Photo Contests empower you to amass dozens of pieces of user generated content (UGC) and hundreds of shared stories. Most importantly, each piece of user-generated content includes your brand. This makes it a valuable social media asset. Each photo can be shared again and again as evidence of how much your customers love you. Check out our 6-step guide below to learn how to run a successful Photo Contest:
1. Choosing a Photo Theme/Criteria
There are three things to consider when choosing your Contest’s theme:
1. Make sure the criteria for photos is broad enough that a majority of your market can easily enter and make sure that it ties into your brands.
FicaChic, a Brazilian retailer, ran a photo contest that asked entrants to upload photos of their most beautiful shoes – a contest that any woman can enter.
2. Make your theme require photos that will be inviting to look at and share: Think pets, babies & shoes.
Home Fur-Ever Rescue asked entrants to upload photos of their dogs in holiday attire. This created a huge collection of adorable photos with huge share potential.
3. Have your brand included in the photos. This allows you to easily reuse the photos in your marketing to show how much your customers love your brand.
Tap House Grill asked entrants to upload their favorite photos taken at Tap House Grill. This is the perfect theme: It includes their branding, shows happy customers having a good time at their business & reminds entrants about great times they had there – which may in turn push them to visit again.
2. Set a format to optimize user-sharing and virality
The best way to get people sharing your contest is to push the entrants to share with their friends. The easiest way to set this is by having the winner selected through user voting – i.e. the photo with the most votes. Every entrant will push their friends and family to vote for them to win.
Shimmer & Bliss’ photo contest, “win the chance for your daughter to be their next cover model” propelled many proud mothers to share and tweet on behalf of their daughter:
3. Give away a BIG gift card to YOUR store
Contests are social in nature. People love to talk about winning the grand prize draw – especially if it’s one that they can’t afford right now. This is key to remember, entrants to your photo contest won’t just be telling their friends to vote for for them, they’ll be talking about how great the prize is!
But don’t give away an iPad. You’ll get a lot of entrants but only ones who are interested in iPads, not your products.
The best prize is a $100 (or more!) gift card to your store.
It applies to every customer who is interested in YOUR products. And it is large enough to grab people’s attention. It will get people talking about the cool things that they’ve seen in your store that they’d purchase with the gift card.
It will also bring entrants to your store simply by enticing them to see what they can use their gift card to purchase – which may turn them into customers on the spot if they see something they want. Remember, the whole point of running a photo contest is to get new shoppers to check out your store and convert them.
4. Plant a large seed to give it a boost
Wishpond’s Photo Contest has a built in auto-sharing feature. This means that every person who enters your photo contest will automatically share a post to their Facebook Profile about it – which gives you exposure to their entire social network.
It’s up to you to get those first few entrants to get the ball rolling. Your photo contest is not going to simply start from zero and take off on its own.
How do you do this?
There are three ways:
1. Distribute it to your current customers.
This is an easy and free way to start the organic sharing. Your customers already love your products so entering a contest for a free gift card is a no-brainer.
Send out an email to your customer lists and post to each of your social networks to let each of them know about it to get them entered and to start sharing with their friends.
2. Distribute it through established blogs.
There are a ton of established blogs that have sections just to showcase free giveaways from other sellers, so it`s easy to piggyback on their traffic.
Here’s a great list of blogs to post giveaways to in this article -www.squidoo.com/giveawaylinkies
Each of them accept free outside submissions.
3. Facebook Ads
Facebook Ads are a great tool to use for targeting specific consumer groups. You can create ads targeted based on explicit demographics and interests of users.
This is perfect for your photo contest. Most ads are boring and are about a sale or a new product – but you’re giving away $100 in an engaging contest! This will entice a large number of shoppers who have never heard of you to click on your ad. And it will give you reach to brand new social circles that you don’t currently have access to.
5. Convert your entrants into customers
Once all the hoopla is over and you’ve picked your winner, what do you do?
You can sit back and hope that some of the non-winners of your photo contest come to your store and shop, but they may have simply forgotten that they even entered.
Wishpond Photo Contest gives you the email addresses of each of your entrants – so this is the perfect time to convert those interested entrants into CUSTOMERS.
You can send a warm email by offering them a small consolation prize – like a 25% off gift card – as a thank you for entering. This will quell their immediate negative feelings of not winning and leave them feeling positive towards you. It will also give them an excuse to head to your store and start shopping.
6. Make sure to stay within Facebook’s Contest guidelines
This is easy, but many brands who are unfamiliar with Facebook tend to fumble this. Facebook requires that you have an explicit disclaimer basically saying that Facebook is not sponsoring or associated with the contest you’re running. 3rd party Photo Contest apps like Wishpond have this disclaimer built-in so you don’t have to worry about it.
If you’re going to run your own Photo Contest, here is our disclaimer to help give you an idea of how it should read:
This promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with, Facebook. You understand that you are providing your information to Wishpond and [merchant name] and not to Facebook. By participating in this promotion you agree to a complete release of Facebook from any claims.
Learn more about Wishpond’s Photo Contest app for Facebook, Website, Mobile & In-Store now!