Add a fun new element to your marketing strategy by implementing social media contests. Your existing patients are sure to love them (you may even see an uptick in reactivations) and you'll attract new patients at the same time. Learn about Facebook advertising to broaden your reach.