How to Run a Kick Ass Facebook Photo Contest

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So I’m not going to give you the whole spiel on how amazing Facebook photo contests are and how you should run them on your page even in your sleep because they generate X% of engagement for your page and add at least Y% to Social Media ROI. No, let’s skip all that mumbo-jumbo. Facebook photo contests work, and there are plenty of examples around that tell us exactly this in more ways than one. The reason you’re reading this is because you as a social media marketer believe that Photo Contests work and you want to make one that… well, that just kicks ass.

Here’s how you do it. We’ll use an example of the demo photo contest we’ve set up using our plug and play suite, the Elvis Presley Lookalike Contest.

Running a Kick Ass Successful Photo Contest on Facebook - Circus Social

We might get limited entries, but they’ll be funny as hell.

1. Get Your Campaign In Order

Don’t run a Photo Contest for the sake of running or a photo contest or for just “increasing engagement”. You need to get the following questions answered before you start off:

  • What do you hope to achieve from this contest? [Promote a product, do a product/service give-away, entertain your fans]
  • How long will this contest run for? Are you sure you’ll be able to promote it and get enough entries in that time-frame?
  • Are you sure you’re giving away the right prizes and that you have consolation prizes to give out too?
  • Is the title and theme of the contest obvious enough so as not to confuse your fans?

2. Make it Easy to Enter, Make it Exciting

This is where a lot of marketers get it wrong.

“Hey, let’s run a contest where we ask fans to submit a photograph of them riding a Koala into the sunset as they throw oranges at bears! Most creative one wins!”

First of all, Koalas are awesome, and riding them is illegal in some countries. And second, bears will kill your fans. Make the photo contest easy and straightforward, but at the same time ensuring that it’s a little unique. Something like make the silliest face while eating lunch, photobomb your neighbor, take a photo sitting on the roof of your car in the most awkward place possible – you get the gist. People should be excited to do it, and they shouldn’t have to go too far out of their way to get the photo entry.

Running a Kick Ass Successful Photo Contest - Circus Social

Entrants just have to comb their hair funny, pull that silly Elvis face and that’s that.


3. Don’t Ask for Too Much Information

The primary reason why people avoid those environmentalist types at street corners is because as soon as you pledge your commitment to saving a tree in North East Africa, they ask you for your date of birth, passport number, when you had a milkshake last and if you love your mother. While submitting entries, ask your fans for their Name, E-Mail Address, Photo Caption (of course, with the photo) – and leave it at that. Ask them for more information only if it’s somehow relevant to the contest.



4. Always Give Away More than One Prize

The chances of someone winning in their mind increases drastically as soon as you introduce more than one prize. People are likely to not bother if there’s only one prize up for grabs, but as soon as you talk about there being more than one prize available – they’ll immediately think they have a shot. The key is to ensure that you split your prize budget in a manner that all three (or more) prizes are exciting enough to fight over.

Running a Successful Photo Contest on Facebook with the right prizes - Circus Social

The guitar is fine, but pretty sure with prizes like this people are going to be shooting for second and third!

5. Get Your Advertising In Order

You’re running a photo contest on Facebook – doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be advertising it on Twitter, Instagram, Tumblr and your next to your brother’s office printer. And in his bathroom. Just everywhere. Send out an e-mail to your list (you have one, don’t you?) and remember to promote the contest on your Facebook Page Cover Photo as well as posting regular posts on Facebook and other social media handles talking about the contest and perhaps providing the odd update.


6. The Inner Workings of the Contest

Now here’s where the serious marketers get excited. The baby stuff is over. Using our Plug and Play Suite if you run a Photo Contest (just $15/month) you’re able to play around with the following settings:

Running a Successful Photo Contest - Circus Social

Photo Contest Settings – Snapshot 1

It’s important for you to define these nuggets – to be able to customize how many entries one contest can send, what the time gap should be between the user voting for entries, how many entries you want to show on your gallery’s page and when you’d like voting to begin and when you’d like voting to end.

Running a Successful Photo Contest - Circus Social

Photo Contest Settings – Snapshot 2

Additionally, since the Photo Contest is integrated with the Facebook Open Graph, each time someone performs an action on your post – you need a message to go out to their friends with a message that’s magnetic enough to pull them in to the contest as well. In the settings panel, you’re able to customize all of these messages in an attempt to try and make your contest go organically viral.

Backend management of the contest is extremely important – you don’t want rubbish entries swarming around in your contest. Our plug and play suite lets you completely administer your contest and allows you to delete entries that do not conform to the rules of the contest or are just plain spammy.

In addition, it generates reports for you that give you insights into your contest and let you download a database of the people who have participated along with the statistics of their submissions. So there you have it.

You have the insight and tips on how to build a kick ass Photo Contest, and you’ve just been given the ultimate tool to build one for your Facebook page as well. Get on it!

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Avtar Ram Singh

A social media and digital marketing enthusiast - Avtar helps social media managers and marketers get more out of their digital presence. He appreciates good EDM music and well made Sci-Fi movies, and is on a first name basis with Brad Pitt and Cristiano Ronaldo.


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