Facebook Photo Contests: The Good, The Bad and the Ugly


Thinking about a Facebook photo contest? Keep these tips in mind:

Facebook insists that you use an approved photo app contest.
When designing a Facebook photo contest, it is not enough to create a photo album and count up the most “likes” to determine a winner. Facebook guidelines. I tried a few free photo contest builders, but these days I opt to pay a nominal fee to use WooBox, because it integrates lots of great features into one slick tab builder.

Decide on the rules of the road.
Is it winner take all? Is there an actual prize, or is the prize just being featured on your Fanpage or website for a month? Are the top 3 photos judged by a panel, or is the winner the top vote getter? These issues need to be fleshed out in full before you ever open a photo contest.

Decide on and line up the prizes for winners
Here is an excellent opportunity for you to join forces with a similar company, or leverage up with a larger company for increased exposure and cross promotion. If you are doing a dog photo contest, think about asking local dog bakery  and/or a national dog food company to award prizes. Think big….it never hurts to ask!

Fangate your contest.
This will build your audience immediately. Require entrants to “Like’ your page before they can enter a photo, and likewise require voters to “Like” your page before they can vote.

Set a realistic time limit.
Photo contests require time….give your audience time to upload photos, followed by time to vote. Often times, 2 weeks to upload followed by 2 weeks of voting has worked on campaigns I’ve run. Any longer than that, and the promotion looses momentum.

Promote your contest.
Not just on your Facebook Fanpage. This is when bringing on contributors comes in handy! Twitter, blogs, and other social media channels can help get your message out there. Think about creating a Pinterest page with your photo contest gallery. Feature a photo a day on your FB page and ask an engaging question like “How would you caption this photo?” or “What is this dog thinking in this photo?”

Announce winners in a timely fashion.
This means that, on the day the winner is chosen, you should optimize the timing of your announcement. If you are giving awards to the top 3 vote getters, be sure to announce the 3rd place first, the 2nd place a couple of hours after that, and the winner a few hours after that. This will maximise your exposure on the announcement day, while increasing the excitement and optimize your social engagement for the overall promotion.

Be prepared for sore loosers.
Sadly, there may be some who think their photo is far superior to the winner, and sometimes they are more than happy to share their snarky views on your page. This is why Facebook invented the “delete” button.

That’s it! A picture really IS worth a thousand words! With a little bit of preparation and some engagement on your part, a photo contest can be an excellent way to increase likes, amplify engagement and build your community. Any questions? Please feel free to post them in the comments below!

Beth McShane
I'm a Pacific Northwest puddle whisperer with a passion for all things social.
  • http://twitter.com/kfom KevinFerrasciOMalley

    Solid post with some great tips ! Question about your Rules of the Road – “normally” do you prefer to have the winner be the most votes, random, or a panel ?

    • http://twitter.com/BethMcShane bethmcshane

      hey Kevin!! Good to “see” you!!

      I don’t see the point of asking for people to vote on a photo contest and then choosing a winner at random. I like to either award the person with the most votes, or pick the top 3 and let a panel decide…. :)