(This post was originally published on Sept 26, 2013, and has been updated to be even more fantastic!)
So you’re thinking about running a contest on your practice Facebook Page? Great idea! It’s easier than ever to create and manage an engaging contest that really connects with your followers, Further, contests are a viable way to:

  • Attract new visitors to your page
  • Boost awareness about a topic or event
  • Convey your practice’s personality
  • Reward your engaged clients

Before you get started however, you want to make sure you’re giving enough thought to some key factors. Let’s review the important questions you need to ask yourself before running your next Facebook contest.

7 Questions to Consider Before You Run a Facebook Contest

1. Why am I having the contest? The first thing you need to know is your goal. Are you trying to advertise a promotion at your clinic? Raise awareness about a pet health issue? Gain more Likes? These answers will shape the entire contest. Every decision you make moving forward should support the overall objective of your promotion.
2. What kind of contest am I running? There are many different types of Facebook promotions, including coupons, sweepstakes, photo contests, and plenty more! It’s best to keep contests simple, especially if you haven’t run many. The more complicated you make it, the less likely your fans are to participate. You might begin with an easy giveaway, requiring that participants like or comment on a photo to be entered. You might post a cute pet photo and ask participants to submit their ideas for captions. Whatever your decision, be sure that the contest is inviting and simple to enter.
3. What’s my prize? A good veterinary Facebook contest requires an attractive incentive. What’s yours? Choose something that’s especially valuable to your audience of pet owners. This could mean offering a discount, a pet accessory, or any other product that promotes pet health. If your prize is only offered to pet owners and non-transferrable, make that clear from the start.
4. What are the rules? Writing your contest rules is perhaps your most important step. Every promotion needs a set of contest rules that clarifies the terms of the promotion. Include basic guidelines for participation such as:

  • Who is eligible (e.g., only clients, people within a certain age or geographical range, etc.)
  • Who is sponsoring the contest
  • How entries are collected
  • How long the contest will run
  • How the winner is to be selected
  • How the winner is to claim his or her prize

Then you’ll also need to include information to protect yourself. Consider questions like:

  • How long does a winner have to claim the prize?
  • Can the prize be redeemed for cash value?
  • Is the prize transferrable?
  • What information am I collecting from participants and how will it be used?

You should post these contest terms either directly in your contest post, or create a page on your website to host them, and link to the terms in the post. These terms protect your practice from any disputes over the prizes, and they also ensure that you’re adhering to Facebook’s Promotions rules.
Important: If you are collecting data from contest participants on your Facebook page, you’ll need to state somewhere that Facebook is no way endorsing, sponsoring, or administering your contest, and that Facebook is released of all liability by each participant. See section E of Facebook’s Page Guidelines for details.
5. How will I entice people to enter? If you want pet owners to participate in a contest, you need to spread the word! Mention your veterinary Facebook contest to pet owners in your clinic, on your website, and in your newsletter. Leverage any other social media platforms that you use to cross-promote, and ask your friends or fans to help you advertise.
6. How will I choose and reward my winner? We’ve mentioned this already, and these are decisions you’ll make before writing your contest rules, but at this point it’s important that you uphold your word. Review your contest regulations and be transparent about your selection process.
7. How will I measure my contest’s impact? Don’t forget to track your analytics throughout the contest! After it has closed, review your page insights. Did you achieve your goal? Did you see a greater reach and experience higher levels of engagement on your veterinary Facebook page? Analyze the responses or information that you collected and consider how it will be helpful to you. If you aren’t happy with your contest, you’ll know which areas to adjust next time.

A Facebook contest is a great way to engage more followers, but it also takes a little bit of consideration and effort. By answering these 7 questions as you create your contest, you’ll be ready to create an awesome contest that your followers and clients will love!

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