If you’re like a lot of companies we know, you have plenty of photography that shows product details, but photos that bring personality to your marketing are harder to come by. Pictures of toddlers sniffing lilacs, welcoming cottage gardens, or happy gardeners harvesting huge tomatoes require the right conditions, staging and time.
Thanks to Facebook, it’s easy to get photos like these from your customers. A well-run Facebook photo contest can generate good photography and testimonials for future marketing, while simultaneously boosting your email list and Facebook fan base. Here are the steps for doing so:
Planning the Contest. You’ll need to decide a few things before you get started:
-What are the contest starting and ending dates? For a photo contest, you’ll probably want to let it run for at least a month, if not two or three.
-What will you offer as a prize? Make sure it’s closely related to your product line, so you’ll attract qualified prospects. Consider offering more than one prize. People often think they have a better chance of winning a contest with several prizes, so you’ll likely get more entries.
-What information will you require with each submission? The less you request, the more entries you’ll receive. Usually an email address and short photo caption will suffice.
-What app vendor will you use? There are dozens, if not hundreds. Easy Promos, Shortstack, Votigo, Wildfire and WooBox are just a few. They’ll all streamline the management of the contest, and keep you on the right side of contest legalisms. They differ in ease of use, customization capabilities, voting options, and pricing models. Some charge by the contest, others by the month.
-How will you promote the contest? See “Spreading the Word” below for suggestions.
Implementing the Plan. Once you’ve nailed down the details of your contest, the app guides you through the implementation. You’ll want to customize the design of your contest page so that it reflects your look and feel. This includes a customized header, similar to the header on your main Facebook page.
Spreading the Word. The more you promote your contest, the more successful it will be. Here are just some of the ways you can consider:
-Start by creating a header for your main Facebook page that advertises the contest, including a prominent arrow pointing to the contest link below.
-Send an email announcing the contest, and send a couple more as the close of the contest nears.
-Mention the contest on your website, in your enewsletters, on packing slips, and in your email signature.
-Include regular posts about the contest on your Facebook page. Invite people to enter the contest, to view the contest entries, and to vote, if you’re allowing voting by fans. Consider increasing the distribution of some contest-related posts with Facebook’s “Promoted Posts” advertising option.
-Advertise the contest on Facebook, targeting customers who are not yet Facebook fans. You’ll need to upload your email list to Facebook in order to identify the customers you want to reach.
After the Contest. Once the winners are chosen, announce them with some fanfare. You’ll probably want to leave the contest page on Facebook for a while, as the photos can do a great job of soft-selling your product.
Follow the steps above, and you should end the season with not only a nice library of new photos that other people took for you, but also some good testimonials and more email addresses and Facebook fans for future marketing.