How to Build a Hashtag Contest

Learn how to build a successful hashtag contest with these five simple steps and maximize your return on investment.

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・1 min read
Best Practices
Social Media

Having worked with thousands of brands over the last ten years, there’s one thing we know here at ShortStack, and that’s contests - what works, what doesn’t, and everything in between.A lot has changed over the years, but there’s one truth that hasn’t wavered - when building your contest, the more work it takes to submit an entry, the fewer entries you can expect to get. This principle rings true for any entry medium. For example, a complex entry form can tank your participation rates, as can requiring participants to write a recipe, film a video, or even submit a photo.Before you throw up your hands, there is a solution to collecting photos and videos while keeping the barrier to entry very low. By collecting entries via a hashtag you can keep the entry process as simple as creating a post on social media - a task that most of your participants are already doing.Ready to build a simple contest while reaping the highest ROI? Without further ado, here’s how to build a hashtag contest.

Step 1: Set a goal

This is an often overlooked step, but clearly defining a goal will help shape the remainder of your contest. Goals can be as simple as boosting brand awareness or helping you to collect user-generated content.

Step 2: Create a hashtag

Think of something clever but not too complicated. It needs to be specific enough so as not to pull in extra posts. For example, a generic hashtag such as #contest will pull in lots of posts not associated with your contest.

Step 3: Create rules

This is another often overlooked step. Rules are very important because they help protect your contest and your business from fraud. If you don’t want to spend the money to get professional legal help, use an online template to help you get started.

Step 4: View your entries

To view your hashtagged entries, you can either search on the social media platform you’re running your contest on, or if you’re collecting hashtagged posts from either Instagram or Twitter, you can build a feed to pull your entries into contest software such as ShortStack. One benefit (among many) to building a feed is that it allows you to easily choose one or more winners at random.

Step 5: Display your entries in a gallery

Displaying your entries in a gallery opens the door to a list of other possibilities. For example, when you use ShortStack to display your hashtagged entries, you can enable voting, sharing, and easily embed your gallery right on your website.Need a little more inspiration? Check out The Ultimate Guide to Hashtag Contests

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About the author

By Jessica Miller-McNatt ・1 min read

Jessica Miller-McNatt has been with ShortStack for over a decade and has served in every role from Marketing Team Lead to Customer Success. Her journey in martech continues to fuel her fascination for what drives growth. Jessica's favorite weekends are spent in the North Georgia mountains, chasing waterfalls and exploring with her family.

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