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When it comes to engaging fans, building an audience and promoting an offering, it doesn't get much better than Instagram. There are loads of outstanding strategies you can implement to get ahead on Instagram, with one of the most impactful being running a photo contest.

An Instagram photo contest is a simple but powerful type of campaign where you ask users to create and share valuable photos or videos for the chance to win a prize.

How you use photo contests is entirely up to you. You can get entrants to upload photos of themselves with your products, videos of your products in action, or anything else that's engaging and valuable.

In this post we'll take you through everything you need to know about running your own highly effective Instagram photo contest.

Why You Should Run An Instagram Photo Contest

Running a photo contest has a lot of valuable benefits. It's a great way to get people excited, engage your audience and best of all, get your biggest fans posting branded photos for their own social circles to see.

This is awesome for a few reasons:

Raising Awareness & Boosting Visibility

Using a contest to encourage users to create and share branded content on your behalf will help you boost visibility, raise awareness, and get people talking about your brand. This is an outstanding way to connect with a new audience and find prospective new customers.

Building Positive Associations

As well as boosting awareness, photo contests are also an awesome way to build a positive perception of your brand. Having a bunch of photos of happy customers is a great way to get people to view you in a positive light and help build a strong sense of community around your brand.

Spreading Promotional Material

Having users create and post photos of themselves enjoying your products is essentially getting your fans to share promotional material on your behalf. Plus, material coming from users has the added bonus of being more fresh, trustworthy, relatable and engaging than your own content.

Collecting Valuable Content

As well as getting this authentic and engaging content shared across Instagram, you'll also be able to collect it to include in your own marketing material. This could be posting it on Instagram and other social media platforms or displaying it on your website.

A simple Instagram photo contest has all these amazing benefits and it will cost you little more than the price of a prize.

How To Run A Photo Contest On Instagram

Setting up a photo contest on Instagram is a fairly simple undertaking. All you need to do is make an Instagram post which announces your contest, showcases your prize, and gives users instructions on how they can enter.

This should include what type of photos they need to post, and how they should tag it. This can be with a designated #hashtag or by @mentioning your Instagram profile.

Making sure entrants properly tag their submissions is crucial to being able to easily collect entries and pick winners

When it comes to picking a prize you want to ensure you're giving away something valuable enough to validate the effort required, and relevant enough to your niche that it will appeal to your target audience. As a general rule, giving away your own product, or a bundle of your own products makes for an ideal prize, but there are plenty of other brilliant prizes you can giveaway.

Check Out 150+ Awesome Prize Ideas For Your Photo Contest

To comply with Instagram's Promotion Policy you should also make it clear that your contest isn't sponsored by or associated with Instagram, and provide users with your contest's terms and conditions. You can share these in your contest post, or to keep things tidy you can leave them in a comment or link off to them from your bio.

Your terms and conditions should include any relevant dates, entry restrictions, how the winner will be selected and what the prize is. You should also make it perfectly clear that by entering your contest users are giving you permission to repost and use their content.

Promoting A Photo Contest

The best way you can promote your photo contest is simply by announcing it in an Instagram post that explains the contest, highlights the prize and gets people excited to enter.

To maximise awareness and participation you should keep posting reminders right up until you stop accepting submissions. Sharing some of the best submissions you've already received is a nice way to boost enthusiasm and inspire people to create and share their own entries.

As well as promoting the contest in your Instagram posts, there are a number of other ways you can promote your campaign and build excitement:

Include It In Your Instagram Bio

Announcing your contest in your Instagram bio is a great way to grab the attention of relevant users who visit your profile. If you've set up a webpage which explains your giveaway (and maybe even showcases submissions) you can link to it from your bio.

Promote It In Your Instagram Stories

Promoting your contest in your Instagram stories is an awesome way to increase your visibility and keep encouraging your fans to get involved.

You can use your stories to explain the contest then and there, or link users to a post where everything is outlined.

Share It On Other Social Media Platforms

If you've got an active presence on other social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube or even Snapchat it's a good idea to announce your photo contest across all of these platforms and encourage your followers to head over to your Instagram page for a chance to win.

As well as helping you increase participation, this can also get more eyes on your Instagram profile and cross-pollinate your social following.

Types Of Photos You Can Collect

When you run an Instagram photo contest one of the biggest decisions you'll need to make is what type of content you want users to submit.

Here are some of the best types of content you can get your fans to share that will help you attract attention, engage your audience and promote your offering:

Photos of Your Products In Action

The exact nature of this content will depend on what your offering is, but using contests to generate photos or videos of your product in action is a brilliant way to get users to share content that promotes your offering in an authentic and relatable way.

This could be anything including photos of them wearing your clothes or using your product, to pictures of them enjoying an experience you offer.

Creative Use Of Your Product

A highly engaging type of promotional material you can collect with contests are creative, funny, or advanced use of your products.

Starbucks has done a great job of this with their #RedCupContest which encourages users to decorate their special Starbucks cups and share them online.

Creative or advanced use photos can be anything which goes a step beyond a photo of a happy customer. You could ask for photos of people using your product in creative and unconventional ways to drum up engagement or you could highlight the full extent of your product's value by encouraging users to show off expert use of your product.

Anything Relevant To Your Niche

Photo contests are awesome for encouraging the creation and sharing of user content that will help promote your brand, but this doesn't always have to be as direct as photos and videos of your products.

You can run a highly engaging and valuable campaign by getting your fans to submit photos or videos that are relevant and appealing to your audience and niche in some way.

Busabout, a travel tour company, did a great job of this by encouraging their audience to share their best travel photos for a chance to win. They didn't even have to ask for photos of Busabout tours because they knew that getting people to share awesome travel pics with a Busabout tag attached would be enough to boost awareness and promote their offering.

While this type of photo contest may not directly promote your offering it can still be a fantastic way to attract attention, form connections, create a fun conversation around your brand and bolster positive associations. Plus, you won't restrict submissions to customers which can help you drive more submissions and gain more traction.

Using #Hashtags & @Mentions

Anytime you run a photo contest on Instagram you will need a clear way of monitoring submissions and collecting entries.

The two best ways you can do this are getting users to tag all their submission posts either by using a designated #hashtag, or using a @mention to tag your profile in the post.

This will allow you to easily identify, monitor and collect submissions, as well as draw winners when it's time to wrap things up.

Mentions

Requiring entrants to @mention you in their posts is a good approach to take for a few reasons.

Firstly, when users tag you in their photos all of their followers who see the post will also see you tagged in it. This will help you boost exposure and can be an awesome way to connect with a new audience.

Secondly, using mentions will give you clear ownership over the campaign, while hashtags can sometimes take on a life of their own and branch off into irrelevant usage.

Hashtags

Hashtags are also a great way to get entrants to tag their submissions. Hashtags have a highly engaging and social nature to them which makes them great for sharing around. If your contest gets big enough your hashtag even has the potential to go viral.

Another upside of hashtags are their ability to not only identify your brand, but also communicate details about your contest which will instantly clue people into what your campaign's all about.

Hashtags and mentions both have their own unique upsides when it comes to identifying contest entries, and if you want the best of both worlds you can even ask entrants to use your hashtag and mention you in their post.

How To Create A Good Contest Hashtag

When you use hashtags to collect entries you'll need to create a brand new and unique hashtag to use. This will play a pretty big role in your contest so it's important that you get it right.

Whenever you created a hashtag you need to make sure it's:

  • Branded
  • Relevant to your contest
  • Easy to read (it helps to capitalise the first letter of each word)
  • Short, catchy and memorable
  • Original and unique to your contest (always be sure to search your hashtag before you launch)

Learn More About Running a Successful Hashtag Campaign

Picking Winners

One of the most important (and certainly the most complex) components of running an Instagram photo contest is collecting entries and drawing winners.

If you're picking winners based on merit or skill you can look through every submissions and pick your favourite. This is incredibly time consuming, but relatively straightforward. Just make sure you have a clearly defined selection criteria in place.

Picking Random Winners

If you want to pick winners at random, which is generally the best way to go then you'll need to take a different approach.

Until not too long ago, Instagram's API allowed you to pull in historic posts from hashtags and there were a number of free online tools you could use to randomly pick a winner from a hashtag of your choice. This had its own limitations, but it was convenient nonetheless.

Unfortunately, Instagram no longer allows this, so you are left with two main options:

  1. You can manually search through your hashtag or mentions, collect every valid entry, put them into a list and use a random number generator or random list picker to choose your winner.
  2. You can run your contest with a tool that will automatically collect entries from hashtags or mention in real-time and instantly draw a random winner when you're ready.

Since the first option is absurdly time-consuming and unreliable we recommend that you take the second approach.

How To Automatically Collect Entries & Pick Winners

The best way to automatically collect entries and pick random winners for your photo contest is with Gleam's Competitions app.

Using Gleam's import actions you can run powerful Instagram photo contests that automatically import and collect photos or videos which use a specified hashtag or mention your Instagram profile.

This gives you the opportunity to run powerful photo contests that users can enter without ever having to leave Instagram.

You can even use our entry interval feature to determine how many times users are able to enter. You can allow single, hourly, daily, weekly or unlimited entries.

Plus, you can easily validate entries to make sure they fit your submission criteria. You can validate entries as they come in, or you can simply wait until your contest is over and draw a winner. If it's invalid you can instantly invalidate it and pick a new winner.

If you want to run your photo contest across multiple platforms you can even use our import actions to collect hashtagged submissions from Twitter as well.

