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How to Run a Branded Frames Photo Contest

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Branded frames photo contests allow you to collect user-generated content (UGC) that includes your branding. These contests are designed to increase brand awareness, and the images are fun for your customers to create and share with friends.

In a branded frames photo contest, participants enter by submitting an image via an online form. After uploading an image, they apply one of the custom image frames you’ve provided to their image using ShortStack’s Image Editor Widget. The number and types of frames available are up to you. To choose a winner, you can either allow people to vote for their favorite entries or randomly select a winner.

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Before You Start

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There are a few questions that you’ll want to consider before getting started with your contest:

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What goals do you want to achieve with your contest?
Branded frames photo contests are designed for collecting UGC with a little bit of your brand’s flair added to each image entry. Adding branded content to the images means that when an entry is shared, your brand is also shared, leading to increased brand awareness.

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What data do you expect to collect?
Naturally, with a branded photo frames contest, you’ll use a form to collect UGC that you can use in future marketing efforts or promotions. Beyond collecting an image, the form allows you to gather even more data from your entrants. You decide what data is most valuable to you.

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What should the frames look like?

Feel free to get creative and let your imagination guide you! Create frames around your campaign’s themes or your brand in general. Just make sure to leave part of the frame image transparent, as you’ll want some part of the entrant’s photo to show through. Have as much fun as you want with the design, or take a more brand-forward approach - there really is no wrong way to build your frame.

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In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps to run a branded frames photo contest from beginning to end.

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STEP 1

Build Your Landing Page in ShortStack

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ShortStack gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to the structure of your contest. You can add branded photo frames capabilities to any contest you create. However, we offer a template to help you quickly create branded photo frames contests.

Note: The branded frames photo template is only available for users on the S2 version of the platform.

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Here’s how to set up a landing page using ShortStack’s Branded Frames Photo Contest template:

  1. Log into your ShortStack account.
  2. Click on the blue Campaign button at the top of the Dashboard to start a new campaign.
  3. The Template Gallery will open. In the search bar in the top right corner, type branded frames.
  4. Hover over the single result and click the blue Use This Template button. You can also click here to get started with this template.
  5. Add a name and any tags for your campaign in the fields provided.
  6. Your campaign will now open in the Builder.

    Note: The template does include some default frames - we’ll tackle how to edit those in the next section.
  7. Now the fun part - building out the campaign! Swap in your own logo and header image, change the colors, and make any stylistic adjustments you’d like. While the template does have some structure, don’t hesitate to tweak things to fit your design specs.
  8. If you want to add fields to your form to collect more of your entrants’ information, you’ll need to add additional Field Widgets. Click and drag a new Field Widget into the Form Container then select the specific field you want to add. Adjust the settings of the widget, then finally click on Save & Exit. 
  9. Repeate step 8 for all additional fields you wish to add to your form. 
  10. For more information on setting up your form, check out our Field Widget help doc.
  11. From there, you’ll use the Builder to change the text and design of your landing page. When you’re ready to publish, click Publish Campaign at the top.

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Note: If you need further assistance with the basics of setting up your campaign using the Campaign Builder, check out our Getting Started with ShortStack and How to Use the Style Panel videos on our YouTube channel.

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STEP 2

Add Frames to Your Image Editor Widget

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The star of the show in the Branded Photo Frames Contest template is the frames entrants add to their submitted photos. You will provide the frames entrants use by adding them to the Image Editor Widget.

The Branded Frames Photo Contest Template includes an Image Editor Widget with three sample frames. However, the process for adding frames is similar if you want to add them to any other campaign.

Before you add a frame to your campaign, here are a couple of things to consider when designing your frames:

  • The frame(s) will be layered over the image uploaded by the entrant.
  • The image you use for the frame should have a .png or .gif format and be partially transparent where you want the entrant’s image to show through.

Tip: If you’re looking for image editing software to use to create your frames, check out our blog post that reviews some of the best free options on the web: PicMonkey, Canva, Visme and Photopea.

