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How to Run a Social Media Photo Contest (Quick and Easy Tips)

How to Run a Social Media Photo Contest (11 Easy Tips)

Written By: author image Stacey Corrin
author image Stacey Corrin
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.
     Reviewed By: John Turner
reviewer image John Turner
John Turner is the co-founder of RafflePress. He has over 20+ years of business and development experience and his plugins have been downloaded over 25 million times.

Want to know how to run a social media photo contest? Creating a successful photo contest on social media is a powerful way to connect with your audience. Using images effectively can mean tons of new followers, likes, and shares.

But what’s the best way to create a social media photo competition? In this guide, we’ll show you how to run a successful social media contest that encourages plenty of photo submissions.

Table of Contents

Why Host a Social Media Photo Contest?

Running a photo contest and social media giveaway is a good way to increase brand engagement and reach. A photo competition can also help to collect user-generated content (UGC) that you can use for future marketing efforts.

Why are these contests so effective? Because they’re interactive! Your followers transition from passive onlookers to active contributors who produce and disseminate content. This allows for a more personal connection with your brand and more brand awareness.

In fact, a study from Brightlocal found that 46% of consumers trust online business reviews as much as those from friends or family.

This sense of trustworthiness can strengthen loyalty. Therefore, running a photo contest not only widens your brand’s reach but helps you connect more deeply with your audience.

how to run a social media photo contest

How Effective Are Social Media Photo Contests?

Social media giveaways with photo submissions are incredibly effective for generating a buzz around your brand on social networks. If you’re not convinced, take a look at the following brands that have seen great success with running social media contests for their business:

How Do I Create a Social Media Photo Contest?

Running a photo contest on Facebook or any other social media network is a lot easier with a clear plan. Follow the steps below to run your own social photo contest quickly and easily in WordPress:

1. Start With a Strong Goal

Your goals are what you’d like your contest outcomes to be. Without them, you won’t know how to set up your photo competition or measure your results.

Your social media contest goals might look like the ones below:

When you’ve set your goals, you can decide how to meet them. Since we already know you’re interested in a social media photo contest, submitting a photo is the primary way to achieve that goal.

Yet, that doesn’t mean you can’t include other supporting contest entry methods. Optional entry methods might include one of the following:

  • Visit social media profiles – to increase your social followers.
  • Subscribe to your email list – to meet the goal of more email subscribers.
  • Refer a friend – to raise brand awareness.
  • And so on.

When you’ve chosen your goals and entry methods, it’s time to move on to your giveaway prize.

2. Pick a Prize for Your Social Media Photo Contest

All successful contests need a fantastic prize to attract participants and encourage them to enter to win. The best contest prize ideas combine highly desirable products with the fear of missing out (FOMO) to get maximum results.

contest prize how to run a social media photo contest

For example, you could use some of the following ideas:

  • Trending products: popular products are desirable because people want them before everyone else, making them more likely to enter for a chance to win.
  • Cash: Large cash prizes attract many entries and create FOMO in people desperate to win.
  • Gift cards: gift cards are fantastic for offering small and more significant amounts of money. You could offer gift cards to your store or visa cards to use anywhere.
  • Free trips: free trips generate many contest entries, especially if you pick an attractive location.
  • Event tickets: free event tickets offer fun and entertainment to your fans. Consider offering tickets to sports events, theatres, or even the movies for great results. For more event promotion ideas, see this article.

Next, think about your giveaway theme when you have a prize for your contest.

3. Have a Great Social Media Photo Contest Theme

When you run a photo contest, a theme can help your fans get creative with their entries. Plus, it lets you gather user-generated content to help promote your product or service in the future.

Easter themed social media photo contest

Here are a few fun themes to get you started:

  • Event photos – If you’ve recently run an event, now’s a great time to get influencers involved by having them upload their photos. It also helps you add new images to your photo gallery, which you can use to attract customers in the future.
  • Photos of your products – Getting people to upload photos using your products can help potential customers learn more about them.
  • Where’s the product? – Have participants hide your product to see if other fans can find it. Think ‘Where’s Waldo.’ The best photo can be the prize winner.
  • Seasonal theme – Here’s an easy one any brand can use. Get people to upload photos related to the current season or holiday.

When choosing a theme for your giveaway, the key is to keep it fun, relevant, and interesting enough for people to enter. You can also follow up with a caption contest in the future, using photos you’ve collected in the past.

The example below uses the powerful topic of human rights to engage fans.

Twitter social media photo contest

You can find more social media contest ideas by reading this guide.

With the theme selected for your social media photo contest, the next tip is to decide which social platform you’ll use to run your campaign.

4. Choose the Right Social Media Channels to Promote

But before diving in headfirst, determine the most effective platform to promote your contest on. Not every social media platform is made equally, and each carries unique suitabilities and drawbacks. 