Run Your Own Instagram Photo Contest

Check out our documentation on setting up your own contest or check out the app right away!

Check It Out
Driving Extra Actions

In addition to automatically collecting entries from user-generated content you can also use your Gleam contest to drive an array of other powerful actions including email sign-ups, Twitter follows, and visits to your website, Facebook page or YouTube channel.

A great way to drive additional actions is by announcing your photo contest in an Instagram post, and letting users know that they can unlock more chances to win by following a link in your bio and completing additional actions.

This can be a great way to cross-pollinate your online following and drive even more value from your contest. Here are just a few of the extra actions you could drive with Gleam:

If you do want to take one of these approaches you can host your contest widget on a giveaway page on your own website, or on one of our stylish hosted landing pages.

Showcasing Your Content

In the aftermath of your photo contest you should be left with a bunch of incredibly valuable user-generated content. These photos or videos will provide you with an enormous amount of value when they're initially created and shared by fans, but if you really want to make the most of your photo contest then it's a good idea to use high-quality submissions as a part of your own future promotional efforts.

The content you collect will be highly trustworthy and engaging, so it's well worth taking on board and sharing with your own audience.

You can do this by sharing the content across your own social media channels, incorporating it into your email newsletters, or even displaying it on your website.

Displaying a curated gallery of customer photos on your website is a fantastic way to provide prospective customers with reliable social proof and share authentic photos of your offering that will help build trust and drive sales.

With Gleam's Gallery app you can easily create, customise and curate your own customer galleries that allow you to import photos and videos directly from your contest and display them anywhere on your site.

You can use your gallery to not only show off awesome fan photos, but also to get people excited about your contest, encourage entry, and even let visitors vote for their favourite submissions to help you determine a winner and add an extra layer of engagement.

You may also want to take a more subtle approach and use a sleek gallery carousel to showcase an awesome curated collection of fan content anywhere on your site including homepages, product pages, or pages devoted to reviews and testimonials.

Collecting photos for your gallery doesn't even have to end with your contest either, as you can use Gleam's import sources to bring a constant stream of photos from hashtags or mentions into your gallery.

Check Out Gleam Galleries

Check out how you can use galleries to showcase your community, boost engagement and maximise conversions.

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In today's digital world, marketers have more opportunities than ever to reach out and connect with their target audience. With an unprecedented amount of marketing channels to work with it can be challenging to figure out which approaches will allow you to successfully connect with your market, cultivate strong audience relationships and ultimately drive sales.

Amongst the vast array of marketing communication options one still stands tall above the rest, and that's email marketing.

Email marketing is the single best tool you have at your disposal for marketing your brand and driving conversions. In fact, it's been found to have an enormous 300% ROI advantage over social media marketing.

To help you kick your email marketing strategy into high gear we're going to take you through 50+ awesome ideas for effective emails you can send today.

General Email Marketing Ideas

If you want to form a solid relationship with your mailing list and maximise your chances of driving first-time and ongoing sales then you need to be putting out engaging email content several times per week.

This will maximise your emails' chances of getting read, allow you to drive consistent engagement, and help you earn and keep a spot at the top of your audience's mind.

And remember, every email you send should include a call to action which encourages users to take the next step. This can be clicking through to your onsite content, viewing a product or offer, or claiming a coupon code.

Sending out emails with this level of frequency is highly effective, but it can be tough to find something valuable to say all the time. To help you keep your emails constantly flowing and consistently engaging here are some of our favourite ideas for emails you can send anytime:

1. Welcome Emails

Anytime someone new signs up to your mailing list it's important that you immediately reach out and welcome them to your mailing list.

You don't have to do anything too fancy here. You can simply welcome users to you mailing list and give them an introduction to what they can expect from your emails. A welcome email is also a great opportunity to give users a proper introduction to your business, and present them with a clear call to action to try to drive some instant activity.

If you really want to sweeten the deal you can even throw in an introductory coupon to encourage instant action, but we'll talk more about that later.

2. News Emails

Sending out relevant news about your niche is a fantastic way to keep in touch with your subscribers, provide them with value, and drive engagement.

If all you do is send out advertisements and sales pitches, people will tune out pretty quickly. You need to mix it up with interesting, valuable content and sharing relevant news is a great way to do just that.

This is a great strategy for developing relationships with your audience and positioning yourself as a trusted and helpful authority within your niche. This goes a long way when it comes to driving long-term customer acquisition and retention.

Bonus points if you can direct users to your own blog posts covering relevant news updates.

3. Update Emails

Direct email is a fantastic way to keep your users and customers posted about any important updates to your products or procedures. Update emails aren't inherently the most exciting emails, but if you're looping users in on changes to your products and services these emails can serve as a great way to show off what you've got and promote your offering that's constantly improving.

Update emails can even serve as a simple way to touch base with your customers and keep yourself fresh in their mind.

Wahanda were able to cleverly use a standard update email to incentivise customers to subscribe to their newsletter which will give their future promotional efforts a meaningful boost.

4. Sharing Valuable Content

When people sign up for your mailing list it will generally be because they like and trust your brand, and want to gain value from your communications. This value will often take the form of product news and special offers, or it can be the insightful and valuable content that you share.

Just about every business has something to gain to by producing valuable content about their niche, but it can be particularly effective for B2B and SaaS businesses. Whatever it is you're writing about, your content needs to strike a balance between promoting your own offering, and providing readers with meaningful value.

If you regularly publish blog posts it's always a good move to share them with your list, but also producing some exclusive email content is an awesome way to incentivise sign-ups and make your subscribers feel valued.

5. Curated Content

A great way to bulk up your email content is by sharing a curated collection of new, high-value, and relevant articles and videos from around the web.

Taking this approach will allow you to send out more emails and engage your audience more often. Just remember to prioritise your own content, and try not to direct your subscribers towards any of your competitors.

Helm Boots does this expertly by sending out a weekly roundup of engaging content from around the web, including content and deals from their own store.

6. Happy Holidays

Sending out emails around holidays is a great way to instantly make your emails more captivating and capitalise on people's festive spirits. Whether you're running a holiday sale, sharing some holiday-themed content or even just wishing people a happy holiday, this tactic is a surefire way to give your messages an easy boost in engagement.

And with the absurd amount of holidays floating around you'll never run out of reasons to celebrate.

7. Ask Questions

The key to success in any industry is understanding your customers, and there's no better way to gain this understanding than simply going out and asking for it.

If you want to get valuable audience insights then you should try sending your subscribers emails with targeted questions relevant to their stage in the customer journey.

Here's how Vueling Airlines used a quick question to gauge customer preferences and tried to drive some instant conversions:

As well as helping you gauge preferences and drive conversions, this type of email also serves as a nice way to engage users and make them feel involved with your brand.

8. Send Invitations

If you're hosting any sort of event then sending out personal, thought-out invitations is a powerful way to make leads feel appreciated and valued.

If you're selling high-value tickets and have a relatively short lead list, get your team to email as many of them as possible from their own e-mail addresses to add a personal touch.

9. Webinar Invitations

If you're running an online webinar then sending out invites and sign-up forms to all of your subscribers is a must.

You should use emails to announce your webinar, highlight everything users will gain from it, and provide a clear, easy to follow prompt to sign up.

10. Important Dates

Key dates for your business are a great excuse for celebrating with your audience. You can celebrate your organisation's birthday, the day you first broke even, or any other important date.

Can you lay out the key dates in your business calendar and see how many email opportunities you have?

11. Contest & Giveaway Accouncement Emails

One of the most powerful types of promotional campaigns you can run is a giveaway, and reaching out to your evangelists through email is a great way to get the ball rolling on your giveaway and start driving entries.

All you need to do is send out an email which announces your giveaway, highlights the prize, and lets users know what they can do to enter. This is particularly powerful if your giveaway incentivises users to share your campaign with their own social circles, as it will allow you to harness the power of your list to build awareness and attract new subscribers.

Learn Everything You Need To Know About Running A Successful Giveaway

12. Winner Announcement Emails

Everytime you run a contest a giveaway you need to publically announce the winner of your campaign. This will give people closure, boost transparency, and provide you with a solid reason to reach out to your audience and try to drive some engagement.

You can use you winner announcement emails to thank users for participating, hint at future contests to keep them interested, encourage them to shop the products they missed out on winning, and even offer them an exclusive discount to help drive sales.

13. Offer Consolation Prizes

The single best thing you can do to drive action from participants in the aftermath of a contest or giveaway is offer up consolation prizes in the form of exclusive discounts to be used at your store.

This is a truly outstanding way to capitalise on the excitement of your giveaway and drive immediate action from all your fresh leads.

Promotional Emails

So far we've gone over some of our favourite ideas for using email to engage your audience and develop a relationship with potential customers. This is an undeniably critical component of email marketing, but alongside offering up authentic value and boosting engagement it's also important that you're using this channel to promote your offering and drive sales.

Here are some of the most engaging and effective ways you can use email marketing to promote your offering:

14. New Release Emails

Whenever you've got a new release hitting your store you should make sure your subscribers are aware. After all, they're more likely than anyone be keen to check out your latest offering.

You can even offer some subsciber-exclusive discounts if you want to boost interest even more.

15. Start of Season Announcements

If your business has a peak season or different seasonal offers you should always try to send out a reminder at the start of the season.

This is a tactic often used by clothing retailers to promote new seasonal lines and businesses in the travel industry showcasing the season's best destinations, but it's a highly effective approach that can be utilised by just about anyone.

