Book more photography clients with this step-by-step framework.
Hi, I'm Brooke! I'm a believer, wife, mama to two, Oklahoma photographer, and photography business coach.
I help photographers grow profitable full-time businesses from home.
Explore the podcasts and blogs in the categories listed below.
Is a photography giveaway a successful business tool? There is so much to be said on this particular topic. So, today we’re diving into the everchanging world of social media & how it affects the way we, as photographers, use giveaways to help build our business.
In the past, the trend was to run a photography giveaway on social media, it was nothing new to see businesses across the Facebook platform doing this all the time. It was a great way to generate leads for clients, for sales, and for bookings.
Social media has changed a lot since then. The algorithm has changed, the way people are using social media has changed, and the way that consumers are choosing to make purchases & interact with businesses online has changed.
I’m sure two to five years from now I’ll have to rewrite a lot of these blogs to ensure I’m bringing you updated information. So, the first thing that I really just want to get across the board to all of you is that social media is everchanging and it always will be.
So, the question remains…
Are giveaways (on social media) a successful business tool?
Photography giveaways are a helpful tool for your business, especially when you are newer.
The way that we go about hosting giveaways has changed dramatically. I have continued to use giveaways in my business at least once a year, every single year since I started my business, and that is one of the ways that I get a lot of pageviews, inquiries and bookings (especially in the very beginning).
I’m talking like the very first two years I was in business.
If I were to give you that strategy today and tell you to rinse and repeat that process, it wouldn’t work very well for you. That again, goes back to algorithms changing. Not only that, but social media policies have changed.
We’re going to dig into all of those things:
More than that, I really want to walk you through the steps of hosting a successful giveaway. One that isn’t going to be a waste of your time, it’s going to help you really ramp things up & hopefully get eyeballs on your business + get you some inquiries as well.
If you’re doing a photography giveaway that is very generalized, as in you are literally trying to get anybody &everybody to come on over to your Facebook page or Instagram account; you’re just trying to reach the masses here and, it will actually end up hurting you.
I see this all the time, especially on Instagram, people will have an Amazon gift card giveaway, or they will be giving some type of a cash bonus or some other ridiculous prize that has nothing to do with their business; they’re really just looking for the Instagram follower number to grow. While this may seem like an amazing tool, or an amazing tactic to get your business to grow and to get more eyeballs on it, what happens when the giveaway is over?
You’ve given one winner their Amazon $500 gift card, and now you’re left with all of these random people who were never going to buy from you outside of your giveaway, they were never going to follow you for any other reason. They were never going to come be a client of yours.
Now, you’re stuck with all the wrong people in your circle, it hurts you, it’s going to hurt your engagement, it’s going to hurt your visibility, it’s going to hurt your conversion and it’s going to hurt everything about your business.
When you are deciding on a giveaway, don’t just do a generalized session. Don’t just give away something that is indirectly related to your business.
You want to make sure that you are targeting the ideal client you’re actively trying to book. Give them something that they were going to book you for, or something to entice them to book with you.
If you are a maternity photographer, I want you to be giving away either a session credit or a maternity session, or a chance to win a maternity gown that can be paired with a session credit to use for their maternity pictures.
Make sure that what you’re giving away is directly tied to your niche & your ideal client that you want to work with.
Here’s what I mean by this, we’re not hosting a giveaway, just to increase our follower count, or just to get more page likes. That’s not why we’re doing this, we are hosting a giveaway to yes, give something away, but also we’re looking for more visibility.
We’re looking for more conversions, more clients, more bookings.
That’s what we truly want from a giveaway, we want our business to become known & to fall into the laps of the ideal clients that we want to work with.
So, having people like or share a post to enter, you want to make sure that you are creating leads for yourself. I recommend if you’re going to host a giveaway through social media, that you also have people join your email list, it’s a great way to get a first name + an email address of someone who might book you in the future.
Make sure that you are giving something away that is related to your niche, but also find ways to get people on your email list so that you can contact them again.
Just doing Instagram and Facebook, they enter it & move on about their life and forget about it. A lot of times none of them ever go back to that profile, it was just in the moment that was enticing that they joined.