Instagram Photo Contest

A favorite amongst visually-focused brands and users alike, an Instagram photo contest is a fantastic choice. Its inbuilt editing tools and visually-driven interface make it easy for participants to submit their entries.

Instagram social media photo contest

Moreover, the hashtag feature allows for efficient Instagram contest tracking. However, it mostly caters to a younger demographic, so if your target audience is older, a photo contest on Instagram may not yield optimal results. 

Facebook Photo Contest

With a massive and diverse user base, Facebook provides an excellent platform to reach a wide audience. A Facebook photo contest allows both image and text posts, giving you more flexibility with your contest rules.

Facebook social media photo contest

However, its changing algorithms can sometimes make it difficult for your contest to reach your followers. So, when you run a photo contest on Facebook, it’s crucial to promote heavily, either organically or with paid ads. 

X, Formerly Twitter 

Twitter social media photo contest

X’s fast-paced nature makes it a prime choice for time-limited contests. Its retweet feature also makes it excellent for viral potential. The downside is that its user base is more news-oriented and less image-focused than it would be with an Instagram photo contest. 

Pinterest Photo Contest

Pinterest is a great platform for contests that involve creating boards or collecting images since its user behavior is heavily skewed toward image collection and sharing. However, it may not be the best choice if your demographic is male, as the platform’s user base is predominantly female.

Pinterest social media photo contest

Weigh the pros and cons of each platform carefully, considering your audience’s preferences, your marketing goals, and the nature of your contest. By doing so, you’ll not only engage your audience but also move closer to achieving your objectives.

5. Use The Right Social Media Giveaway Tools

If you want to learn how to run any contest, you’ll need the right tools. Luckily, there are several giveaway tools available. We’ve even analyzed the best tools in this Rafflecopter vs. Gleam vs. RafflePress comparison.

RafflePress is the best tool for running social media photo giveaways. It’s also the ONLY tool designed to work seamlessly with WordPress sites and the most user-friendly tool on the market. That means even complete beginners won’t have trouble getting started.

how to run a social media photo contest with rafflepress

RafflePress makes it easy to run any type of contest so that you can grow your email list, site traffic, and social media following. And pre-built giveaway templates help you craft beautiful contests without starting from scratch.

How to run a social media photo contest with RafflePress

Even better, RafflePress lets contest participants upload photos to enter your photo contest in a few clicks. Then, you can manage and view all entries from one central dashboard.

Want to give RafflePress a try?

6. Make Entering Your Social Media Photo Contest Easy

If people can’t quickly enter your giveaway, they’ll give up trying. So when you’re adding ways for people to take part, you need to make it as easy as possible.

When building your contest with RafflePress, head to the Actions tab from the giveaway editor to see a range of easy entry methods. Each action takes only 1 or 2 clicks to complete, leaving little room to confuse people.

Click Actions to choose your raffle entry methods

Here are the best actions to use for a social media photo contest to get more engagement and followers:

  • Submit an Image: Let users upload an image or photo to unlock entries.
  • Follow us on Twitter: Have participants follow your Twitter profile to enter.
  • Visit us on Facebook: Require contestants to visit your Facebook page. Liking on Facebook is optional and not required to comply with Facebook contest rules.
  • Follow on Pinterest: Require visitors to follow your Pinterest profile for an entry.
  • Visit a YouTube Channel: Have visitors visit your YouTube.com Channel and optionally subscribe.
  • Visit us on Instagram: Get people to visit your Instagram page. Following on, Instagram is optional and not required to comply with Instagram’s terms.
  • Tweet a Message: Require visitors to tweet a message to get entries.
  • Follow us on TikTok: Ask users to follow your TikTok profile for entry.
  • Watch a TikTok Video: Similarly require users to watch an embedded TikTok video to earn giveaway entries.
  • Viral Refer a Friend: Let visitors refer other visitors via various social media outlets and email to gain more entries.

The Viral Refer a Friend action also lets you choose a custom message for users to share. You can add branded hashtags to boost your reach.

As you can see, the methods above encourage people to join your contest and engage with your social media networks to follow you.

7. Have Clear Contest Rules

The rules of your contest determine who can enter and how. The rules for social media contests differ for each social network. So, you should create a clear set of rules to ensure people enter correctly.

RafflePress has a handy Giveaway Rules Generator to help you set and display your rules. You can use it to create a simple template added to your contest widget when you publish.

To set it up, first, create an online contest following these steps and customizing it to suit your needs.

Then, when you’re ready, click Settings » Giveaway Rules.

giveaway rules

Next, click the orange Generate Rules button.

generate contest rules

Here, you can enter the following details for your contest:

  • Sponsor Name – the person, company, or brand sponsoring the giveaway.
  • Email – their contact email address.
  • Address – the physical address if they have one.
  • Country – the sponsor’s registered country.
  • Eligible Locations – which countries and locations the giveaway is open to.
  • Eligible Minimum Age – the minimum age people should be to enter.