16. End of Season Reminders

Just as it's important to announce the start of a season, it's also important to remind people of it's end. At the end of a particular season you're likely to be trying to move excess stock and squeeze every last sale you can from your list.

A great way to maximise sales at the tail end of a season is to offer special deals and discounts which give your subscribers a final opportunity to get their hands on a seasonal offer.

17. Best Sellers

A simple but effective way to use email marketing to drive sales is to put your best products on full display and encourage your subscribers to check them out, and hopefully make a purchase.

Showcasing your top selling products is an easy way to put your most popular products front and center and give your promotion solid mass appeal.

18. Utilise Social Proof

When you set out to drive sales via email, it's important that you're doing everything you can to highlight the value of your offering and encourage users to take action and make a purchase.

There's arguably no better way to do this than by showcasing customer testimonials, success stories, and user-generated content in your emails. This is the perfect way to highlight the benefits of your offering in an authentic, trustworthy, and highly engaging way that will resonate with your audience far more than traditional marketing material.

You can do this by providing customer testimonials:

Or just by including some customer photos in your emails:

Find Out How You Can Use Contests To Collect Valuable User-Generated Content

19. Show Off Your Results

Similarly to showing off user-generated content that highlights the value you provide, if it makes sense for your business it can be a good move to show off some real, tangible results.

This could be case studies, write-ups about your product from trusted sources, or data that highlights the value of your offering and shows prospects that you can solve their problems and fulfill their needs.

20. Limited Edition Products

If you've got some limited edition products or limited time deals, promptly alerting your email list is an outstanding way to make them feel valued and help strengthen your relationship, regardless of whether or not they ultimately make a purchase.

After all, they subscribed because they want to be the first to know.

21. Teaser Emails

If you're about to launch a new product, promotion or marketing campaign then it's a good move to build hype early on and send out some teaser emails to get people excited before you launch.

This is a great way to get people talking about your new offer or promotion so when you do go live, you're launching to an excited audience that's primed and ready to take action.

22. Preview and Pre-Sale

Teasers are a great way to get people excited about an upcoming release, but as the release draws nearer you may want to give people an in-depth look at what's coming, and even give them a chance to pre-order it.

People love to be at the forefront of exciting new products and innovations, so if you give your loyal subscribers the chance to get your new release before anyone else they're more than likely to jump at the opportunity.

This will help you further strengthen your subscriber relationships, drive sales, and get your new product into the hands of early adopters who will kickstart the cycle of peer-to-peer sharing and help your new release gain traction.

23. Product Education

Just because someone's on your mailing list it doesn't mean they will necessarily know how to use your product.

Sending out emails which give people the option of learning how to use your product is a great way to boost product familiarity and encourage trial.

You don't just have to focus on the basics either. Giving people some in-depth insight and inspiration on using your product is a fantastic way to get prospects excited to get their hands on your product, and help existing customers get even more out of your offering.

Special Offers & Deals

The tactics we went over above are all outstanding ways to use email marketing to promote your offering and drive sales. As effective as they can all be, there still isn't anything you can do that will drive immediate sales as effectively as offering up coupons and discounts.

Here are some of the best ways you can use your email list to offer discounts and drive sales:

24. Welcome Offer

A great way to incentivise email subscriptions and drive some quick sales is sending out a special welcome offer to everyone who signs up to your mailing list. This could be a 10% discount on their first purchase, a 2-week free trial, or anything else you think will help get your foot in the door.

If you want to start giving out welcome offers, make sure that you're using your opt-in forms to promote this special offer to encourage as many people as you can to sign up to your list.

Learn More About Growing Your List With Discount Opt-In Forms

25. Host a Sales Promotion

There's a reason why sales promotions are so universally popular in the world of E-commerce. They work.

Sales promotions are a brilliant way to make your offer that little bit more appealing and drive a serious amount of purchases. No one is more likely to get involved with your sales promotions than your subscribers, so sending out an email devoted to your sale every time you run one is a must.

Announce your sales promotion, showcase what you're offering and give users a clear call to action that takes them right to your sales page.

26. Last Chance Sales Reminders

If you have a sales or special promotion that is drawing to a close, you should send your subscribers a final reminder and give them one last chance to capitalise on your discount.

The psychology of scarcity will invoke a sense of urgency that is sure to prompt users to take immediate action and help you drive some sales. A great way to really instill a sense of urgency is by including a countdown timer inside your email.

Check Out How To Build Urgency On Your Website With Countdown Timers

27. Flash Sales & One-Time Offers

Another effective way to drive instant action by creating a sense of urgency is running flash sales and offering limited-time only deals that give users a weekend or even a single day to capitalise on some awesome deals.

The scarcity this creates is incredibly effective for driving sales.

When you take this approach it's a good move to announce the upcoming promotion in advance. You don't want potential customers to miss out because they didn't check their email in time.

28. Offer Exclusive Discounts

Another brilliant way to encourage sales from your list is offering up exclusive subscriber discounts in the form of coupon codes.

This is not only a sure-fire way to drive sales, but also a terrific opportunity to make your subscribers feel valued. This will greatly enhance your ability to retain customers and promote brand loyalty.

Thirdly, you can track coupon usage, get some advanced analytics on customers’ purchasing habits and the effectiveness of your marketing campaign.

Find Out More About Driving Conversions With Coupons

29. Free Shipping

Another type of special offering you can share to drive sales is Free Shipping. Free shipping allows you to offer up a discount without actually having to mark down prices.

This can be helpful if you're offering up luxury goods and don't want its perceived value to be tarnished by price reductions.

30. A Special Gift

Offering your subscibers a free gift..

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Everyone with a YouTube channel knows the importance of driving constant engagement. If you want to build and retain a strong presence on the platform then producing high quality content on a consistent basis is a must, but it's also a good move to make some extra efforts to ensure you're maximising engagement.

One of the best strategies you can implement to achieve this is running contests or giveaways from inside your videos. You can announce your giveaway at the end of some of your regular content, or you can devote an entire video to it.

This is a fantastic way to engage your audience, cultivate a strong sense of community, give your audience more reason to keep tuning in, and even attract new viewers.

One of the best ways you can run a giveaway from a YouTube video is getting viewers to leave a comment to enter, and randomly drawing a winner from your comments.

While setting up this kind of giveaway is quick and easy, drawing a winner can be a challenge. While there are random YouTube comment pickers such as Comment Picker, YouTube RCP, and Sandra Cires YouTube Random Comment Picker available online, they have several significant limitations.

This includes difficulties preventing spam entries, inability to validate entries, and not allowing you to maintain a record of your entry collection and winner drawing process.

There are a couple of ways you can overcome these issues:

  • You can manually record every valid entry yourself and enter them into a random list picker (this will take far too much time and effort).
  • You can use a giveaway app like Gleam Competitions. This will give you the power to limit users to single or periodical entries, validate winners to ensure they're complying with any comment requirements you may have, boost transparency and reliability with records of entries and winners, and even drive additional powerful actions.
Drawing Random Comments With Gleam

With Gleam's powerful import actions you can easily set up a campaign that will automatically collect comments as entries and allow you to instantly pick random winners.

All you have to do is select the YouTube Comments import action, connect your YouTube account, and provide the link to the video you want to import comments from. It's that simple.

Once your campaign is up and running everyone who comments on your video will be awarded an entry and given a chance to win your prize.

Your campaign will have a single entry interval by default, which means each individual user will only get one entry regardless of how many comments they leave. If you want to allow users to get more entries for leaving more comments you can simply change your entry interval to hourly, daily, weekly or unlimited depending on how often you want to let users enter.

This will help you prevent users from spamming the comments and unfairly shifting the odds in their favour.

Once you're ready to wrap things up all you need to do is head to the Winners tab of your Gleam campaign and click Draw Winners. You'll then be able to instantly select a winner at random and reach out to them to let them with their prize.

When you pick winners with Gleam you can even invalidate any entries you draw if they don't comply with your giveaway requirements, and redraw a new winner. This is great if you're tasking users with commenting something specific such as an answer to a question or some feedback on your channel.

Announcing Your YouTube Giveaway

If you want your giveaway to be as effective as possible then you need to make sure that you're announcing and promoting it.

First off, you always need to make sure you're announcing your giveaway in the YouTube video itself, and its description. Let people know what the prize is, that all they have to do to enter is leave a comment, and some specifications such as when entries close, and if their comments have to meet any requirements.

You should also reference your giveaway in the title of your video. This will make it clear that your video contains a giveaway and give your existing subscribers and potential new viewers alike more reason to click your video and check out your content.

Comment contests can also help you drive more external traffic to your video. When you share links to your video across various social media channels users will be a lot more inclined to check it out if they know there's a giveaway involved.

This can be a great way to encourage relevant new users to check out your video, and if they like what they see there's a good chance they'll come back for more.

Running A Campaign Across Multiple Videos

Another great perk of using Gleam to run your comment contests is that you have the ability to collect entry comments from across multiple videos and draw a winner from the entire pool of entrants.

With this approach you can offer more entries and a greater chance of winning to users who comment on more of your videos. This is a fantastic way to encourage your existing audience to keep tuning in, and incentivise new viewers to watch more of your content and give yourself a greater chance of converting them into fans.

All you need to do to set up this type of campaign is create a different YouTube Comments import action for every video involved. You can add more actions as your campaign progresses so you can keep adding new videos to the mix.

Driving Extra Actions

With Gleam you can also use your YouTube giveaway to drive a bunch of other valuable actions including newsletter subscriptions, social media engagement and a whole lot more.