Now, if you also pair this with building your email list of people that are actually interested in working with you, then you’re going to be able to contact them even when the giveaway is over. Yes, some of these people will unsubscribe from your email list after the giveaway is over, especially if they didn’t win. However, a lot of these people will stay on your list because they are genuinely interested in following you, and one day using you as their photographer, or passing your information along to someone that they know that might be interested in your services.
I really want to encourage you to not just do social media giveaways., but to instead, pair it with having people join your email list.
Your giveaway itself should not last longer than three to seven days, the sweet spot for giveaways are between three to five days.
The reason for this is that people are going to forget + people need some sense of urgency to enter the giveaway right now. I recommend keeping it between that three to seven day mark to keep the urgency, the excitement up and the attention on your giveaway.
I teach some additional marketing tactics when it comes to running a photography giveaway inside of the Blueprint Program; the best days, the best times, the best language and all of that!
My answer for this is simple, as sparingly as possible. I recommend that you do not run a giveaway more than two or three times a year. In fact, I really think you should only run a giveaway once or twice a year. That’s it.
Here’s the reason why…
You don’t want to become known as the Bath and Bodyworks brand.
Have you ever paid full price for anything in Bath and Bodyworks? Probably not. You know why that is? Every year people will wait until something goes on sale, we know that they’re always running sales, everything seems to always be discounted. No one is ever buying their stuff for full price, ever. There might be a unicorn out there, but I am telling you, most people shop there based on their sales.
If you become that person, if your business takes on that idea & that brand, people will never pay full price for your services, and they will wait for every giveaway or discount that you give them.
You don’t deserve that. You deserve people who truly value you and are willing to pay every penny or more than what you’re asking for.
Let me run through some ideas for you of when you might run a photography giveaway:
Again, I don’t recommend you do more than three times per year, max.
Some other ideas for when you should run a giveaway:
When you hit the one year mark, the two year mark, the five year mark and the 10 year mark. All of those are huge. I think a giveaway is an awesome way to celebrate with your clients & potential clients.
Your birthday, you could host a giveaway for your birthday, Christmas, the holidays, etc.
Another idea would be if you ever expand your business.
If you ever add on a new service, purchase a studio or you’re honestly just feeling generous one day and you want to do a random, unexpected giveaway, I think that would be a fantastic idea.
This depends on your business. However, because we’re photographers, specifically, the first things that come to mind are:
For example, if you are a wedding photographer, you’re going to give a session away, maybe it’s an engagement session, maybe it’s a wedding package or maybe it’s just bridal portraits, pair with some local businesses and do a big giveaway to get more eyes on your businesses & share each other’s audiences.
Let’s say maybe you partner with a local wedding venue, a florist and a wedding cake baker. You could give away a big bundle to an expecting bride or groom. And that would be a great way for you guys to get leads into your businesses.
If you’re a family photographer, maybe you are going to partner with a local boutique that always has the cutest outfits that you can select for them. Maybe it’s their whole wardrobe is a giveaway from this business or this business is going to give them $50 to go towards their wardrobe, and then you’re going to give a session credit toward one of your sessions. That would be a way that you could do a local business collaboration giveaway.
One other idea that I want to throw your way, and you may have seen me do this every year for Christmas. For the last four years, I have done a 12 Days of Giveaways Christmas holiday event, where I partner up with 11 other local businesses or business owners, and we all give away a giveaway prize. It’s a great way for our local community to share about us all & for us to share one another’s audiences, and to encourage our people to shop local for Christmas and the holiday.
It’s my favorite thing to do. Everybody loves it, everybody is blessed by it, and it’s just been a huge hit for us.
You can absolutely do this, as well.
Now we need to talk about some of the nitty gritty things that aren’t so fun to talk about. These are the things that are always changing. So, when it comes to running a giveaway, especially on a social media platform that you do not own, you have to pay attention to their guidelines, their policies and their contracts.
Some of the do’s and don’ts when running a giveaway on Facebook and/or Instagram. Almost everything I’m going to tell you here is for both platforms, but there is one major difference that I’m going to share with you.
