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So you want to run a social media photo contest? Getting started is often the hardest part, but don’t worry your friends at Franco can help you make your contest successful.

#1 Determine your goals

Start by determining what you want to accomplish with this contest. Typically, there are three main reasons for wanting to run a social media photo contest:

      • Sourcing for user generated content (UGC)
      • Using the entries as inexpensive marketing materials
      • Going viral to bring more awareness to your brand


People looking for UGC can source these photos and use them as an endless stream of content that could last all year long. UGC is a great reason to run a photo contest because it shows your audience that people interact with your brand, making them feel more connected.

Depending on what your brand represents, photo contests can be a way to source for inexpensive marketing materials. Brands with small budgets can run a photo contest targeting up and coming photographers, making it a win-win for everyone. The brand will get high quality photos they can use for marketing materials and the photographer can receive photo credit, increasing their visibility with a larger audience.

Going viral with a photo contest can help increase brand awareness by reaching a large audience, making it visible and top of mind for everyone. There is no real science to getting a contest to go viral – it’s a combination of strategy, integrated marketing and a little bit of luck.

#2 Plan your strategy

Once, you’ve determined your overarching goal, you can start developing your strategy. Planning a contest strategy starts by determining where you want this contest to run – Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat? Next, you want to set clear rules for the contest and decide how you want people to submit their entries.

Choose a platform:

An easy way to select the perfect contest platform is to determine where your audience spends the most time. If you have a large Facebook audience, chances are you would want to run your contest there. If you’re trying to grow your Twitter followers, run your contest there to increase your audience.

Create contest rules:

If you’ve never run a social media contest, preparing clear rules is essential to communicating your expectations to your audience and can help you avoid legal trouble. If you don’t know where to start, take a look at this template to help get your rules going.

Collect entries:

There are tons of tools available to help collect contest entries but depending on your budget, you may not need a tool with all the bells and whistles. Some good resources include Rafflecopter, WooBox and Wishpond. Each of these tools has an inexpensive or free version that will do a lot of the hard work for you like tallying votes, collecting UGC and some even have built-in advertising tools that can help your contest reach more people.

#3 Hit go and promote, promote, PROMOTE

After your goals and strategies are in place, it’s time to develop supporting content and hit the go button on your contest.

Your supporting content should reflect what you want people to do in your contest. If you’re running a selfie contest, you should have some examples of selfies to share. If you’re using a hashtag to collect entries, you should include the hashtag on all the posts you make about the contest.

To get the most out of your contest, it’s best to put some money behind promoting posts that encourage people to enter. We recommend making a short video of the contest that you could promote on social media.

Have you run a social media contest recently? What were your takeaways? Let us know in the comment section.

Adriane Groggins is a Digital Marketing Specialist at Franco. 

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