Written by James Scherer
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How to Run a Selfie Contest: A Step-by-Step Guide

Put down your phone for a second.

Drop the duck lips. Lose the downward angle and the Snapchat cat ears.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's probably because you're not a 19-year-old girl. And that's okay.

But it doesn't mean you haven't taken a selfie…

A study from late 2016 "predicts the average millennial will spend about an hour a week [and] take up to 25,700 selfies in their lifetime."

As of February 2017, 80% of adults aged 18 - 55 have taken a selfie.

2014 was the "Year of the Selfie." But that doesn't mean we're doing it any less or that it's any less of a cultural institution.

So let's start taking advantage of this phenomenon for your business. This article will walk you through how to run a selfie contest online.


I'll cover…

  • An introduction to selfie and photo contests, and why you might want to run one
  • Creating a selfie contest with the best chance to go viral on social media
  • Maximizing the spread of your selfie contest through share incentives and optimization tools
  • Increasing the rate at which your selfie contest entrants become customers (so we can actually generate some real-world dollars)

Let's get rolling!

Sources: Teenvogue and Statista


An introduction to selfie and photo contests


So we know that people take selfies,  and that's all well and good. But for our social media strategy we want to know if people are sharing the selfies they're taking. Our selfie contest isn't going to be a success if people simply take a selfie, we want people to want their selfies to be seen.

Luckily for us, Instagram tracks the number of times someone uses a hashtag…


Screen Shot 2017 03 20 at 10.31.34 AM

So almost 300 million posts using the hashtag #selfie. Almost 18 million using #selfies and more than 9 million just on Sunday. And this is only including the people who used that hashtag when they uploaded their selfie.

Industries in which a selfie contest is super straightforward...


  • Fitness: "Submit your before and after selfies for a chance to win a year's supply of AcmeFitnessBars!"
  • Fashion: "Use hashtag #AcmeScarves to submit your Fall fashion selfies. You could win…"
  • Cosmetics: "Prom is just around the corner. Submit a selfie of your makeup and enter to win two tickets to a summer music festival!"
  • Pets: "Love your pet? Submit a selfie of you both smiling, get your friends to vote for you, and you could win a year's supply of AcmeChow!"
  • Travel: "Have you ever travelled off the beaten track? Take a selfie and use hashtag #explorenowhere and you could win a…"
  • Sports: "Send us a selfie of your team giving its all!" or "Send us a selfie of you shredding up the slopes this winter!"

Of course every industry can run a successful selfie contest. If you keep reading, there's a very successful and real-world example from a propane company, for heaven's sake.


Creating a selfie contest


A selfie contest is a bit more complicated than a simple giveaway or sweepstakes. Because we're talking about the submittal of photos, you'll need to ensure your contest page has somewhere that entrants can upload their photos.

Alternatively, you could run an Instagram hashtag contest, which automatically populates your campaign page when someone uses your campaign's hashtag when they upload their photo to Instagram.

Either way, there are two options for how you choose the winner of your selfie contest:

The simple way:

The simple way is to select the photo which you like the most. People upload or use a campaign-specific hashtag and, at the end of the contest

The awesome way:

The awesome way is to introduce an element of voting into your selfie contest. With voting, the contest entrant wins if their submitted photo gets the most votes from the general public. As a result, entrants are incentivized to share your selfie contest with their friends, asking them to share.

And your business can require voters to put their contact information in to vote as well, thereby using the power of your entrant's network to get even more results.

Click on one of the thumbnails below to see the gallery of successful selfie contests:


Written by James Scherer

James Scherer is the content editor at Wishpond. When he's not writing or designing for Wishpond he's risking his life biking around the city. Reach out to him on Twitter @JDScherer.