Everybody loves a winner—and when it comes to dental marketing, there’s no easier way to win over your patients and grow your dental practice than with easy and effective social media contests.
Giveaways, contests, and sweepstakes on social media have become a key tool in dental marketing, and for good reason. According to a 2016 study, 81% of content marketers agreed that interactive content is more effective at grabbing a reader’s attention than static content.
Contests provide the perfect opportunity to catch someone’s eye, which is half the battle in social media marketing.
The other half of the battle? Engagement.
Engagement is everything on social media.
Even if your practice has thousands of followers, if you post something on Facebook and it doesn’t earn any likes, shares, or hearts — that reflects the value you are providing.
Social media contests add value by providing a tangible incentive for engagement.
Like all social media posts, contests should reflect your practice’s brand. They should always feel highly relevant.
Contests around holidays, trends in the dental industry, and repeatable giveaways that people can dependably look for are low-effort ways to fill your social media calendar and generate buzz around your practice.
Contests are also great because they accomplish several marketing goals at once. If done well, social media contests with your patients can:
Make your practice’s Facebook page more visible
Many people discredit the importance of likes and shares, specifically on Facebook, thinking that if you post something your followers will automatically see it.
This isn’t the case.
Most of the content and contests you post will only go to a small percentage of your following. However, with the way Facebook’s algorithm is set up, increasing the traffic on a post will cause it to reach more people.
Increase number of page likes and followers
While focusing on engagement is important, increasing the number of page likes is a huge benefit of contests.
A bigger following makes your practice more credible on social media. It also increases potential reach for every post.
Create relationships with other brands or companies
Hosting contests with affiliated companies, like Crest, Oral-B, or Waterpik, is a great way to associate your dental practice with trusted brands.
Boost awareness and loyalty for your practice
This is the ultimate goal of social media contests. By engaging your patients in fun contests, you can create an invaluable sense of community, provide real value, and stay relevant in their feeds.
Note: For most dental practices, Facebook will likely be the most effective social media channel for running contests.
Facebook makes it easy to schedule, track, and run ads. It’s also the social media platform that will reach the largest portion of your patients.
That said, many of our contest ideas are easily adaptable to other platforms.
So, whether this is your first social media contest or you’re just in need of some fresh ideas, these simple and fun contests will help liven up your feed.
Contests to Add to Your Social Media Calendar
Time for your followers to get a little creative. Caption contests make for successful campaigns because they allow both you and your patients to showcase your personalities.
Find a funny picture, and either choose the winner yourself or choose the one with the most likes (or do both!).
However you go about choosing a winner, make sure you clearly state the parameters at the start of the contest.
Ask a question
Asking a question or taking a poll to generate comments is a great place to start.
This is a spin on the classic “comment to win” contest, but because it uses natural, less spammy wording, it is more likely to be seen by your followers — this is even more important with the new Facebook algorithm that downranks posts having any engagement bait.
Post a photo or video with a question to prompt a comment for a chance to win a small prize, like a gift card or discounted treatment.
This contest works well on both Facebook and Instagram, which rely on compelling photos.
(Super) Short essay contest
Increase engagement by giving followers a prompt they can respond to is a creative way. It’s also nice way to collect testimonials that can be used in future marketing, should your patients be okay with you doing so.
Keep each essay short, around 15-20 words maximum. (Given the brevity of the essays, this is a great contest to promote on Twitter. Just ask that participants tweet their answers with a specific hashtag for the contest.)
Example: “What does ‘healthy’ mean to you? Give your best answer in 20 words or less for a chance to win a year’s worth of free toothpaste!”
“Show us your smile” photo contest
People love sharing pictures of their smiling kids on social media. And when a kid loses a tooth, parents grab the camera.
Have you followers submit their best “I lost a tooth!” or another #smilestone picture for a chance to win a prize.
This is also great for a #throwbackthursday where patients can submit funny throwback photos of themselves as kids with missing teeth.
Either have participants submit the photos directly through Facebook Messenger or post them on your wall.
As with the caption contests, winners can be chosen internally or voted on with likes.
Send your “before” picture for a free whitening
Before-and-after pictures can be highly effective marketing tools for your practice.
Set the rules carefully for this one — make sure participants submit their photos privately through Facebook Messenger to prevent a flood of potentially unflattering “before” smiles on your feed.
Select the winner randomly and do a follow-up post after the whitening, but only if permitted by the winner.
Ultimate smile makeover giveaway
Giving away a full smile makeover is a wonderful way to increase your following and create lifelong advocates.
This can include orthodontics, periodontics, crowns, implants, whitenings, and any other treatments you might offer.
Because the prize is more costly to your practice than, say, a $10 gift card, ask for more effort from the participants.
For example, create a unique link for social media, and have it take people to a page where they can fill out their name, address, birthday, email, etc.
Gathering emails through contests is a great strategy because it gives you future marketing opportunities geared toward people who have interacted with your practice.
Post a pic of your pup’s best smile
Because oral hygiene isn’t just for humans!
This is a fun photo contest that is easy for your followers with dogs who are likely already posting pictures of their best friends all over Facebook (for posting rules, refer to contest idea No. 4).
Even better, you can give away something to your patient and their pup! Maybe a Sonicare for the human and some Dentastix for the pooch.
Seasonal and Holiday Contests
Back-to-school smile photo contest
Back-to-school season means plenty of pictures!
Have participants submit their kids’ back-to-school smiles for a free prize at their next cleaning.
Example: “Submit your best back-to-school smiles for a chance to win a bonus prize from our Treasure Box at their next cleaning!”
Refer a friend, win stocking stuffers!
For the holidays, giving away small gift boxes with toothbrushes, gift cards, and sugar-free gum is a warm way to collect emails before the new year.
Think of this social media contest as a new spin on getting referrals.
This strategy can be applied to any holiday with fun-themed gift baskets, gift cards, or services that your practice can provide at a discount or for free.
Example: “Tag a friend in the comments below or refer on our website for a chance to fill your stockings for the holidays!”
New Year’s free-cleaning giveaway
Everyone has self-improvement on their minds at the start of the year. Use this mindset as an opportunity to get people in your office with a giveaway as an incentive.
Example: “New year, new you! Come in for a cleaning in January and get entered for a chance to win a free Waterpik!”
Social media contests are an effective, cost-efficient, and, if done properly, invaluable marketing tool for your dental practice.
While they should never be the foundation of your dental marketing strategy, occasional contests are the added fuel that drives engagement—and with these tips, you will be well on your way to winning over your followers.
Learn more about how RevenueWell improves case acceptance and creates more close-knit relationships between dentists and their patients.