Whether you like it or not, much of your social media worth is style over substance. With vertical feeds on many networking platforms, standing out as viewers scroll through an exponential amount of content can be tricky.

Merely extending your reach and attempting to direct traffic to your product or service can be difficult enough. Using pictures on social media to encourage customer loyalty is another stage altogether.

The problem is, even great pictures and photos don’t necessarily mean the creator of the post will see much benefit. The post can be shared and viewed by many profiles without creating more traffic for your company. You need to find a way not to simply make a post successful, but to encourage interaction by users and to make them aware who is creating the content.

One creative and effective solution is to not even post the photos yourself. Create a photo contest on social media so that users post their own photos to compete, using their profile to reach more followers. When trying to create a successful photo contest, there are some key considerations you’ll need to make.


Make it Relevant

If you want to have a successful photo contest on social media, you need to find a way to relate this to what you want to sell. You can have an enjoyable photo contest with many entries, but if it is not relevant to your company, you won’t actually be forging any customer loyalty.

You need to find a way to integrate your product into the competition, but at the same time making it appealing to a wide audience. Don’t make it too specific to your product, otherwise it can be difficult to generate interest.

Bear in mind, while your photo contest might be used to encourage customer loyalty, you also want to appeal to new customers also. This might mean people who don’t already have or use your product or service. For example, Scottish arts magazine The Skinny has a photo competition where people share photos of the magazine in different locations across the world. This is a great competition to encourage customer loyalty with existing readers, but not necessarily in getting new ones.

Find a way to subtly tie your product to the content of the photo. The cleverer the better as social media rewards creativity.


Devise Your Contest on Social Media

There are two main ways to create a photo contest online. The first is through social media. This has many benefits, but the main one is that you have a pre-established network to tap into. You may already have followers who will be interested in your competition. With hashtags and trends, you can open this up to even more potential customers.

Social media also makes the practical elements of submission easy. Customers who enter can see the competition on their phone, think of a submission idea, use their phone camera to take the picture and post it with the relevant hashtag. This can make submission almost immediate.

If you want to encourage new customers, make it part of your customer loyalty program to be a follower to be eligible to enter. This means, even if they unfollow you afterwards, you at least will show up on their feed for the duration of the competition.


Choose Your Social Media Platform

While Facebook is, as of August 2017, the top social networking site in the world, it may not be the best idea for a photo contest. This is because of the many other different types of post against which you’d be competing. The second most popular is Youtube. This won’t work, however, unless you want to create a video contest. Even at that, it is not always the easiest way to share content between users.

Twitter allows for photo posts, but the majority of tweets are solely text based. A social media site like Instagram will be ideal as they focus their content on pictures. Their platform is intuitive and, importantly, it is a network which is particularly popular for photographers (both professional and amateur).

However, the best way to get interest in your photo contest on social media is to use a cross platform approach. Making it available to as many social networking sites as possible will allow you to reach as many people as possible.


Analyze as you Strategize

Once you have decided on your initial idea, you will need to put it out there. This is why it helps if your photo contest is related to pre-existing trends. Use a customer loyalty program to analyze which of your content is most popular. A good loyalty program will allow you to see your reach and interactions across platforms.

Find out what content already works and, importantly, see if it is relevant to any trending topics. The ideal outcome of your photo contest strategy is that it will go viral. If you can use topics people are already interested in, the potential for this will increase.

Choose a prize which will be beneficial to your entrants, but not one which will put you out of pocket. This can be discounts or special offers, but it needs to be worth their while. Physical products or cash rewards are going to be the most popular. You can also incorporate a referral program into your competition.


Website Submission Photo Competition

The other main way to use a social media photo contest to improve customer loyalty is to submit photos to your website. This is not necessarily as easy as posting direct to social media, but it has its benefits. Firstly, you can control how the pictures are shared. Secondly, you can make it necessary to provide contact information to enter the competition.

However, do not make it necessary to provide a lot of contact info. Anything more than a name and an email address is likely to be too much. With the email you can send them updates on the competition, provide special offers to keep them interested and have them on a mailing list long past the completion of the competition.


Share Your Progress

Getting people to enter the competition is part of it, but keeping them interested is a great way to encourage customer loyalty. Chart the progress of the competition by creating finalists. This way you can allow users to vote on their favorites and can even make it a requisite to follow to be able to do so.

When it comes time to share the winner of the photo competition, you can use your new followers, email addresses and hashtags to remind them of your product or service.

Once your competition is complete, use your customer loyalty platform to see how successful it was and troubleshoot any issues.

Our last tip on a successful online photo competition is to spend money boosting posts related to it. Photo competitions have a track record of success, so it is good to invest creativity, attention and a little bit of money on something more likely to be of benefit than other posts. If you have the resources to use a lot of money, then buying an ad on social media platforms will help greatly, but you will need to weigh up y

Toni Arco
CEO & Head of Growth
Toni, our CEO, is passionate about business growth through technology. He has founded 2 technology companies and spent over 6 years as CTO of digital marketing companies. He spends his time discovering the newest technology and applying trends to our own product and processes. He mentors tech start-ups and teaches courses on growth hacking to share his knowledge.

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