Do Pet Photo Contests Still Work in 2018?


Everyone thinks their dog is the cutest. It doesn’t matter if it’s a slobbery old bulldog or a stumbling-and-bumbling Golden Retriever puppy — pet parents have a soft spot for their furry friend. That’s why one great way to engage with clients is through one simple but effective strategy: Photo contests.

Do photo contests still work? Vets have been using photo contests for decades, but as technology has upended how we interact with our clients, the key to a good photo contest today is maximizing engagement and using the contest to help you achieve a variety of goals.

Photo contests are a great way to engage your audience and promote your other platforms that your visitors may not know about. Contests are also an easy way to incorporate more traditional marketing by collecting email addresses which not everyone is so easily swayed to give out these days.

Think About Your Audience

You must determine what makes sense for your brand. This is information that really only you and your veterinary staff members can determine by thinking about the type of pet owners you service.  Are they elderly, young professionals, or do you have many families that come in consistently with maybe several animals at home? Is there a type of animal or breed of dog/cat that is most commonly owned by your clients? A great category to think about is your audience’s hobbies. Are you client’s active, own big dogs, take risks, and adventurous? Or do most of your owner’s own small house dogs/cats and have more of a predictable mundane lifestyle? These are questions that must be answered so that you can market your contest in the right way for your veterinary practice and truly make it your own.

What Is The Goal?

Are you looking to bring brand awareness? Are you wanting to collect email addresses for future promotions? Are you looking for sales? Knowing the reason behind why you are doing something is important when motivating your team. If they know how important it is to the business, they will be more likely to participate and promote.

Choose Your Platform

Host your competition on one main platform and then use others to cross promote it. This will reduce confusion and help you to choose winners more easily. Facebook or Instagram are great because they both have a Live Video Stream feature where you can promote the contest in real time with your fans and customers. This is a very personal way to ask people to enter the contest/giveaway and is proven to help in creating loyal customers towards your brand.

One way to boost followers across platforms is to offer extra entries if they follow you on Twitter and Instagram along with already liking your Facebook page. Or ask your followers to tag their friends in the comments as part of their entry which is a great way to #furtheryourpostreach and market to users who may not have followed you before.


Giving is the reason for the season!
Your veterinary practice needs to start taking advantage of the holiday season if you haven’t already! In case you are in need of some ideas, here is a list of holidays below that you could use to launch your first contest!

  • New Years (What is your pet’s resolution for 2019?)
  • Valentine’s Day (Have pet parents pose with their animals and tell why they love their pet)
  • Easter (Cutest pet photo contest – pose your dog with some bunny ears for example, and bright colored eggs)
  • 4th of July (Patriotic Pooch photo contest – the most patriotic pet wins)
  • Halloween (have a pet photo costume contest. The best costume wins and they can receive gift cards or a gift basket)
  • Thanksgiving (Have pet owners post a fall themed photo of their furry friend and tell you what they are most thankful for this year)
  • Christmas (Have pet owners post a picture of their pet with Santa with a holiday caption. The one with the best caption wins)

Start brainstorming with your team today and get ready for the new year to launch some awesome contests that your client’s and you can benefit from!


Clearly stating the rules of your contest is the most crucial step in creating your promotion. Make the rules simple:

  • Who is eligible
  • How to enter
  • How long the contest will run
  • How the winner is selected
  • How the winner can claim their prize

A great website to help you randomly choose a winner is https://www.random.org.

Don’t forget to add the terms and conditions of the prize to protect your practice and also should confirm that you are following the guidelines of whatever platform you are using whether it’s Facebook, Instagram, or another.


What’s The Point?
If running a contest in hopes of gaining followers is your goal, either on Facebook or any other platform, running ads along with your contest can really help boost its visibility. Taking advantage of the “Share” feature of Facebook will help other people that are not following your page see a contest you run that their friend shared. Partnering with other local businesses is also a great way to increase your reach among people who don’t follow you on social media yet.


Choosing a Prize – What Get’s People Motivated?
An effective photo contest promotion requires a great prize. Discounts, exclusive offers, gift cards and gift baskets all have high values to entrants, but only you and your business can truly determine what your customers would be excited about.



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