Nine Steps to a Successful Veterinary Facebook Contest
A Facebook page for your veterinary practice is not just a creation. It’s an investment. To be successful requires creativity, consistency, and lots of time.
Facebook promotions, or contests, are a powerful way to:
• Engage and interact with clients
• Reach potential new clients
• Raise awareness for your clinic
• Provide an understanding of what your clinic does and how it operates
Creating a Facebook Contest
Running a Facebook contest requires a promotions strategy. It must be well thought out and thoroughly planned. Follow these nine steps to prevent a contest catastrophe.
1. State your goal – What is the purpose of your contest? To engage with fans? To grow your fanbase? Answer these crucial questions to shape your contest.
2. Determine contest rules – Qualify how fans will enter the contest. For example, is it a photo contest? Are you going to reward “Likes?” Get creative, but make it easy. A complicated contest will only discourage fans from signing up.
3. Legally protect yourself – In addition to outlining your promotion, make sure your contest rules legally protect your clinic. For example, specify who is eligible, how the winner will be decided, and how long the winner has to claim his or her prize. While it may seem tedious to detail the specifics, it will protect you from potential lawsuits.
4. Select a third party app to run your contest – Facebook requires that all promotions and contests be administered as an application on Facebook. Select a third party app that will help you create and manage your contest. Examples of third party apps include Wildfire, OfferPop, NorthSocial, and Fanappz, to name a few.
5. Understand Facebook’s rules – Just as you protect yourself against potential legal action, so Facebook protects itself. For example, did you know that you can’t notify winners through Facebook? Or that the act of liking a Page cannot automatically register or enter a participant? Make sure your promotion meets the terms and conditions outlined in Facebook’s Promotions Guidelines.
6. Determine your prize – What kind of prizes should you award? This is up to you. Prizes can range from small to large. Consider two elements: what your clinic can afford and what prize or prizes would appeal most to your audience.
7. Determine the benefit of the contest and communicate the message to fans – How do users benefit by entering your contest? Your top prize is the most recognizable benefit, but communicate to fans any additional smaller prizes. Use those benefits to communicate with your fans and market your contest.
8. Promote your Contest – No one is going to enter your contest unless they know about it. Use various outlets to promote your contest including word-of-mouth, phone calls, newslettters, emails, and posters in your clinic. Any way you can spread the word will encourage people to sign up.
9. Analytics & Tracking – Among its many advantages, Facebook contests allow you to better connect with your audience. If your contest requires personal information, be sure to include a line that allows you to use the information for marketing purposes. For example, ask which topics participants are most interested in, such as behavior or nutrition, and use that information to follow up with the participant after the contest is over, like through a topical enewsletter list.
What Does a Facebook Contest for a Veterinary Practice Look Like?
North Ryde Veterinary Hospital in Sydney, Australia is a great example of how to execute a successful Facebook contest. The hospital is awarding one lucky fan complimentary veterinary care for a year, including annual health check-up, vaccination, flea, tick, and worming treatments, and a pet insurance policy. By entering the contest, fans have a chance to save almost $6,000 on their veterinarian bills.
All fans are required to do is sign up to one of North Ryde’s social media pages, such as Facebook, Twitter, or Foursquare, by May 25, 2012. Then, they must complete the following sentence: “The thing I like most about North Ryde Veterinary Hospital is…”
Fans can also express what they don’t like about North Ryde Veterinary Hospital. The hospital says it values any feedback that will improve its client relations.
Facebook Promotions & Payoff
Facebook contests involve lots of work and lots of planning. Growing your Facebook fanbase and attracting new clients requires a dedicated effort. But Dr. Dave Nicol, Director of the North Ryde Veterinary Hospital, says the payoff is worth the pain.
“I use contests to build a following,” Nicol says. “Once I have attention, then I want to deepen relationships through interactions by helping them [fans] solve problems or achieve goals."
Nicol acknowledges this might mean helping someone who doesn’t live near your clinic or someone who will never be your customer. Still, it’s the meaning behind the action.
““People notice others doing good things; going the extra mile without asking for a payoff,” Nicol says. “It will pay off in the long run for sure.”
For related articles, please see the following:
3 Reasons Your Veterinary Practice Should Be On Pinterest
Yes, You Really Do Need a Social Networking Policy