How to Create a Photo Contest for Facebook, Twitter & Instagram

Creating Photo Contests for Instagram & Facebook

Are you curious about launching a photo contest, but not quite sure how to create one or if it’s worth the effort? The third most common reason that people connect with brands on social media is for an incentive, like a giveaway or a discount. It’s also an effective strategy to gather user-generated content (UGC) and create a buzz about your brand or a specific campaign.

Before jumping into the process of developing and managing one, let’s first explore why your brand may want to run a photo contest with a hashtag entry method.

Why Run a Photo Contest with a Hashtag Entry Method?

While photo contests are a valuable way to increase engagement and involve your brand in the current trend towards interactive content, there’s another significant benefit. With a little bit of creative pre-planning, your brand can collect UGC to use as social proof and fill your content calendar.

Requiring contest participants to use a specific hashtag provides an easy way to bring all your entries together. When others see the hashtagged images in their Newsfeed from people who enter your contest, they may be interested in entering too.

There are a few contest entry options that are problematic and can get an account punished. If you ask users to tag their friends as a form of entry, you risk getting reported as spam. If too many people report the post as spam, it can lead to a suspension of your account.

Requesting people to connect with the brand’s social media account is another common entry method that you may want to avoid. Yes, you can experience a temporary bump in followers, but a portion of them will likely disconnect from the account after the contest is over.

It’s important to ask why you are running a contest. Do you want to encourage engagement, collect photos for your content marketing strategy, or are you hoping for direct impact sales? Instead of asking entrants to tag a friend for a chance to win something awesome, think about adding a link in your bio that sends people to a form where you can collect their email address. Having their email address will prove more valuable when it comes to your marketing efforts.

6 Tips to Create a Unique Hashtag for Your Photo Contest

Be creative, but don’t let choosing a unique hashtag for your photo contest stress you out. Something as simple as “#[CompanyName]Contest” may be all that you need. Here are six tips to help with brainstorming the next viral hashtag:

  1. Include the company name.
  2. If it’s a recurring campaign that you will run again, you may want to include the year.
  3. Get creative and be a little cheeky with it — bonus points for using rhymes or alliteration.
  4. Verify that it’s not already in use by someone else on Facebook or Instagram.
  5. Keep it short and sweet. Don’t string together too many words; use three to four words at the most.
  6. Include an aspect of the contest. For example, Petco used #petcoscenecontest2019 for their Halloween “Make a Scene” Contest.

How to Connect Your Facebook & Instagram Accounts

While you can use social media platforms alone to run a contest, it’s a lot easier and more interactive to use a tool like Woobox. A Woobox Photo Contest Campaign automatically pulls posts with your unique hashtag from Facebook and Instagram to help manage contest submissions. It also enables you to create a photo gallery and allow people to vote for their favorite image.

Once you log in or create your free Woobox account, you’ll need to connect your social media accounts. The first task once you’ve set up your account (assuming you’ve chosen to sign up with an email address instead of a Facebook account) is to link Woobox with your Facebook business.

Next, you’ll want to click the triangle drop-down next to your business name and email address, then click “All Businesses”. On this screen, click the blue “Import Facebook Businesses Pages” button and follow the prompts.

How to Add Voting Options

When it comes to voting in your Woobox Photo Contest campaign, you’ll use a photo gallery, as mentioned above.

As you scroll down from adding the hashtags, you’ll see a section labeled “Gallery.” Add the appropriate start and end dates and specify the parameters for voting. You can allow users to vote once per day, per their IP address, per email address, per their Facebook account, or a combination of these options.

Woobox also offers options such as restricting the votes by country, requiring a Captcha for each vote, and even cutting off votes once an entry reaches a specific limit. Allowing voting in photo contests helps to get even more people involved. Entrants are excited to share their posts and get more votes from their friends and connections. Their desire to win helps to get your brand in front of more people who may not be familiar with your organization yet.

How to Manage Photo Contest Entries and Submissions

Entries are set to auto-approve and are added to your gallery by default. Within seconds of the photo upload to social media, it will appear under submissions. If you find that something didn’t get picked up and added to your gallery, you can add it manually by uploading the image, or the direct URL to the post.

Removing submissions is easy. If you’re getting overloaded with spam, though, you may want to disable auto-approve. See something you don’t want to be included? Click the black “X” to remove it and block the image. Sorry, Mr. Cat, this contest is for dogs only.

Ready to Create Your First Photo Contest?

Why Should you run a photo contest using the hashtag entry method?

  • It creates engagement with your audience.
  • It generates new content to share in the form of UGC.
  • It’s a safe way to run a contest and not get your account into hot water with the social media platforms.

How can you create a unique hashtag for your contest? 

Get creative and try to incorporate your company’s name and the word “contest.”

How can Woobox help to create and manage your photo contest?

Woobox makes it easy to run a photo contest by pulling in entries and allowing you to manage submissions from the Dashboard.

Get Help from Woobox Support

If you have any questions, please contact the Woobox Support team. They are available to help from 8 AM until 5 PM PST, Monday through Friday at 1-360-450-5200. You can also send an email to