How to Create A Successful Facebook Photo Contest

According to Hubspot, photos on Facebook generate 53% more Likes than the average post. In addition, Gizmodo reported that 300 million photos are uploaded to Facebook every day. So with digital photo-taking so ingrained in social networks, how can your business tap into this phenomenon?

Easy: you should run a photo contest on Facebook.

Facebook photo contests are proving to be an excellent online marketing tool. Here’s a list of 5 ways running a photo contest can create a Return On Investment (or ROI) for your business:

1. Customer Engagement

Photo contests are a personal way for your customers to interact with your business. Customers are sharing something with you, and this helps strengthen the bond between both parties.

2. Branded User-Generated Content

Involving your brand in the photo contest is an excellent way to immerse your brand in the lives of your customers, and to acquire user-generated content.

An example of this is what apparel company CrooksnCastles did with their snapback hat giveaway:

How to Create A Successful Facebook Photo Contest image

What this does is create a degree of obedience; a hoop the customer has to jump through in order to receive a reward, in the form of a prize. This will create a level of immersion with your brand, thus giving it more importance in the mind of the customer.

You can ask users to upload photos of themselves using your products. You can also use entrants’ photos as free promotional material for you: Though this isn’t talked about all that much, it is well within your right when launching a photo contest to mention in the terms and conditions the fact that you may use the entrant’s picture for future promotions, much like Fur-Ever Homes did. If the pictures are good, this could bring your promotional costs down considerably.

3. Increase Your Brand’s Reach & User Attention

Not only has it been scientifically proven that pictures really do say a thousand words, but they also generate more Likes. 53% more Likes, according to Hubspot

Pictures convey emotions an average text post cannot. And unlike video, you can just glance at a photo and see everything you need to. This means that photos on Facebook are a powerful thing; they’re attention-getting. There is precious little on Facebook that can extend your brand’s reach than a good picture.

4. New Customer Referrals

According to Krista Neher from Mashable, the most effective Facebook marketing is not to your fans, but to the friends of your fans (http://mashable.com/2012/11/20/business-facebook-engagement/). People that have “Liked” your page are already believers in your product. You’re preaching to the choir. Their friends, however, are ripe for the picking.

The most effective contest we’ve found for converting the friends of your fans to becoming engaged customers is through photo contests. As we mentioned before, photos receive 53% more likes than any other kind of post. Also, if you launch a contest where the barrier of entry is the fan must be in the picture would make the contest more personal.

5. Grow fan base and Generate Opt-In & Subscriber Emails

A brilliant feature Facebook Contest App makers include is opt-in email subscription. As a barrier to entry, users must include an email address, thus beefing up business’ subscriber email lists. This supremely augments future drip email campaigns, creates leads and hopefully sales.

How to Make a SUCCESSFUL Photo Contest:

So you’ve read the aforementioned list and you’re convinced Facebook photo contests are totally awesome and will help your brand engage with its customers. But how do you make a good one? These five steps will ensure that your photo contest is so good people get their friends to enter.

One: Be Creative

There is nothing that inspires indifference like mediocrity. If you want to get a high level of involvement from your Facebook fans, you’ve gotta think outside the box.

Two: Give Away An Awesome, Relevant Prize

It’s tempting to give away something popular like an iPad or an Amazon gift cards, but there is one fatal flaw in this decision: you’re only going to get new leads who are interested in iPads and the Amazon Marketplace.

To make sure that every person who enters your sweepstakes is interested in your products you need to make the prize either one of your products or a gift card to your store.
I recommend giving away a gift card – this way it’s applicable to every person who is interested in your products, not just to those who are interested in a certain product.

How big does my prize need to be?

Don’t worry, you don’t need to give away $1000’s to generate interest. A gift card (or prize value) of $50 to $250 is enough to get people to take the time to enter. Our client Diamond Candles ran two contests for $50 gift cards to their store and received 10,000 new leads alone.

Three: Plant A Seed To Build A Large Buzz

Your photo contest needs to start with a BANG to create a viral spread. Once you have your initial seed you can (somewhat) sit back and watch it spread through Facebook and grow on its own through the power of sharing.

Where do I get this large seed?

The best starting seeds are email lists, Facebook fans & Twitter followers. If these combined total AT LEAST 1,000 – 2,000 (and are especially email list heavy) your sweepstakes will have no problem growing on its own.

Here is what I mean: If you’re giving away a gift card to your store, it’s a no-brainer for your current customers to enter – they love your products and would love a free gift card. When they enter your photo contest they all start sharing with their friends on Facebook. This gives you access to each entrants entire social network. They see the post made by their friend, click it to enter your photo contest and become a new lead for your business.

I don’t have a big email list or a lot of fans on Facebook – what do I do?

If you know anything about online marketing, you will know the power of ads – especially on Google and Facebook. If you don’t have a current base to start with these are perfect avenues to give your photo contest the boost it needs.

Our Wishpond Ads Gurus are here to help if you need any information on how to use Google or Facebook Ads.

Four: Get ‘Em Interacting With Your Brand

Entice your audience to interact with your brand in their photo submissions.

A great example of this is what Tap House Grill did for their contest: a picture of the entrant at their restaurant:

How to Create A Successful Facebook Photo Contest image How to Create A Successful Facebook Photo Contest

This idea accomplishes a couple a goals. First, Tap House received many photos during the contest in which they could use for promotional material. Second, the photo reminded the entrant about the (presumably) positive experience they had there, thus endearing the brand to them.

Five: Cater to the Egos of Your Fans

With the continued success of reality television, and the surge to the mainstream social media sites like Instagram had this year, it is not hard to see that we are living in the age of the narcissist. As such, a culture of people desperate for their beauty and talents to be acknowledged is in full swing. Facebook Photo Contests can absolutely play into this mentality. Any brand can launch a contest looking for its Brand Girl. For example, Shimmer & Bliss, a scarf company based in Austin, Texas, launched a photo contest looking for its “Next Shimmer & Bliss Girl”:

How to Create A Successful Facebook Photo Contest image How to Create A Successful Facebook Photo Contest

On the surface, it is implied that the community surrounding your Facebook page would do the majority of the voting; but not so fast. Photo contests featuring the photos of your fans has the awesome potential to bring out the friends of your fans, thus satisfying Mashable’s definition of a successful Facebook campaign.

Six: Entice Entrants With A “Fan of the Month” Promotion

Photo contests make it extremely easy to create a “Fan of the Month” promotion. Doing so accomplishes three goals: one, it creates an intense amount of immersion for the customer into the brand. Two, as aformentioned in the fourth column, it plays into one’s ego. Third, and most importantly, it shows how appreciative your company is of your customers. As Stephen Covey would say, a “Fan of the Month” photo contest is Win-Win.

Seven: Make Sure Your Contest is Optimized For Mobile

Every year more and more people are doing the majority of their Facebook browsing on smartphones and tablets. Not having your Facebook contests optimized for mobile severely limits potential entrants and subsequent participation.

Conversely, You’ll find more participation from a different set of fans than you’d get from traditional browsing.

Eight: Follow Up With Entrants by Email to Turn Them 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 sweepstakes come to your store and shop, but they may have simply forgotten that they even entered.

Wishpond Social Sweepstakes 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.

Nine: Be Consistent

It’s best to run a Photo Contest one-to-two times per month to maintain a constant flow of traffic to your Facebook page. Trust us, it works awesome :)

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