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Follow these steps to add your custom frames in your Image Editor Widget:

  1. In the Builder, open the widget settings for the Image Editor Widget. Click on your Image Editor Widget in the Edit Widgets Panel, highlighting it, then click the Edit widget settings icon (the pencil) in the top right corner.
  2. Once you have the widget settings open, click on the Frame option in the Select and customize the image editor buttons section.
  3. Now to add your frames: click the + icon, which will open the Media Selector.
  4. Select an existing image in your library, or upload a new one from your computer using the Select File link. Once the image has been uploaded and/or selected, click on Use Selected at the bottom of the selector.
  5. You will now see a thumbnail of your chosen image appear in the Frames section of the widget settings. Repeat steps 4-5 to add any additional frames.
  6. Once you’ve got all the frames uploaded and the widget settings tweaked to your liking, click the Save & Exit button at the bottom of the pop-up.
  7. If you’ve published previous to setting up your frames, you’ll want to click the Publish Changes button in the top right of the Builder to push your changes to the live campaign.

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STEP 3

Promote Your Contest

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There is no shortage of ways to promote your contest. Get creative and have fun with it! Here are a few examples of how you can get the word out:

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Instagram Stories
Show off a fun photo or video in Stories to highlight your frame (or some framed example entries) and drive people to your landing page. Stories are super popular and they are a quick way for you to get more eyes on your content.

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Your Website
Leverage your website traffic to drive visitors to your contest. You can even embed your contest in your website so that everything is in one place.

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Other Social Media Channels
Social media marketing to the rescue! Share the link to your landing page on your other social media channels. If someone follows you elsewhere, there’s a good chance they’ll follow you on Twitter or TikTok (and it’s very likely they’ll want to participate).

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STEP 4

End the Contest and Pick a Winner (Optional)

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If you’re not planning on using the landing page for further communication about your contest or as a gallery to show off all your new branded UGC, you can unpublish your landing page. To do so:

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Ending Your Campaign

  1. Log into your ShortStack account.
  2. Open your contest in the Builder.
  3. Click on the blue banner icon in the top right corner to open the Publication Panel.
  4. Click the unpublish icon to the right of the publication name to unpublish the campaign.

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Selecting Your Winner(s)
If you decided to pick a winner at random, you can use the Entry Picker to select a random entry from your list. Here’s how:

  1. Log into your ShortStack account.

  2. Click on Lists at the top of your Dashboard to open the Lists Manager.

  3. Find the list that was connected to the form in your branded frames photo contest, then click on the list name.

  4. This will open up the Entries Manager for your list. Click on the Choose button in the top-right to open the Random Entry Picker.

  5. Enter the number of entries you’d like to pick in the field provided.

  6. Select a unique label and add that in the associated field, hitting Enter/Return after each tag. If you don’t supply your own, a default of “picked [current date]” will be added instead. This label will be used to easily find your winning entry, so be sure to note what you’ve selected.

  7. Click the blue Submit & Close button.

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You’ll receive a notification when the system is done selecting your winner.
To see your winner(s), simply type the label you selected for your winners into the Label field in the top-left of the Entries Manager.

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Note: For a handy video that walks through the winner selection process, check out: How to Choose a Winner at Random.

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STEP 5

Contact Your Winner

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Reach out to your winner by email to get more information from them so you can distribute your prize.

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If you’d like, you can publish a new social media post letting people know that a winner has been chosen and/or announce the winner on your contest’s landing page - just make your edits in the Campaign Builder, then click the Publish Changes button at the top.

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Note: ShortStack makes it easy to send out a scheduled email to all the entrants in the contest you just ended. Check out the How to Set Up Automated Emails video on our YouTube channel for more information.

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Pat yourself on the back. You’ve now run your very first Instant Win contest! In addition to engaging with your audience, you’ve collected tons of useful information about your followers, and hopefully had a bit of fun along the way. 

We hope this guide was helpful to you. Be sure to check out our blog post, How We Collected Nearly 3k Entries + Some Amazing UGC With Our National Pancake Day Contest & Photo Frames - it shows how fun and effective branded frames contests can be!

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Additional Resources

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P.S. This landing page was built with with ShortStack!