Selfies have become a part of our social landscape. Just scroll through any social media that allows picture posting and you'll see them everywhere. There's even a new TV show that just debuted called Selfie. And like anything else that takes off in pop culture, brands are trying to figure out how to capitalize on them, with varying degrees of success. I've seen many retailers try selfie contests. If that's something you're thinking about doing, here are some of the elements that make a good selfie contest:
1. You have to already have a good community built around your brand. One of our clients, who we don't do social media for, asked us if we could look at their selfie contest and tell them why it wasn't working. Looking over it, there were several things that jumped out at me, but the main one was that they hadn't done a good job of building up their communities in the social spaces they were running the contest. I'm not talking about how many likes and followers you have here – although bigger numbers help. I'm talking about creating a community that is engaged. The more you have and the more engaged they are, the better something like a selfie contest will spread. You can't just be using your social channels to push out sales offers, you need to do the little things that bring people back and engage them.
2. The prize has to be comparable to the amount of effort required. If you're a restaurant chain, you can give a smaller prize to people who take selfies with their food, because people come in on a regular basis and a lot of people already like posting pictures of their food. So in this case, you have a low cost of effort and can give away a lower value prize. If you're an appliance or furniture store, you need a bigger prize if you want someone to go through the effort of coming in and taking a picture with your furniture – because people don't go to large ticket item retailers often or generally post that kind of content. So, here the prize needs to be a much larger dollar value.
3. You need to do something different to create excitement. Since they are becoming a little more prevalent these days, you need to come up with a unique approach for your contest. Put your own unique spin on it. When local furniture retailer Art Van did their #sofaselfie promotion, they ran it in different locations on different days. Rather than have you come into the store, they set up areas with a bunch of sofas outside somewhere. They had fashion designer Nigel Barker there, who you could meet and do a selfie with. They had a TV station media partner covering the event. All this added to making it a much bigger event that drove more people to participate. What can you do to take your contest out of the box?
4. Promotion through multi-media channels is essential. Even if you have built up a good community, you shouldn't just rely on your social channels to spread the word about your contest. Promote it through email, in your store, in you media buys (if not a full commercial, maybe a 5-second tag on one of your spots), and through good PR like in the Art Van contest in the previous point.
5. Your sales staff is a key to more customers participating. The more people you have posting their selfies in their own social channels using your contest hashtag, the more people will see it and the more people will join in. So, even if a customer is in your store and has already bought something – getting them to participate is valuable, whether they're going to buy more or not. So, have your employees encourage customers at the point of sale to participate. Let's say you're giving away a product if a customer takes a selfie with it. Your employee can point out, hey why not do this while you're already here, you could get more product for free without much additional effort. Then their friends and community will see they're selfie and that can bring in more potential customers.
6. Entries you get during the contest should be shared. Don't just rely on your customers' social networks seeing their posts. Repost their entries in your social networks. This will add to the number of people seeing the entry. It gives those entering some extra recognition. And the person getting the additional recognition will probably like or retweet the post from your network, exposing your social channels to their friends.
So, there you have it, six essential elements to creating a successful selfie contest. Did we miss some that have worked for you? I'd love to hear about them. Also, don't forget to have your own unique hashtag so people can find all the selfies in your contest and you're able to find them yourself.