The customer decision journey has changed forever as digitally enabled, socially connected consumers engage with brands and want those brands to serve them interesting, informative content — whenever and wherever they want it. Fortunately, brands can choose from a growing number of social media platforms to engage customers. And one of the simplest ways to increase interaction fast is through photo contests and campaigns that ask fans to share their pictures on a brand-curated platform.
Photo competitions built on social platforms (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, a brand’s microsite — or all of the above!) can be hugely successful in getting people to engage with a brand.
Once the contest is set up, it’s the fans who do most of the work: submitting photos, tweeting campaign-specific hashtags, sharing images with friends, voting on the photos they like best and encouraging others to view and vote. And all this fan interaction occurs via the brand’s social platforms and online presence, spreading the brand message across the social sphere and gaining new fans and followers in the process.
Some contests are as simple as asking contestants to submit their photos for a chance to have them seen by an extended audience. More complex contests ask for more customer engagement, often requiring contestants to submit their photos and include a hashtag that points to an ongoing promotional brand campaign, or to tell a brief story behind the submitted image.
For customers the competitions are fun and there are prizes to be won or notoriety to be had. For brands the interactions with their customers (or potential future customers) expand their footprints, build loyalty, increase mailing lists and generally encourage deeper engagement between brand and fan.
Below are five photo contests that caught our eye.
1. Big Brands Encourage Big Engagement
20k Engagements for Budweiser’s Facebook Cover Photo Contest
A little can go a long way as Budweiser’s recent Instagram competition proves. The brand sought to engage its fans by encouraging them to submit snapshots that could become the brand’s Facebook cover photo. This quick and effective competition began with just a tweet and a Facebook message but grew rapidly through the brand’s 10 million Facebook fans and 18k Twitter followers. With no paid push, the total engagements came in around 20k, with more than 2,600 comments, over 15k likes and 491 shares.
2. Add Fans Fast
Travel companies are a natural fit for photography competitions, encouraging entrants to submit photos of recent trips to faraway places. With the goal of increasing its Facebook fans, Travel Sheikh held a contest, asking entrants to upload photos inspired by the Rio de Janeiro Carnival. The prize: A trip for two to Rio to experience the event live. The results? In less than 30 days Travel Sheikh grew from 4k to 16k fans.
3. Get Your Fans to Get Creative for You
Ben and Jerry’s Capture Euphoria campaign focused not on building its fan base but on turning user-generated content into eye-catching regional advertising. 20 images were selected from an Instagram campaign that asked contestants to submit photos with the #captureeuphoria hashtag. These winning images were used in print and on billboards in areas where the photographers lived, imparting instant notoriety (“Hey! That’s my photo!”). Overall 17,000 entries were submitted. The success of the campaign continues: Even though the contest is officially ended, fans of the brand continue to submit photos with the #captureeuphoria hashtag, sharing their love for a favorite brand across social media.
4. Raise Awareness (and Raise Money)
To call attention to its commitment to its “Food With Integrity” philosophy, Chipotle asked entrants to upload their favorite objects wrapped in silver or gold foil to its website or Facebook page as part of its “Wrap What You Love” photo contest. Fans voted for their favorite images and Chipotle contributed $1 to a farmer-friendly non-profit for each vote cast. More than 1,300 contestants submitted photos (a $10k grand prize went to the father who wrapped his four-day-old baby in gold foil), and Chipotle contributed over $96k to the charity.
5. Cast a Wide Net to Engage Fans in the Moment
This campaign is ongoing on Instagram and Twitter, with fans of the home improvement network sharing what they love about their homes, kids, projects, pets and more. More than 160k submissions have been shared via the #lovehome hashtag. Some fans who uploaded photos using the hashtag got to see their images incorporated in the network’s TV ads. The network has taken advantage of the fact that most people now watch TV with a mobile device at hand, encouraging viewers to share their photos. So far HGTV has received over 40k submissions for this aspect of the campaign.
Have you run a photo contest? Add your comment below and let us know how it went.