Facebook can be a powerful tool for any medical practitioner to use to attract new patient leads. The chances are very high that the majority of your current and prospective patients use Facebook on a daily basis. Connecting with them there makes sense, and it can be cost-effective, too, therefore, leveraging Facebook to generate leads for your practice should be a priority.
One of the most powerful ways to use Facebook to attract new leads is to sponsor a contest and promote it on your Facebook page. Everybody loves the opportunity to win something, and even people who might not normally use your services might be tempted by the prospect of getting something for free.
The Benefits of Running a Contest
Let’s start by talking about some of the benefits of running a Facebook contest:
- A contest can help increase engagement with your current followers. A lot of times, people follow businesses on social media but end up ignoring most of their posts. Facebook’s new algorithms mean that many of your followers may not even see your posts unless they visit your page. Because of the high level of interest people have in contests, you will probably get more Likes and Shares on your contest post than you normally do. That increases the chances that other followers will see it.
- A contest can help you grow your following. People are very likely to share contest posts, and that gives you the opportunity to get your practice in front of a whole host of new patients. As much as people love the idea of winning something, they also love the idea of sharing that possibility with others. That’s why lottery pools are so popular.
- A contest can help you to build name recognition and brand awareness. There are studies showing that customers in any arena need to come into contact with a brand name as many as 10 times before they are ready to make a purchase. When people recognize your name, they are more likely to pick up the phone and call you when they need the services you offer. Even people who don’t enter your contest may end up being future patients based on name recognition alone.
- A contest can help you grow your email list. Increased exposure on Facebook isn’t the only benefit of running a contest. If you link the contest entry back to your website, you can incentivize people to sign up for your email list – and that gives you countless additional opportunities to sell them on your services.
- A contest can build good will with new and existing patients alike. Contests make the people who sponsor them look generous and charitable. Patients know that you don’t have to give away services for free. The fact that you are willing to do so can improve their opinion of you, thus increasing the chances that they will continue to use your services – and to refer others to your practice, too.
The benefits of running a Facebook contest are clear. You have the potential to improve your standing with existing patients and attract new ones.
Tips for Running a Facebook Contest
Running a Facebook contest is relatively easy, but there are some things you should keep in mind.
- Offer a service as your prize, not a random giveaway like an iPad. The goal here is to get patients into your practice. Once a patient has the chance to experience your services, they will see the benefits of continuing with you. If all you do is give them a new toy, you may never get to treat them.
- Incentivize your followers to share the information about your contest with their social media contacts. The goal here is to use the contest to generate leads, so you don’t want to hide your light under a bushel. Don’t just assume that people will share the information about your contest. Ask them to share it. One way to increase shares is to offer two ways to enter. First, patients can enter by leaving a comment on your post. Second, they can enter again by sharing your post. You will be able to see both comments and shares, and you can keep track of contest entries accordingly.
- Post information about the contest on a regular basis. If you are going to require people to comment on your original post to enter, make sure to link to that post each time. You can make this process a bit easier on yourself by using Facebook’s scheduling tool to set up posts ahead of time.
- If you want to combine your contest with content generation, consider doing a photo or essay contest instead of a sweepstakes. Have patients write about how they think they could benefit from your services, or post a picture of themselves doing something related. For example, a dental practice might ask patients to post pictures of their smiles. Just make sure to make it clear that contest submissions may be used on your website.
- Promote your post about the contest. As mentioned previously, Facebook’s algorithms dictate which of your followers see your posts. If you want to be sure that everyone sees it, boost the post. You can do it for as little as $5 per day. Choose the “Followers and friends of followers” option rather than advertising to a broader audience. This choice will ensure that all of your followers – as well as all of their Facebook contacts – will see your post in their News Feed.
- Be clear about the rules of the contest, and quick to award prizes. Any lack of clarity or delay will erode your credibility, so make sure that you leave no ambiguity about the rules. When you choose a winner, contact them immediately and let them know exactly what they need to do to claim their prize.
Facebook contests are an easy and inexpensive way to generate leads for your practice. For a very small budget, you can get a big jump in both paid and organic traffic to your Facebook page and website. You’ll have to give away a service for free, but in return, you will have access to a whole new group of potential patients.