Run a Christmas Photo Contest to Boost Engagement & Incentivize Sales

Posted in: ApplicationsLast update: 18/11/19

Think of Christmas, and what comes to mind? Bright Christmas lights, Christmas trees crowded with decorations, Santa Claus in red and white, presents wrapped in gleaming paper and ribbons… It’s a photographer’s dream, and the perfect time to run a photo contest. But how? And what are the benefits for your marketing strategy?

Why you should run a Christmas photo contest

… apart from the fun of sharing terrible Christmas jumpers, of course! Let’s talk about the benefits for your brand.

  • User-generated content. Collecting original photos from your users is a great marketing strategy. You get unique content for your own posts and ad campaigns while making your followers feel seen and appreciated.
  • Increased engagement. Contests and giveaways are hugely popular right now, especially on photo-sharing networks such as Instagram. Double the engagement by opening the contest to a popular vote.
  • New sales leads. When you run a contest, you have the chance to collect contact details, too. Follow up with an email campaign to maximize holiday sales.
  • Brand reputation. Show your customers that you are reliable, trustworthy, and fair, by running a great contest. And a generous prize will show that you appreciate their efforts, too.

Christmas is a key time of year in marketing and retail. To make the most of your campaign, it’s important to offer something a little bit special – something that makes your brand stand out. In the next few sections, we’ll discuss exactly how to run an effective contest, with some real-life Christmas inspiration.

How to run a Christmas photo contest

Some people are daunted by the idea of a photo contest. They think it will be complicated to organize or require a lot of effort. But if you have the right tools, a Christmas photo contest is easy to run!

There are lots of apps for online contests and giveaways out there. When it comes to a photo contest,  you have three main options:

  1. Stand-alone photo contest. In this version, you create a microsite where people can upload photos and register their contact details. You can share the contest link on your website, via email, social media, and even offline.
  2. Mention + hashtag contests on Twitter and Instagram. This is the easy-access version. People just share photos on their social media profiles, using your chosen mention and hashtag.
  3. Instagram photo contest. The final option combines the best of both worlds. People share photos on their Instagram account, then register contact details and accept image permissions in order to confirm their entry.

Whichever app you choose, you’ll be able to display the competition entries in a public gallery. You can open the contest up to a public vote, and award prizes and participation rewards.

You might already be bursting with ideas for a fun, creative Christmas photo contest. But if you’re looking for ideas, read on! We’ve collected our top 5, classic Christmas photo contests to inspire you.

1. Ugly Christmas jumper competition

When did Christmas jumpers become such a classic? Was it in 2001, when Bridget Jones’s Diary hit cinema screens? Or had they always been a part of Christmas?

Christmas jumper Bridget Jones
Colin Firth, kick-starting the trend with a classic reindeer jumper.

It’s hard to say. But in the last few years, Christmas jumpers have become wildly popular. So why not try an ugly Christmas jumper competition for your Christmas photo contest?

Christmas photo contest jumpers

This brand invited their followers to join their Christmas photo contest by sharing photos of their most outrageous Christmas outfits. Whoever won the most votes would enjoy a special Christmas case of drinks from a co-sponsoring brand.

Christmas photo contest family

2. Christmas tree decorating contest

If Christmas jumpers aren’t your style, let’s try something more tasteful. Almost every home will put up a Christmas tree – the only debate is when to do it. Do you decorate the day after Halloween, or wait until Christmas Eve?

This brand asked their followers to share photos of their Christmas decorations, with generous cash prizes as motivation.

Christmas photo contest trees

When users uploaded their photos, anyone could vote for their favorite. Then a jury chose three winners from among the most popular entries.

Christmas photo contest trees

3. Adorable animals in Christmas outfits

One big trend we’ve noticed in 2018 is animal costume competitions. Pet owners just love dressing up their dogs, cats, and even bunnies in cute seasonal outfits.

Christmas photo contest trees

In this edition, a pet supplies company organized a Christmas photo contest and asked for photos of festive rabbits. The most popular photo would win valuable pet care supplies. And to maximize engagement, all participants received a small store discount.

Use our PhotoFun app to bring your Christmas photo contests to life! Ask your followers to upload a photo and personalize it with a variety of stickers!

4. Showcase your Christmas products

If you want to make a more direct connection with your brand, then you can run a Christmas photo contest that highlights your brand’s products. Ask your followers to take selfies with your products, or in-store.

Alternatively, here’s a novel idea from a computer and electronics retailer:

Christmas photo contest products

They asked users to visit their online store and screenshot the product they wanted for Christmas. Then users could dress up the image with Christmas emoji, text, and more. There were 10 goody bags (or should that be Christmas stockings?) up for grabs.

Christmas photo contest products

5. Celebrate the season of giving

Finally, let’s not forget the meaning of Christmas. It’s the season of goodwill, generosity, and kindness to our fellow humans. So it’s a wonderful opportunity to show your values with a charity contest or prize donation.

We were touched by this example from Angloinfo, a website that offers information and advice to people who move to a new country. They ran a contest with the hashtag #HomeForTheHolidays, asking people to share images of what Christmas meant to them.

Christmas photo contest charity

Instead of giving away Christmas prizes, they pledged to make a donation to the winner’s chosen charity. And they found the perfect winner. In the entry below, a family posted a photo that summed up their Christmas. And they asked for a donation to help a local refugee family.

Christmas photo contest charity

We’ve got a Christmas gift for you, too! Visit our Christmas site for more ideas, 2019 trends, and free resources to create your holiday marketing campaigns.

Corinna Keefe

Content marketer at Easypromos

Publication date: 2017-11-16