Keep in mind when running a giveaway on Facebook or Instagram, is that your giveaway can occur on your business page, your business Instagram account, inside your Facebook group or an events page. You can’t post a giveaway, or a contest of any kind on your personal platform.
If you’re on your personal profile on either Instagram or Facebook, Facebook does have the right to take your giveaway off. They’ll remove the post & potentially shut down your account altogether. That is huge. Please don’t make that mistake. Make sure that this is happening under your business account, on a business page, Facebook group or events page.
When you’re hosting a giveaway on Facebook and/or Instagram, your post must include who can enter, how to enter your giveaway and a description of the giveaway prize. The more details you give, the better.
Details can include:
I know it’s a lot, but these things must be included.
Your giveaway cannot be a raffle or require your participants to pay to be entered. You cannot say if you book a session with me, then you are going to be entered to win cannot do that. You cannot ask people to purchase anything that you have in order to be eligible. This has to be something where they’re taking a free action in order to get a prize that you are willingly giving away for free.
According to Facebook, you cannot ask people to share your post or tag friends in the comments according to their policy. This is the difference between Facebook and Instagram.
With Facebook, you cannot ask people to like your page, share your post or tag friends in the comments.
Are people & businesses still using this giveaway style? Yes. It’s a risk, that’s what it is, every time they do it, they’re taking a risk because Facebook absolutely has the power to shut down your business page, especially since they’ve already told you not to do this.
Here’s the difference with Instagram, you can do this (despite the fact that Facebook owns Instagram).
So, now you’re probably thinking, “okay, well, if I run a giveaway on Facebook, then what actions can I ask my people to take?”
Here are some of the ones that were listed underneath this policy:
Remember I told you that when you’re running social media giveaways, I really want to encourage you to get your people to come over to your email list *wink*.
I want to walk you through an example of a giveaway.
What the prizes are, what the language and all of that.
EXAMPLE for Instagram:
Calling all mamas! In honor of Mother’s Day Brooke Janae photography is hosting a giveaway. One Mama is going to score herself a complimentary family or motherhood session, which includes up to one hour of shooting time styling planning, a gallery of 30 edited images and a mini photo album.
How to enter:
1: Comment below and tell me one way motherhood has impacted your life.
2: Share this post to your stories.
3: Tag a mom friend in the comments or in your story.
This session will take place in my county in Oklahoma. This giveaway is in no way sponsored or affiliated with Instagram. Just wanted to honor a mama this Mother’s Day. Giveaway closes on May 1, 2021. Winners will be announced on May 2 through my stories. Good luck.
**Please note, this is just an example. I have not done this giveaway**
With this, we’ve covered all of our bases.
The reason you want to give a location or a radius is so that if someone comes across your post out of state, they can’t come back, if they’re the winner, and say, “you gave away this session, but you never said where it was going to take place”.
Once you choose a winner, you want to make sure you walk them through your client process, everything’s the same, a contract is absolutely necessary, a client experience is absolutely necessary, the only thing they’re not going to do is they’re not going to pay for it if you’re giving away a free session.
I recommend staying away from using words that will trigger your algorithm or words that have monetary value. I typically don’t ever say free, I’ll use the word complimentary instead. 1. It sounds classy. 2. Anytime that you use monetary words in your posts, they get flagged and issues can come up.
If you’re giving away a session credit, then call that session credit. If you’re giving away something that is monetary value, then yes, absolutely, put that in your post so people know what the value is, or they know how much the gift card you’re giving away is, whatever the case may be, go ahead and do that.
Another thing that I could have added to this giveaway was I could have put in parentheses, this is valued at and then given what a regular client would have paid, you absolutely are more than welcome to do that.
You do not have to do a photography giveaway. Yes, giveaways can be a successful business tool.
They make for great lead generators. You can absolutely help build your business, but they are NOT required or mandatory in business. If you don’t want to do them, don’t.
Want more details on how giveaways are a successful business tool?
Want more tips & tricks for business from the Book More Clients Photography Podcast? Tune in today!
Join the #1 Community for Photographers: Book More Clients: Branding, Marketing + Client Experience Facebook group today!