You can run these giveaways by not only tasking users with commenting on your videos, but also using your videos, descriptions, and social media posts to link off to a giveaway page where users can complete more actions for more chances to win.

Take a look at this demo we put together to see some of the additional actions you could drive:

   Use This Template With Gleam

Adding extra actions won't prevent viewers from easily entering by leaving a comment, but it will give you the opportunity to drive some highly valuable actions from engaged users who are willing to take further action to boost their odds of winning.

You'll be able to drive these additional actions by linking off to a giveaway page from your video's description, as well as through your social media channels.

If you don't have a website to run the campaign on you don't need to stress, you can run the campaign on one of our stylish hosted landing pages and send entrants there.

Ready To Run Your Own YouTube Giveaway?

Take a look at our Competitions app and start running your own powerful YouTube Comment Contests!

Get Started
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Since the term was first coined in 2004 as a hybrid of iPod and Broadcast, podcasts have enjoyed a meteoric rise and become a fixture of modern media consumption.

Close to half of the US population have listened to podcasts, with over a quarter doing so at least once per month, and 17% listening to podcasts every week. And these numbers are only going up.

There are a lot of people out there listening to podcasts, and subsequently a lot of room for you to find an audience of your own.

But, just as there are a lot of people listening to podcasts, there are a lot of people producing them. Putting together a consistently engaging podcast is vital to standing out from the crowd and carving out a niche for yourself, but it's still a challenge to get people to check you out in the first place and make room for you in their regular rotation.

One of the best tactics you can implement to build awareness and grow your podcast is running a promotional contest. Keep reading to find out all the best ways you can grow your podcast with contests.

How to Promote Your Podcast With Contests

One of the easiest ways you can run a contest to promote your podcast is by posting Tweets or other social media posts that give users the chance to win a prize by following you on the platform and sharing your posts.

You can easily run these quick contests on Twitter, as well as Facebook and Instagram.

These types of contests are quick, easy, and great for building awareness. However, a major downside of them is that they won't necessarily translate into an increase in listens or subscriptions.

Ideally, your giveaway should reward users for listening or subscribing to your podcast, but manually validating entries and jumping through hoops to get users to prove that they're subscribers is an incredibly arduous task.

That's why we recommend running your contest with a 3rd party app like Gleam. Running a 3rd party contest will make things infinitely easier for both you and your fans. You'll be able to direct traffic to your contest from social media and your podcast and drive all sorts of highly valuable actions ranging from social media follows and shares all the way to podcast listens and subscriptions.

Check out this demo to see how you can use contests to promote your podcast with Gleam's Competitions app:

   Use This Template With Gleam

When you run your contest with Gleam we'll automatically validate and monitor entries for you so you don't have to wait countless hours manually checking subscriptions and figuring out who has entered. All you have to do is encourage users to enter via our widget and we'll handle the rest for you.

Now, let's take a look at the best ways you can easily run a contest with Gleam that will promote your podcast, build awareness, and grow your audience.

Using Contests to Drive Podcast Subscriptions

One of the best ways you can use contests to promote your podcast is by putting together a campaign that awards entries to users who subscribe to your podcast. You can set this type of contest up in a matter of minutes with Gleam's Competitions app.

Check out this demo to see what your own contest could look like:

   Use This Template With Gleam

Getting users to subscribe to your podcast is an outstanding way to encourage listens by giving you prime placement on any platform you're targeting and allowing you to constantly remind users of your presence, announce new episodes and encourage listens.

This is a brilliant way to boost loyalty and increase listens from occasional fans, as well as kick-start new audience relationships by driving first-time listens and giving yourself a chance to grab people's attention and convert them into avid fans.

Plus, by driving listens and subscriptions you'll be able to move up the charts wherever you host your podcast and gain exposure from the countless users looking for new podcasts to check out.

When you run a contest to promote your podcast it's important that you're connecting with listeners through all your distribution channels. This might be a single platform like Apple Podcasts, or it could a whole range including Spotify, Stitcher, Google Podcasts, SoundCloud, or any of the other countless platforms you might host your podcast on.

No matter where you host your podcast, using contests to drive subscriptions is a walk in the park with Gleam's Competitions app.

You can use our Visit Action to drive traffic to your podcast and prompt users to answer whether or not they have subscribed. The action itself will automatically award entries to users who visit your podcast's page, so it's important to ask entrants if they have subscribed to ensure that users are properly completing their entries, and to help you validate winners.

Reward Podcast Listeners With Secret Codes

Encouraging users to subscribe isn't the only way you can promote your podcast with contests. With our nifty Secret Code action you will be able to provide a code word during your podcast and award entries to anyone who can provide you with that code.

Take a look at this demo we put together to see how you can use secret codes to drive listens:

   Use This Template With Gleam

Using secret codes to validate entries is the best way you can ensure that contest entrants are actually listening to your podcast.

The excitement your contest generates will allow you promote your podcast and build hype, and the secret codes will give users a great incentive to give you a listen, which will provide you with the perfect opportunity to win them over and turn them into fans and subscribers.

As well as helping you find some new listeners, this type of contest is also great for rewarding your current fanbase and making them feel valued. This is great for boosting listener loyalty and giving people more reason to keep tuning in.

You can run a contest where you distribute the same secret code every episode, or you can try giving out a different code every time and awarding extra entries to users who are listening regularly.

Secret code contests work outstandingly as a strategy of their own, but you can also combine them with subscription contests and simultaneously drive both listens and subscriptions.

Driving Other Actions

As well as using contests to directly drive listens and subscriptions, Gleam also provides you with a huge selection of other actions that you can use to help promote and grow your podcast.

This includes incentivising users to:

Check out this demo to see the wide range of actions you can drive to help promote your podcast:

Start Promoting Your Podcast With Contests

Check out our documentation on setting up your own Contest or check out the app now!

Check It Out
Make Sure You're Promoting Your Contest

Running a contest is an outstanding way to promote your podcast by spreading awareness, encouraging listens, and driving subscriptions. All this upside is, however, reliant on your ability to put your contest in front of an audience.

If no one knows you're running a contest, no one will enter and you'll miss out on your chance to find new listeners and solidify your fan base. This is why it's so important to always ensure that you're actively promoting your contest.

Here are a few of the best ways you can spread the word about your campaign:

Announce It In Your Podcast

One of the easiest and most effective ways to promote your podcast is
to announce it during your podcast. You can announce and explain the contest during your podcast, and then link off to it in your description.

Making sure your listeners are aware of the contest is important for a few key reasons. Firstly, it can help you convert incidental or occasional listeners into subscribers. Secondly, it's a great way to reward your loyal fans, get your campaign in the hands of your evangelists and kick-start the social sharing of your contest with Tweets, Retweets, and Viral Shares.

Spread the Word On Social Media

Announcing and promoting your contest on social media is a highly effective way to build awareness and drive entries from existing fans and newcomers alike.

When you post about your contest on social media always be sure use eye-catching imagery, clearly explain how users can enter and of course, link off to your contest.

The bigger your social following is the more effective these promotional efforts will be. If your podcast hasn't built up much of a following yet it's a good move to use your personal account to help spread the word. And remember, you can also use your contest to incentivise follows and bolster your social following.

Incentivise Social Sharing

As effective as these strategies can be, they're a lot better at driving entries from your existing fans than connecting with new ones. If you want to expose your contest (and your podcast) to a relevant new audience then you'll need to get users to carry some of the weight for you.

You can do this by simply asking users to Retweet or share posts promoting your contests, or you can take things up a notch and award extra entries to users who successfully share your campaign with friends using our powerful Viral Share action.

This is the best way to gain exposure from a huge new audience and give your contest viral potential.

Learn More About Promoting Your Contest

Hosting Your Contest

When you start running a contest and promoting it through various channels you will need to have a landing page for your contest that you can drive traffic to and allow users to enter through.

If you have your own website the best place to host your contest is there. You can easily embed your Gleam campaign on any page on your website, or even mirror our hosted landing pages on your own website if you don't want to design your own landing page.

This approach is incredibly advantageous as it gives you the opportunity to give your contest a simple and memorable landing page that listeners will be able to rememeber and access if they are listening to your podcast whilst driving, or doing something else that prohibits them from immediately accessing your contest. Try using a URL like this:

yourwebsite.com/contest

If you don't have your own website, don't stress. You can easily host your contest on one of our hosted landing pages. Even if users can't click through immediately this isn't a huge issue, as if they're interested they can easily find the link in your decription.

Give Away the Perfect Prize

The prize you give away will be the single biggest driver of contest entries that you have. People who want to win your prize will enter your contest, and they'll happily complete the actions required to do so.

This makes choosing the right prize a crucial component of putting together your contest. The key is to give away a prize that is valuable enough to encourage mass entry, and relevant enough to your target audience that the people who want your prize are highly likely to take an interest in your podcast and check it out.

The best prize you can offer completely depends on the topic of your podcast.

No matter what niche your podcast covers, there are always loads of great prize ideas for you to use. Anything from exciting products in your niche to books on a relevant topic can make for excellent prizes.

If your podcast has its own merchandise then adding that to the mix can be a solid way to add some extra value and help get your name out there.

A particularly effective strategy you can use to increase your prize's value is partnering up with a sponsor to run a joint giveaway.

Partner With Podcast Sponsors

A great way to get your hands on an awesome prize that will drive a whole lot of entries without breaking your budget is to partner up with a relevant sponsor and have them provide you with a prize in exchange for some dedicated actions in your campaign, the promotion and exposure you can offer them, and even the distribution of exclusive discount codes with our powerful Coupon action.

