5 Ways to Take Your Photography Business Over the Top with a Contest

As a rule, contests have always been a tried and true way for any business to gain visibility, brand recognition and most importantly, to grow the business. With the explosion of the internet as not only an education and informational tool, but also a booming hub of cultural activities, the opportunities and audience for a contest has grown exponentially. With the clever use of social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter, an adept photographer can build and grow their business through viral marketing strategies.

Whether you run a blog on the subject or have a brick and mortar Photography Studio, you can take advantage of many of these photography marketing ideas to grow the business you have and maybe even expand into some new areas. It does not matter if you understand social media or not, it is important to factor its incredible power and possibility. Think about it this way: Millions of people around the world tap into these sites every day. How many of these people are interested in your niche? How many people have no idea who you are? Social media is your chance to increase those numbers. If done right, you can tap into the greatest source of free advertising available.

Here are 5 great ideas for running and promoting a contest with social media

1) Referral Contest – One successful contest is a referral contest. With this type of contests, your current customers are challenged to recommend your business to a friend or family member. This can be done in several ways. An effective method to use is a Facebook Fan Page. For example, have a contest where the first person to help you get 5 or 10 new fans on your Facebook fan page.

2) Photo Contest – This one is not only a great for publicity, but also fun and engaging for your customers. You can either post photos from your own shoots, or have your users submit their own photos. Then have everyone either vote or post a comment on your blog, with the winning photographer (or subject) winning a prize. You can take this even further by running a drawing for everyone who comments/votes and giving out more prizes.

3) Facebook Status or Twitter Contest – This contest has some of the greatest potential to go viral. To run this contest, you must have two criteria: the winner must be a fan or follower and they must make a status update or tweet announcing your contest. Each tweet or update (Limit 1/day for a short period time) earns an entry into the contest. Depending on how large the prizes are, you can give out one large prize or several small prizes throughout the contest. If you want to keep people interested, consider giving away small weekly prizes with the chance to win a grand prize at the end of the contest.

4) Creative Photo Shoot – Have your customers tweet or submit to you their creative photo shoot ideas. Once all entries are received, narrow them down to 5-10 shoots and hold a poll. You can also do this tournament style to generate more buzz. When the votes are in, the winning idea wins the photo shoot of their creation.

5) Seasonal Contests – Everybody loves seasons and holidays (and there is no shortage of them). Try running a contest for one of them. You can have users submit holiday-themed photos or ideas. You can also just use the holiday as an excuse to hold a contest. For example, you can run a contest for a free Easter, Christmas or Halloween shoot. You will be sure to have plenty of people (especially families) jumping on board to win.

These are just a few ideas for growing your business through a social media contest. One of these may work for you, but make sure to play to your strengths and do what is best for your customers. Take some time and do some research on how each website works, so that you are able to make the most out of each social media outlet. Be creative and with the right steps, you can push your traffic through the roof in no time. With luck, many of these new visitors will not only be interested in your contest, but will also turn into regular, loyal customers.

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