Photo contests are among the most common types of contests. Photos are engaging and they typically dont require as much effort for your consumers, when compared to a video or essay. There are many benefits to running a photo contest, the biggest of which is increased engagement and user generated content. In order to help your contest stand out from the crowd, we have compiled a list of tips to help you create a highly engaging photo contest for your next promotion.
Connect to an event or holiday
The best way to increase engagement with a promotion is to connect to something that already has a large following, or a lot of buzz. By running a contest themed around a popular event or holiday, you have an almost “built-in” fan base. Bonus points if the event is something your brands consumers are interested in. As an example, if your company sells baked goods, you could run a contest themed around a bake-off event. This would increase engagement with your photo contest more than an unrelated event, such as a motorcycle parade. If you’re in need of a real-life example, MRi worked with the MTN DEW team recently to run a wildly successful contest during the Super Bowl to promote their new flavor. Check it out!
Make use of social media
Social media promotions are a good way to increase program participation, especially if your brand has an active following on social media. Posts on social media are highly shareable, especially images. Facebook and instagram are great channels for a photo contest, since both platforms feature images heavily (more than twitter, as an example). In addition, influencers on social media can do wonders to increase engagement and promote your photo contest. Like in the previous section, be sure that the influencer(s) you choose relate to your brand so that their audience will be more likely to be interested in your contest. Finally, Make sure you check out the rules on running a promotion for whichever social media platform(s) you choose. On Facebook, for example, you cannot require users to post something on their personal timeline or a friends timeline to enter (AKA shares or tags). Instead, for your photo contest, you can have your consumers enter by sharing their photo to your business page.
Incentivise with the right reward
Many times choosing a reward is something brands do near the end of their promotional strategizing and planning. However, rewards can be one of the biggest reasons why consumers participate. Cash is king with promotions, but contests can provide more flexibility with prizing. Since the people who participate in your contest are most commonly already fans of your brand, your prizing can be specific to things your consumers might like. For example, “free [product or service you offer] for a year”. Digital rewards can also be a great motivator for consumers. When dealing with fulfillment and logistics, it can sometimes take weeks for consumers to get their reward. With digital rewards they can get their reward instantly, which is a huge motivator for many people today. Interested in more tips for choosing the right promotional reward? Check out our article on the very subject!
Collect data for future promotions
Not all contests require a form or registration, and a form doesn't always make sense for your contest. For example, if your biggest goal is to have the most possible entries. However, forms are a fantastic tool for collecting data on your consumers. With a contest, the people participating are already more engaged with your brand than they would be with a sweepstakes. This is because contests require more effort, so the people who participate in your contest are typically already engaged with your brand since they're willing to put in the effort. Forms allow your brand to gather data on the consumers entering your contest, and you can also add an email opt-in to increase your mailing list! Be cautious not to make your form too long, as people may see the long form and immediately give up on participating.
Don’t let the User Generated Content go to waste
You’ve just finished your photo contest, now what? One of the biggest benefits of running a contest is that you gain heaps of user generated content (UGC). UGC is content created by fans of your company. With the right wording included in your photo contests official rules, the photos you receive from entries can be used by your brand for future marketing. Things like emails, social media, future promotions, ads, and more can all be ways to use the photos received from your contest. A classic photo contest idea is to have consumers pose with a product from your brand. These photos will be especially valuable for your marketing efforts.
With these 5 tips to creating a highly engaging photo contest, we hope your brand is inspired to start their next promotion! Want advice on running your next photo contest, contact our experts. We’ve been helping brands run purpose-driven promotions for over 25 years. And If you're looking for more promotional marketing insights, check out our blog.