Take a look at this demo we put together to get an idea what your own contest could look like when you team up with a sponsor:

If you already have an established relationship with a sponsor they will make an excellent candidate for a contest partner. If not, you should try reaching to potential sponsors that offer products or services that are relevant to your niche and target audience.

With Gleam you'll be able to start putting together your own powerful promotional campaigns in a matter of minutes. So if you're ready to take your promotion to the next level and start driving more listens and subscriptions then there's no reason to wait, check out Gleam today.

Start Promoting Your Podcast With Contests

Check out our documentation on setting up your own Contest or check out the app now!

Check It Out
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The ever-increasing ubiquity of social media has had a significant impact on just about every aspect of our lives, and caused a fundamental shift in the way brands have to connect and communicate with consumers.

We live in a social media dominated world and it's more important than ever for brands to ensure that they're maintaining an active online presence, but don't think of this as a chore.

Social media presents every brand with a unique and powerful opportunity to connect with their audience in a meaningful way and get them to actively engage with your brand.

One of the most engaging and effective ways you can use social media to boost visibility and get people talking about your brand is running a hashtag campaign.

In this post we'll take you through exactly what a hashtag campaign is, why they're so effective, and how you can successfully run one of your own. Plus, we'll show you some of our favourite hashtag campaigns for a little bit of inspiration.

What Is A Hashtag Campaign?

A hashtag campaign is a type of social media campaign where brands create a unique hashtag and encourage users to engage in discussion and submit content using the hashtag on social media. Hashtag campaigns can be run across a wide array of online platforms, with Instagram and Twitter generally being the most effective.

With hashtag campaigns you can encourage users to:

Answer Questions And Share Entertaining Stories

An easy and engaging type of hashtag campaign you can run is one which asks users to give answers or share stories about a topic relevant to your brand products, or niche and share them with your hashtag.

Take a look at this campaign from Blue Apron. They used the #BlueApronWins hashtag to get people to share their Blue Apron success stories which generated friendly discussion about the brand, boosted exposure and helped form positive associations.

Campaigns like this are a great way to spread awareness, earn favourable perceptions and possibly even gain some viral traction.

Charmin were able to go viral with their #TweetFromTheSeat campaign which asked the Twitterverse to share their bathroom thoughts. The campaign boosted their profile and helped create a funny, friendly and welcoming brand identity.

Talk About Why They Love Your Products

Hashtag campaigns can also present you with a great opportunity to drive social testimonials and referrals. You can use a hashtag campaign to ask your audience what they love about your products, how they use them, and what their success stories are.

This is an outstanding way to generate positive word of mouth and promote your offerings to wider audience via the authentic and reliable posts your generate from loyal users.

A perfect example of this comes from Sephora who asked their fanbase to show off how their contouring skills and generated a heap of customer testimonials in the process.

Come Up With Fun Ideas

A fun and highly engaging type of hashtag campaign you can put together is one which tasks your audience with coming up with a fun new idea and sharing it on social media with your hashtag.

You can encourage users to share ideas for new products, creative ways to use to use your existing products, or anything else you think will engage your audience and help your brands promotional efforts.

Lay's do an excellent job of this with their incredibly engaging yearly Do Us a Flavor campaign which tasks users with sharing their own potato chip flavour ideas. This campaign generated an enormous amount of impressions and put Lay's in the forefront of their audience's minds.

Enter Contests

If you're running an online contest or sweepstakes then getting users to make a post or Tweet with a contest specific hashtag can be a great way to collect entries.

Plus, by having users publicly post their entries you will be able to broadcast your campaign to a wide audience which will help you increase participation and expose your brand to relevant new users.

Check out how Deliveroo collected contest entries AND got people talking about their brand with their series of #FridayNightDeliveroo giveaways:

Create and Share Images and Videos

The most powerful use of a hashtag campaign is to collect user-generated content in the form of image and video submissions from your fans.

You can ask users to share photos or videos of themselves enjoying your products or using them in unique and creative ways. This is a truly outstanding way to create meaningful engagement and tap into your user base to generate and share a treasure trove of high-quality material that will give your promotional efforts a serious boost.

This is a highly effective and incredibly popular tactic amongst e-commerce stores. Just take a look at Boohoo.com who use #BOOHOObabes to generate an ongoing stream of customer photos which get posted across social media and shared through their own channels (complete with helpful product information).

Why You Should Run A Hashtag Campaign

Now that we've gone over a few of the best types of hashtag campaigns you can run, we're going to take a closer look at exactly what makes them so powerful, and why getting your audience to engage with your brand and share content is so valuable to your promotional efforts.

Raise Awareness & Increase Visibility

When you post about your brand on social media, you'll primarily reach your existing audience, but if you can use a hashtag campaign to get users to post about your brand on your behalf you will be able to expose your brand to huge new relevant audiences that you may have otherwise struggled to connect with.

Lonely Planet have been able to this by asking loyal users to tag their Lonely Planet inspired travel photos with #MyLPGuide.

Campaigns like this help increase the visibility of your brand, help raise awareness and create brand recognition amongst users who may take an interest in what you do and take further action.

GoPro excels at using hashtag campaigns to boost product visibility by encouraging their customers to use a relevant hashtag when posting their GoPro photos and footage. This is the perfect strategy for GoPro as a lot of people will share their photos and videos on social media anyway. All GoPro needs to do is get them to use their hashtag with the incentive of prizes and features.

Get People Talking About Your Brand

Hashtag campaigns are a great way to kickstart fun and engaging conversations about your brand, your products, or anything else that's relevant to your niche. Creating conversations will help you cement your place in consumers' minds and help you drive further engagement and action down the line.

Spotify regularly runs hashtag campaigns where they ask their fans to share what they're listening to. This helps create a friendly dialogue about their service, gets people thinking about them, and encourages others to start listening.

Build Positive Associations

If you run a hashtag campaign designed to elicit positive stories about your brand or engaging photos of your products in action you be able to cultivate positive associations about your brand which endear you to new users and get your target market to view you in a good light.

User-generated content is a lot more authentic, and often much more engaging than traditional branded content. People are a lot more likely to give credence to positive messages about your brand which come from friends and other users than those which come directly from you, which makes it perfect for forging positive associations and building favourable perceptions about your brand.

Travel company Topdecker take full advantage of this by getting their customers to tag their travel photos with #topdecker. These posts get shared by travellers and Topdecker alike and help form a strong association between Topdecker and awesome travel adventures.

Share Promotional Material

As well as building favourable associations and getting people talking and thinking about your brand, using a hashtag campaign to encourage the creation of user-generated content is also a brilliant way to simply promote your offerings.

Getting people to produce and share photos of your product in use and why they love your brand is just like putting out your own branded promotional material on social media with the added bonus of extra authenticity and trustworthiness. Plus, it will be able to reach audiences you may have struggled to connect with without the help of social sharing.

Frank Body does this superbly by getting influencers and ordinary customers to sing praise for their products with #TheFrankEffect hashtag.

You can use hashtag campaigns to procure content that promotes your brand and products as a whole, or you can focus your campaign on a particular offering or component of your brand.

Foster Your Community

Hashtag campaigns aren't only an exceptional way to connect with new audiences, they're also fantastic for engaging with your existing audience, solidifying your customer relationships and cultivating a stronger sense of community around your brand.

This will help you keep your audience engaged and encourage brand loyalty which puts you in an enviable position going forward.

If you really want to use your hashtag campaign to strengthen your community you should try to respond to users who are getting involved. You can easily do this by searching through posts with your hashtag and liking them, or leaving a friendly comment. This is particularly important to do on high-value posts that you want seen by as many people as possible.

Expedia regularly uses the #ExpediaChat hashtag to engage their audience and build their community by asking and answering questions about travel tips, ideas, deals and more.

Create An Ongoing Marketing Campaign

If you run a particularly hashtag campaign which gains traction and takes off you can use it as a launching pad for an ongoing marketing campaign that can form a significant part of your brand identity and drive consistent engagement.

Lululemon encouraged their audience to share inspirational fitness photos with #TheSweatLife hashtag and it was such a massive success that it grew into a major component of their ongoing marketing efforts. Health and fitness are a big part of Lululemon's brand identity, and getting people to share branded fitness pics has greatly helped them raise awareness and solidify their position.

If you find that you're achieving great results with a hashtag it's worth making efforts to keep it going for as long as it's working.

Collect User-Generated Content

We've already mentioned the power of having your audience share authentic and exciting branded content on your behalf, but there's also enormous value in collecting this content for use in your own marketing efforts.

In fact, getting your hands on authentic and engaging promotional material to share through you own channels is probably the biggest advantage of running a hashtag campaign.

You'll be able to integrate authentic and engaging user content into your marketing efforts and spread a much more relatable and reliable brand message than you could if you relied exclusively on traditional marketing materials. Plus, you'll still be able to use your existing promotional reach which is likely to be a lot larger than that of the fans submitting content.

Contiki is a great example of a brand who understands the power of user-generated content, as most of the content they share through their social media channels is sourced from their customers. This allows them to put out a consistently engaging and relatable message that helps them connect with an audience and promote their offering.

All Of This For Free

There is clearly a whole lot of upside to running a hashtag campaign, and one of the best parts of them is that you can enjoy all of these benefits at a fraction of the contest of a traditional marketing campaign.

The only cost involved with running a hashtag campaign is the potential cost of a prize if you want to run a giveaway to encourage hashtag use. This is an enormous advantage which should put hashtag campaigns at the top of your list as you decide on what promotional steps you want to take next.

