How Hosting a Photo Contest on Twitter can Help Your Brand go Viral

Companies big and small are jumping onto the Twitter photo contest bandwagon and fans are happily playing along. It’s the kind of fan contest that generates buzz and visual results, with the potential to go viral – the buzzword every corporate marketer hears in their dreams.

Last year, Twitter photo contests were held by recognizable names such as Chiquita Smoothie, Cool Whip, bebe Sport, Adam Lambert, Southern Weddings magazine, and Florida State Parks. Fans were given a specific contest hashtag to use when tweeting their pictures through any of the known Twitter photo service sites, and all photos tagged during the allotted time period were eligible for a prize or recognition of some sort.

It’s the sort of contest the everyday person can easily participate in, given the popularity and ease of uploading photos via cellphones.

We believe the sole reason these contests haven’t been used across the board has been the traditionally difficult task of administering the entries. If a contest results in hundreds or even thousands of tweeted pictures – a great result for any social media initiative – the prospect of sorting through the individual tweets and picture links to verify eligibility and select a winner is completely overwhelming for a social media manger.

This is where a site such as Hashalbum could be changing the face of Twitter contests in 2011. Hashalbum taps into the Twitter feed and pulls out any tweeted images uploaded via twitpic.com, yfrog.com, tweetphoto.com, plixi.com, twitgoo.com, moby.to, (with promises of more services being included as sites develop and release their APIs) . Each image with an associated #hashtag is grouped into that hashtag’s album in real time, meaning every tweeted picture can be viewed in one central location.

Now a music group such as Sugarland can tell their fans to use #sugarpics in their tweeted photos from concerts and other fan events – which is exactly what the band has done – so there’s one URL to visit to see every tweeted Sugarland picture. The Jacksonville Jaguars can promote a big game via fan forums and provided a branded album containing all tweeted pics for repeated viewing throughout the season.

Hashalbum says they’re inking a deal with a very well-known brand to facilitate their Super Bowl-related Twitter contest as a part of their XLV sponsorship deal. We can see why savvy social media marketers would be jumping on this bandwagon and integrating it into their digital campaigns – the potential for fan interaction is there, and letting people instantly view their own entries among everyone else’s from all over the world is a veritable goldmine of entertainment. The ability for fans to vote on the entries would just be icing on the cake.

By Anne McGraw