When you’ve entered your information, click Generate Rules. A standard set of rules and guidelines will populate the message area using your provided details.

generated contest rules

When you’re happy with your rules, click Save.

8. Create a Distraction-Free Contest Landing Page

The mistake many people make when running photo contests is publishing it on a page with loads of distractions. Ideally, you want people to hone in on your giveaway and take steps to enter right away.

But with a page full of information, images, and buttons to click, they might get distracted and even forget about entering.

You can avoid this by having a dedicated giveaway landing page to remove unwanted distractions. Setting one up in RafflePress is pretty straightforward.

Find your giveaway in the RafflePress dashboard and click Edit.

Then head to Settings » General and find the Page Permalink heading.

landing page permalink

Next, enter the parameters for your landing page URL and click Save.

When you visit that URL, you’ll see your giveaway displayed in a beautiful, distraction-free environment.

View your giveaway contest live!

Then, you can include that URL in all your social media posts when promoting your contest, which we’ll tackle next.

9. Promote Your Social Media Photo Contest

How to Promote a New Product: 20+ Insanely Effective Ways

The great thing about running a social media photo contest is you’re not limited to a single social network. Instead, you can encourage participation from all your social media accounts.

For example, even if your goal is to grow your Facebook page followers, you can cross-promote it to places like Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, and Instagram stories.

Your fans on those networks might not know about your Facebook Page, so having them enter your Facebook photo contest makes them more aware and can increase entries and page likes. The same is valid for running an Instagram photo contest.

You can also promote your contest by:

Begin promoting your contest weeks before it goes live to attract a lot of traffic and entries on the first day. Make things easier on yourself by using social media management tools to schedule your posts and monitor engagement.

For more proven contest promotion ideas, check out this guide.

10. Pick Your Winner Fairly

You’ll need to pick a winner at the end of your contest. The fairest way to do this is to randomly select one, and RafflePress makes it easy to do this.

When your giveaway ends, head to RafflePress » Giveaways and click the Needs Winners link.

choose winner

You’ll see all the people who entered and how many entries each has on that page.

To choose a winner at random, click the Pick Winner button, select your options, and click Choose Winners Now.

pick a giveaway winner

RafflePress highlights the winner instantly, and then you can click to email them and tell them the good news.

how to run a social media photo contest: email the winner

11. Learn From Your Results

Lastly, mastering the art of running a successful social photo contest comes down to learning from your results. What does this involve? Tracking the right metrics to determine your contest’s success. 

Did you reach your engagement, audience growth, or website traffic goals? Tools like Google Analytics can help track visits and bounce rates, and MonsterInsights can help you add it to your site quickly and easily.

monsterinsights google analytics plugin for WordPress

To measure leads and conversions, it’s worthwhile to don a detective’s hat and delve into stats from your CRM or sales data.  Note your most engaging contest posts and those that didn’t get much participation. Social media platforms often provide these analytics.

Now, do a bit of detective work. What made the successful posts stand out? Was it the time of posting? The wording? Learning from your past successes is a sure way of enhancing future contests. 

Next time you launch a contest, apply the lessons you’ve learned. Tweak your strategy based on your previous contest’s performance — practice makes perfect.

Social Media Photo Contest FAQs

How to ensure my social media photo contest is legal?

It’s crucial to familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations of the social media platform you’re using. Also, consider consulting with a legal professional to ensure your contest complies with local, state, and national laws. Always clearly state the rules, eligibility requirements, and terms and conditions of your contest.

How can I ensure the authenticity of photo submissions in my contest?

You can use various methods to verify the authenticity of submissions. These include reverse image searches to check if the image has been used elsewhere, asking for original files that contain metadata, or requiring participants to submit a series of images instead of just one.

How can I ensure the privacy and data protection of my contest participants?

Make sure to clearly state in your contest rules how you will use and store participants’ data. Only collect necessary information and always comply with data protection laws and regulations.

Can I use the photos submitted in my contest for other marketing purposes?

Whether you can use the photos submitted in your contest for other purposes depends on your terms and conditions. If you wish to use the photos, make sure to clearly state this in your contest rules and obtain the necessary permissions from participants.

And there you have it.

In this article, we’ve shown you how to launch a social media photo contest to grow your social followers, get more engagement, and drive traffic to your website.

While you’re here, why not check out the latest social media marketing statistics so you can improve your social media strategy?

And if you want to learn about other contest types, take a look at these tutorials:

We hope you found this article helpful. If you did, check out our YouTube channel. You can also follow us on Twitter and Facebook.

author avatar
Stacey Corrin Writer
Stacey has been writing about WordPress and digital marketing for over 10 years and on other topics for much longer. Alongside this, she's fascinated with web design, user experience, and SEO.

Disclosure: Our content is reader-supported. This means if you click on some of our links, then we may earn a commission. We only recommend products that we believe will add value to our readers.

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