Creating A Hashtag

When you're ready to start putting a hashtag campaign into action, the first thing you'll need to do is create a unique and engaging hashtag for your campaign.

The hashtag you choose for your campaign will have a profound impact on it's overall success. Ideally you want to come up with something that people will easily understand, and grow to recognise and associate with your brand and campaign.

When you're coming up with your hashtag there are a few key considerations you need to consider:

Relevant To Your Campaign

You want to make sure that your hashtag is highly relevant to the specific campaign you're running. You want users who see your hashtag to have an instant understanding of what it means.

Just take Apple's #ShotoniPhone hashtag which instantly clues users into what the campaign is about, and how they can get involved.

Make Sure It's Branded

Your hashtag should also include some level of branding. This will allow you to be identifiable in the content you generate and use your campaign to boost awareness and recognition.

You can even keep things simple and get users to hashtag your brand name.

You can also boost awareness and recognition from your hashtag campaign by asking users to tag you in their posts.

Easy To Read

The easier to read your hashtag is, the more likely it is to catch on and gain traction. If people are struggling to even read your hashtag they're not overly likely to start contributing to it.

Try not to use more than 3-4 in a single hashtag, and make sure you capitalise the first letter of each word. This will significantly increase your readability.

Take a look at Corona's #ThisIsLiving hashtag. It's clear, it isn't too long, and it is appropriately capitalised. Look at how readable #ThisIsLiving is compared to #thisisliving.

Make It Catchy

There aren't any metrics you can use to quantify this, but it's incredibly important that your hashtag is appealing and memorable. Try saying your hashtag out loud a few times to get a feel for how well it flows.

Be Original

Always make sure the hashtag you choose for your campaign is unique and original. You don't want the hashtagged content you generate to be drowned out by a bunch of other posts with no relevance to your brand or audience.

When you come up with a hashtag you may want to use make sure you do a quick search for it on all the major social media channels to check for noise.

Double Check For Disasters

As well as ensuring that your hashtag is original, you also need to check to make sure you aren't going to stumble into any other PR disasters. You need to make sure you aren't accidentally saying something offensive, off-putting, or completely misleading when read in a certain way.

Don't make the same mistake as Susan Boyle's PR team who tried to promote her album launch party with the unfortunately worded #susanalbumparty

Some of the damage could have been mitigated with proper capitalisation, but the disaster could have been averted entirely with a little more thought.

Use Mentions

If you're running a hashtag campaign on Instagram then it's often a good move to encourage users to tag you in their posts as well as using your hashtag.

Instagram now allows businesses to easily access @mentions, so you can now use mentions to track and collect content submissions.

This is an especially good idea if you're running a hashtag contest, as you can provide entrants with clear instructions on how to enter.

This can be a good approach to take, as you will be able to open up a more direct line of communication with your fans, and you will be able to directly expose your brand to everyone who sees the photos your fans upload.

This is a perfect for boosting exposure and strengthening your online presence.

Driving Audience Participation

Once you've come up with your hashtag it's time to start spreading the word and encouraging users to get involved with the campaign.

The beauty of a hashtag campaign is that once you get the ball rolling it will do a pretty great job of promoting itself, as everyone who uses your hashtag will expose it to their own social circles leading to a cycle of adoption and exposure.

The challenge of a hashtag campaign lies in finding your early adopters and getting people to start using your hashtag in the first place. Here are some of the most effective ways you can start driving participation in your hashtag campaign:

Ask For It

It may sound overly simple, but one of the most effective tactics for getting your audience to adopt your hashtag is simply giving them a prompt and asking them to use it. This is especially true for larger or more established brands who have already cultivated a fairly engaged audience.

If your hashtag campaign involves something fairly easy like sharing a story or answering a question on Twitter you shouldn't need to do anything more than ask. If you want your audience to produce something a little more high-value for your hashtag campaign like tailored Instagram posts, it might help to offer some sort of incentivise for doing so.

Offering the best submissions the chance to get featured in your social feed or on your website will often be enough incentive for a lot of users.

If your hashtag campaign is asking for photo submissions you should post about it about it on a regular basis and always lead by example. Try posting your own photos and any early submissions you receive with the hashtag. This will help get people in the spirit of your campaign and give your audience some inspiration.

If you're running a hashtag campaign on Instagram it's worth mentioning your hashtag in your bio. People who visit your profile have already shown clear interest in your brand, so instantly cluing them into your campaign is a great way to drive participation from highly relevant users.

Run A Giveaway

As easy and effective as it can be to just ask your audience to get involved with you hahstag, if you really want to maximise participation and drive engagement then you may want to consider running a contest where users can post content on social media channel for the chance to win a prize.

Starbucks were able to drive massive hashtag adoption and content creation with their #RedCupContest which tasked users with submitting artistic cup drawings for a change win valuable cash prizes.

Running a user-generated content contest is a particularly good idea if you're trying to drive high-value content submissions.

You can easily run a giveaway on Instagram, Twitter or even Facebook by making a post announcing your campaign, laying out the submission requirements, and highlighting your prize as incentive.

There's no doubt that running a giveaway is a powerful way to jumpstart your hashtag and drive a whole lot of user engagement, but running one manually can pose some challenges.

Firstly, you'll have to manually validate entries and draw winners yourself which can be quite an effort. Secondly, if you want to hang on to user submissions and use them in your own marketing efforts this can be quite a challenge. That's why we recommend using a 3rd party app such as Gleam to run your giveaway.

Run Your Hashtag Campaign With Gleam

When you run a hashtag campaign giveaway with Gleam you won't have to worry about monitoring entries or drawing winners, and we'll collect every submission for you with our powerful Import actions.

When you import hashtagged Instagram images into your campaign it's important to note that Instagram will only allow you to pull in hashtagged images from the last 24 hours and your top hahstags. You can continue to import submissions as your campaign continues.

The best part about using these import actions is you can still..

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As they grow from their early stages into maturity, every business will face it's own unique set of challenges, obstacles and opportunities. The industry you operate in, the offering you sell and the customers you serve will all shape the distinctive journey your business will take, but there is one constant that holds true for every business:

The need to consistently find and connect with potential new customers.

It doesn't matter what you're selling or how good it is. If people don't know about your offering, they won't buy it. This is why it's so important to connect with your target market and convert them into users who are aware of your offering and interested in purchasing it.

This is a process known as lead generation.

What Is A Lead?

In this post we're going to take you through all the best ways you can generate leads and set yourself up to drive sales, but first we're going to take a look at exactly what a lead is.

A lead is essentially any user who has displayed interest in your product or service, and lead generation is simply the process of initiating customer interest in your offering and opening communication with them.

Leads can be captured by getting users to perform an action which signifies their interest in your offering. This typically involves you collecting information from a lead such as their name and email address.

Generating and capturing leads allows you to open communication with potential customers, kick-start customer journeys and put yourself in a perfect position to drive acquisition from users who have already expressed clear interest in your offering.

When it comes to lead generation there are two distinct types of leads you can go after, and two approaches to generating them:

Outbound Leads

Outbound leads are users with an interest in your offering which you find by reaching out to them yourself. Outbound leads most likely won't know you before you reach out to them, and the marketing material you use to connect with them will be the first interaction they have with your brand.

There's a lot of debate surrounding what qualifies as outbound marketing, but following the idea that it's any marketing activity where you are reaching out and initiating contact you can consider outbound lead generation to include tactics such as paid ads, cold emails, and certain social media campaigns designed to initiate content.

Inbound Leads

Inbound leads are the users who come to you. These users will discover you and the content you put out through search engines, social media and other online platforms.

You can drive inbound leads by engaging in inbound marketing activities such as creating engaging and valuable content, optimising your website for lead generation, engaging in SEO activities, and doing whatever else you can to help users find you and form an interest in your offering.

Thanks in large part to the interconnectedness and complexity of our online landscape the line between outbound and inbound marketing is often blurred.

Optimising your content for Google searches is clearly inbound marketing, but how about targeted Google Ads?

Do you consider social media inbound or outbound marketing? A compelling case can be made either way.

Unfortunately there isn't any definitive answer to these questions, but the good news is that it doesn't really matter.

If you want to put together a comprehensive and effective lead generation strategy then you will need to strike a balance between the two approach and employ a range of inbound and outbound marketing strategies.

Keep reading to find out all our best tips and strategies for generating leads which will help you build awareness, drive sales, and grow your business.

Use Your Onsite Content To Generate Leads

The best approach you can take to generating leads is implementing a variety of strategies to drive traffic to your landing page, and then using your onsite content, as well as some special offers to encourage users to sign up with their email address.

If your website is properly optimised to convert visitors into leads then you will be able to devote a lot of your efforts to finding relevant users and sending them to your website with the confidence that you can convert them to leads once they arrive.

Here are our favourite tactics for using your website to generate leads:

Make An Awesome Landing Page

When users land on your website you want them to be instantly engaged, compelled by your offering, and ready to sign up and become a lead.

The best way to do this is with a well-executed and exciting landing page that grabs users' attention, highlights the value of your offering, builds product-interest and ultimately encourages them to sign up.

A great example of a landing page comes from Squarespace who put together a visually engaging landing page designed to drive free sign-ups. Plus, when you scroll down you can see all their features with clear CTAs every step of the way.

In order to build an effective landing page it's important that your page explains or, better yet, demonstrates what your offering is, what problem it solves, what its benefits are, and exactly why visitors should sign up. This can be anything from access to the latest news and special offerings, exclusive content, a discount, a free trial, entry into a contest, or any other valuable incentive you can offer.

