How to Run a Selfie Contest: A Step-by-Step Guide for Better Results

Put down your phone for a second.

Drop the pose. Lose the downward angle and the sparkly filter.

If you don't know what I'm talking about, it's probably because you're not a 16-year-old girl. And that's okay.

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

We’ve all taken selfies at some point, no matter what age you are or what the reason for your photos may be. Social media users see and post selfies every day. We send them on Whatsapp, share them in our stories, and post them on our profiles. We all participate in selfies online, it’s just something we see everywhere.

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 to boost your marketing campaign.

We'll cover…

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

Let's get rolling!

An Introduction to Social Media Selfie Contests

So we know that people take selfies, and that's all well and good. But for our social media giveaway 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 on social media. We want users to comment and share.

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


So almost 450 million posts using the hashtag #selfie. Over 25 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 to Instagram.

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 traveled off the beaten track? Take a selfie and use hashtag #explorenowhere and you could win a…"
  • Sports: "We want to see a selfie of your team giving its all!" or "Send us a selfie of you shredding up the slopes this winter!"

How to Run a Selfie Contest

Before your business shares details of its selfie contest, you will need to consider a few important ideas. These contests need to have the clear goal of getting you more customers. Yes, the winners will receive a prize at your expense, but the contest should provide more exposure and generate enough leads to make it worthwhile.

Some brands run a contest every month, some do it once-off. Whether you do one each month or not, you will need to make sure the contest boosts your social account.

Your contest can be run on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, or anywhere else that may bring you attention. Each entry is a chance to expose your brand to a new audience. This is a great free marketing tactic, and you can easily increase the number of people who follow you.

You should also try to bring real visitors to your website to buy your product. Say a contestant enters through Twitter, use the contest to channel them to your brand website, and entice them to become a customer. More on this later.

Think of clever ideas to make your audience want to become winners. Use striking images, and come up with clear rules. Below are some ideas to consider for your contest.

Creating a Selfie Contest

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

Alternatively, you could run a Twitter or Instagram hashtag contest, which automatically populates your campaign page when someone uses your campaign's hashtag when they upload their photo to social media. Either way, there are two rules options for how you choose the winner of your selfie contests:

The Simple Way:

The simple way is to select the photo which you like the most as the winner. People upload or use a campaign-specific hashtag and, at the end of the contest, the winner is the entry you think uses their post in the best way. The rules are simple and decided by your company.

The Awesome Way:

The awesome way to choose a winner is to introduce an element of voting into your selfie contest. With voting, the contest's entrant becomes the winner 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 on social media to increase their chance to win.

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

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.