When you're putting together your landing page there are a few key elements you should be sure to include. You want to make sure you have:

  • An eye-catching and exciting headline, supporting headline and value statement.
  • A unique selling proposition. Something that only you can offer.
  • Highlight the benefits of your offering.
  • Appealing images or videos with a focus on product usage.
  • Social proof or testimonials.
  • A clear and concise call to action.

Here's Slack's awesome landing page which manages to tick all the boxes:

If you're able to successfully execute your landing page you'll be able to boost product interest and generate leads with ease.

Pre-Launch Landing Pages

Building a landing page designed to generate interest in your product and drive signups is a particularly effective strategy for pre-launch businesses looking to build hype and cultivate an audience before they go live.

This is a brilliant way to ensure that when you do launch, you're launching to an excited audience that can't wait to get their hands on your product.

So if you haven't released your product yet, get out there and build hype on as many platforms as you can, and try funneling traffic back to an awesome landing page which you can use to capture your leads.

Check Out All The Best Pre-Launch Strategies

Take a look at our helpful guide where we break down all the best ways you can grow your business before you launch with Gleam.

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Build Contextual Landing Pages

Depending on exactly what it is you're offering, a single landing page might not cut it. If you offer several different products, or multiple product categories then it's in your best interest to create a unique landing page for each of these categories.

If you're an E-commerce retailer this can be a great way to drive sales leads.

Using contextual landing pages allows you to create highly targeted pitches that are far more likely to resonate with an audience seeking out a particular type of product than a coverall landing page that tries to squeeze the value and benefits of all of your products into a single page.

Upwork excels in this regard and have put together a number of landing pages covering every field they operate in.

As well as creating unique landing pages for all of your products, it can also be a good move to build targetted landing pages for different SEO keywords.

For example, if you're an SaaS with a product that can be used for multiple purposes or multiple industries you should try making a dedicated landing page for each of them.

This will allow you to not only reach a wider audience looking for specific solutions, but also give you the opportunity to put together tailored propositions for each of your consumer segments which can skyrocket your conversion rate.

If you offer a location-based service then you should take a similar approach and create landing pages for every location you service. This level of personalisation will help you connect with relevant audience and put forth personalised pitches that are great for generating leads.

Offer Free Trials & Discounts

A great way to kick your lead-generation into high gear is offering free trials or discounts on your products to users who sign up.

This is a truly outstanding way to not only generate leads, but also give yourself an incredible opportunity to convert these leads into customers by getting them to trial your offering or even make an instant purchase.

Autopilot does a great job of using free trials to generate leads, but that isn't all they rely on as their landing page is also filled with customer testimonials, product videos and more.

You can use free trials and discounts to drive lead generation by putting these offers front and centre on your landing page or by housing them in a stylish popup which you can easily make with products like Gleam's Capture app.

When it comes to generating leads it's clearly vital to show off what your product is, what value it provides and what problems it solves.

Find Out How to Make Your Own Discount Popups

Take a look at how you can use Capture to build your own discount popups and use them to generate leads and drive sales.

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There are a few other important features you should incorporate into your landing page which will help you endear yourself towards users, build product trust and familiarity, and ultimately drive users towards sign up.

Host Webinars

One of the best things you can do to build interest and connect with your audience is help them overcome a problem they face, teach them learn a new skill, or show them how your product can do that for them.

A great way to provide your target marketing with valuable knowledge, insights and skills is to host a webinar. The best course of action is to put together a webinar in your area of expertise. Focus on a topic that's relevant to your niche, incorporates your product, and is valuable for people to learn. You need people to want to join your webinar afterall.

Just remember to focus on providing real value rather than just plugging your product. This will make the whole thing seem incensere and lacking in value.

If you can successfully execute a webinar you will be able to connect with your market, position yourself as a trusted authority in your niche, explain and promote your product, generate leads, and kickstart customer relationships.

When you run a webinar it's important that you're maximising awareness and participation by getting out and promoting it. You can do this by announcing your webinar to website visitors with on-site notifications, spreading the word on social media, or incentivising signups with Rewards campaigns that offer discounts to users who sign up to your webinar.

You don't even have to put together a live webinar event for this to be an effective strategy. You can put together a pre-recorded automated webinar and provide access to anyone who signs up for it. This approach offers a more flexible apporach that will allow you to reach more people and get a lot more longterm value from your webinar.

The main downside of automated webinars are that they don't allow for two-way interaction which is great for answering questions and providing participants with a more personalised and valuable experience. You can partially overcome this by adding a live chat componant to your webinars but this will diminish the time-saving benefits of automated webinars.

Ultimately both live and automated webinars have their own pros and cons, it just comes down to what works best for you.

Showcase Customer Testimonials

Providing some sort of social proof of your products effectiveness and functionality is a truly outstanding way to promote your offering in a trustworthy and reliable way.

Praise from customers is always going to be more authentic and reliable than praise from yourself.

This makes showcasing referrals, testimonials and customer success stories a hugely valuable asset when it comes to generating leads.

You can include customer testimonials on your landing page, provide case studies that highlight customer success stories, or if you're in an appropriate industry, put together a stylish gallery of satisfied customers.

Learn More About Collecting User-Generated Content

Show Off Live Demos

If you want people to really take an interest in your product and consider purchase or adoption then it helps if you can show them your product in action. How you go about doing this largely depends on what your business is, but there's always a way.

If you're an SaaS then you should create high-quality live demos that show off the full capabilities of your product.

This is something we do on all of our product pages. We even annotate the demos to give users a clear understanding of exactly how our products function.

If you're selling a physical product you should put together a product video that explains what it is and why people need it.

If you're selling a more straightforward E-commerce product then it may be enough to display some high-quality photos of your product.

This can also present you with a perfect opportunity to display product photos from your community.

Learn More About Showcasing Your E-Commerce Community With Carousels

Engage Users With Live Chat & FAQ

Allowing users to live chat with your business from inside your website is a fantastic way to answer any questions and queries prospective leads may have and provide them with all the information they need to develop a serious interest in your offering and become a lead.

Often an unanswered question is all that stands between a undecided user and a sign up, and live chat is a great way to help you overcome this potential barrier.

Having an accessible and comprehensive FAQ can help you tackle the same challenge, but Live Chat has the added advantage of allowing you to directly engage with potential leads and cater to their specific situation and needs.

Use Opt-In Forms To Grow Your List

As powerful as landing pages can be, they aren't the only way you can generate leads inside your website. You can also use opt-in forms that display targeted messages and prompt visitors to sign up at the perfect time.

With Gleam's Capture app you can create a wide array of personalised opt-in forms that you can use to generate leads from anywhere on your website.

Plus, it's a whole lot easier than building a landing page from scratch.

Opt-in forms can be a particularly effective lead generation strategy for e-commerce retailers who are likely to forgo a sign up landing page in favour of driving traffic to their products and store.

You can use opt-in forms to drive sign-ups from an informative home page, specific product pages, blog posts or anywhere else. Let's take a look at some of the most effective ways you can use opt-in forms to generate leads:

Popup Opt-ins On Your Homepage

If you want to start capturing leads as soon as they visit your website then you should try displaying a popup opt-in form on your homepage which will grab users' attention and encourage them to sign up.

If users have already developed an interest in your brand then there's a good chance they'll sign up right away, but if you want to maximise lead generation then you may want to consider offering up some kind of incentive.

Give Out Discount Codes

Asking users to sign up to your mailing list is a particularly effective strategy when you're offering them some sort of incentive for doing so.

Incentivising sign-ups won't only help you generate more leads and open up direct communication with prospective customers, it will also enable you to drive more sales by providing users with rewards such as discounts, free trials, and samples which make purchase and product adoption much more likely.

This is a fantastic way for businesses to kick-start customer relationships and make it a lot easier to drive sales well into the future.

With Gleam's Capture app you can easily build stylish popup coupons which you can use to capture leads and instantly distribute discount codes.

Giving users a discount code from within your store is also an awesome way to drive some immediate sales.

Offer Gifts

Discounts aren't the only way you can incentivise sign-ups. You can also try giving leads free gifts which will give them a taste of your offering. This can be anything from a free trial to a sample product.

Free trials and samples is a great way to get leads to trial your product and see its value for themselves. This will make it a lot easier to convert your leads to customers when you do reach out to them.

The gift you use to incentivise sign-ups can even be something as simple as some insights and advice relevant to your product, or some exclusive content. This will give interested users a reason to sign up and allow you to reach out to them with some additional content that should guide them further along the path towards purchase.

Host A Sales Event

We've already gone over using discounts as an incentive to generate leads, but it's worth mentioning that this already powerful tactic can be made even more effective by offering these discounts as a part of a limited time offer or sales event.

The added urgency of these offers will make users far more likely to instantly sign up and claim their discount than they would if it was an anytime offer.

This can do wonders for your conversion rate.

If you really want to drive home the scarcity of your offer and maximise sign-ups you can use Gleam's Countdown Captures to give users a timer showing them exactly how long they have to signup and claim their reward.

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One of the most critically important components of running an e-commerce store is being able to convert the website visitors you attract into leads, or even better, customers.

There are lots of different approaches you can take to doing this, but none are as effective as triggering popups which offer instant discounts to anyone who joins your mailing list.

All users have to do is enter their email address and click a button. You get a fresh lead, they get an awesome discount. Simple as that.

This is as in incredibly effective strategy, as by incentivising sign-ups you will be able to generate leads and create a high-value mailing list which will help you promote your store and drive future conversions. Plus, by giving away discount codes which users can instantly access and copy you will put website visitors in a purchasing mindset and maximise your chances of driving immediate sales.

The promise of these valuable discounts can even help you drive traffic to your website in the first place when you announce and promote the offer through your social channels.

How to Create Your Own Discount Popup

Discount popups are the best way to generate leads and drive sales inside your e-commerce store, and with Gleam's Capture app you can easily create, customise and install your very own coupon popup in a matter of minutes.

With Capture, your discount popups will look great on any device and work perfectly with all the major e-commerce platforms including:

  • Shopify
  • Magento
  • BigCommerce
  • Squarespace
  • Prestashop
  • Jumpseller
  • Weebly
  • Any other e-commerce platform you use

We also integrate with 40 different email marketing platforms so you can use your discount popup to grow your list on Mailchimp, Autopilot, Drip, ConvertKit and heaps more.

Putting together your own powerful discount coupon is incredibly quick and easy with Capture. All you need to do is select our coupon template:

Then you can get to work customising and styling your popup. This includes customising your text, buttons, imagery, and background. You will also need to add your discount codes. You can choose to give out single code to everyone who signs up, or you can distribute a bunch of unique codes.

The type of discount code you give out is entirely up to you. You can offer codes for percentage discounts, dollar-off discounts, 2-for-1 deals, free shipping, or even free-trials and special gifts. Your e-commerce platform should have an easy way for you to create discount codes, all you need to do is add them to your popup.

Learn More About Creating and Giving Out Shopify Discount Codes

Once you're done designing your popup you can choose from our extensive range of behavioural rules that you can use to present your discount popup to the right people at the right time.

You can take a simple approach and display popup when users arrive at your homepage, or you can choose to trigger your popup when users visit particular pages, get referred to your site from certain sources, or even when they're about to leave your store. The possibilities are endless.

At this point all that will be left to do is add your and install the popup in your store.

We make installing your Capture popup incredibly easy for you. All you have to do is add one a single line of JavaScript into your website's template and you'll be able to manage everything through the Gleam dashboard.

Discount popups are truly one of the best tactics you can use to generate leads and drive e-commerce sales no matter what platfrom you operate on, whether it's Shopify, Magento, BigCommerce or anywhere else.

Learn More About Creating Discount Popups

Find out more about how you can create you own powerful discount popups with our helpful documentation, or get started right away!

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Types Of Discount Popups

Now that we've taken you through the basics of setting up your own e-commerce discount popup with Capture, we're going to show you the very best ways you can use discount popups to engage your audience, generate leads, and drive immediate sales.

Homepage Popups

Presenting users with a discount popup as soon as they land on your site is a great way to reach a wide audience, generate a lot of sign-ups and get users to consider purchase as soon as they arrive at your store.

This is a great approach to take for special sales events, or just to get your foot in the door with new customers.

You can easily trigger popups on your homepage with our Current URL rule.

Product Specific Discounts

If you just want to offer discounts on specific product or range you can easily do this by sharing the discount on your homepage and driving traffic to the product, or you can reach out to users who have already displayed interest in the product by using our Current URL rule to trigger your popup when users arrive on the relevant product page.

This is a brilliant way to connect with users who are considering buying your product and give them that little bit of extra incentive that they may need to make a purchase.

Welcome Offers

Offering exclusive discounts to users who have been referred to your store from a specific source is a fantastic way to build a sense of community around your social platforms. It's also perfect for converting your online audience into leads and customers by promoting the exclusive offers on social media.

Learn More About Creating Welcome Offers

Find out how you can make your very own welcome offer and start generating leads from Instagram and other social media platforms.

Learn More
Exit Intent Popups

Offering valuable discounts to users who are about to leave your store is a great way to grab the attention of exiting users and convert them into email contacts and hopefully even customers.

Exit-intent popups are perfect for re-engaging users and driving action from potential customers you would have otherwise lost.

Learn More About Exit Intent Opt-Ins

Find out what makes exit intent popups so awesome and how you can set up your own in minutes.

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Cart Abandonment Popups

Cart abandonment popups function in a similar way to exit-intent popups, except they target users who are about to abandon their shopping cart.

A price reduction is often all that stands between abandonment and purchase, and cart abandonment popups are the perfect way to make potential customers reconsider their decision and follow through with a purchase.

Recover Abandoned Shopping Carts With Capture

Learn how to build popups which will re-engage users and drive sales from customers who are abandoning their shopping carts.

Learn More
Post Checkout Discounts

Triggering a popup on your post-checkout page and offering discounts to customers who sign up to your mailing list is clever tactic for increasing customer retention, driving future purchases, and growing your mailing list.

Learn More About Using Post Checkout Coupons

Find out the most powerful ways you can use post checkout coupons to boost customer retention and drive other actions.

Learn More
Location Specific Discounts

With our geo-location rules you can create popup discounts that only display to users in certain countries, or within highly targetted geofences.

These types of popups can be great for hosting city-wide sales, or launching your business in a new country.

Countdown Timer Popups

If you want to add a sense of urgency to your discounted offers you should try putting together a countdown popup.

Countdown's are a great way to prompt users to take immediate action which will help you generate more leads, and drive more sales.

Learn More About Countdown Popups & Bars

Find out how you can build urgency and drive action by using Countdown Captures to offer limited time only discounts.

Learn More
Coupon Bars

If you want to take a more subtle approach to distributing discounts you should consider our Capture Bar template. You can use these bars to capture leads and offer discounts in a subtle an unobtrusive way which will drive action without distracting from the rest of your site.

Want To Create Your Own Coupon Bar?

Check out our in-depth guide and learn everything you need to know about using Capture Bars to distribute coupon codes.

Learn More

These approaches are all well-suited to different objectives and circumstances, but one key factor remains consistent across all e-commerce discount popups: They're easy to implement, incredibly effective, and perfect for boosting e-commerce engagement.

So if you want to take your e-commerce game to the next level then it's time to start creating your own powerful popups and offering discounts which will excite your e-commerce visitors, generate leads, and drive sales.

Create Your Own E-Commerce Discount Popups

Check out our helpful documentation for step by step instructions on setting up your own discount popups or get started right away!

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Want More Tips on Generating and Converting Leads?
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If you have an E-Commerce store or sell something online you'll be planning various sales, product launches & promotions throughout the year.

A very easy tactic that many stores use is to use a bar to let users know exactly how much time they have to order an item or redeem a specific promotion.

This leverages the psychology of urgency to provoke the user to take action in a subtle but not forceful way. You can run this type of promotion in specific sections of your site or across every page.

You can also interrupt your user with a popup that uses the same psychology. A popup can be jarring to the user, but it can also force them to make a quick decision on the spot (which can have positive or negative influences on your conversion rates).

Creating a Countdown Bar

Creating countdown bars and popups is incredibly easy with Gleam's Capture app. All you need to do is choose our Countdown template and select either the Popup or Bar layout and customise your countdown timer so it's look exactly how you want it to.

When you create a countdown bar you can completely customise everything including the text, fonts, colours, logos and of course, when you're counting down towards.

You'll also need to decide what happens when users engage with your countdown bar and click on your link. You can do this in the Post Capture tab of your Capture setup.

The best option is to simply redirect users to your sales page where they can follow through with the purchase (or other action) you're trying to drive.

Creating a Countdown Popup

Putting together a countdown popup with Capture is very similar to creating a countdown bar. You will need to customise your text, imagery, and timer. Only this time you'll have a different format to work within.

When you create a countdown popup you have two different options for what happens when users interact with your popup:

Click-Throughs

The first option is to simply capture clicks and redirect users to your sales page. You can do this by selecting Clicks under Capturing in the Layout tab of your Capture setup.

This is a great option for drawing attention to a limited time offer on your site.

Email Sign-Ups

The second option is to collect the names and email addresses of interested users who interact with your popup. All you need to do is select Email or Name + Email under Capturing in the Layout tab.

This is a highly effective approach to take, as it gives you the opportunity to use time sensitive offers and discounts to not only drive immediate action, but also generate leads which will give your future promotional efforts are major boost.

Once users sign up you can choose to:

  • Redirect sign-ups to exclusive sales pages (perfect for special discounts, limited edition products and pre-release tickets).
  • Give out discount codes using a thank-you message and direct users to you store to redeem their code and make a purchase.
  • Email users an exclusive discount code to redeem at your store (just make sure they know it's on its way).

No matter what approach you decide to take, countdown timers are always a fantastic way to build urgency and encourage immediate action anytime you run a sale or promotion on your website.

Start Building Urgency With Countdown Bars & Popups

Check out our helpful documentation for step by step instructions on setting up your own Countdown or get started right away!

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If you're active on social media, (which let's be real, you are) you know exactly what hashtags are. If you're in the minority who doesn't tag your own posts with hashtags, you've certainly used them to find relevant content or stumbled upon them countless times in your feed.

Hashtags are a mainstay on social media platforms like Twitter, Instagram, and to a lesser extend Facebook, having steadily risen in ubiquity since Chris Messina first pitched the idea in 2007.

While there was initial resistance to the idea, hashtags soon caught on.

In 2009 Twitter started allowing users to search for hashtags, in 2010 Instagram launched with hashtag functionality, in 2013 Facebook added hashtag search, and in 2014 "Hashtag" became an official Scrabble word.

Today hashtags are everywhere. They allow people to participate in global conversations, kickstart trends, rally communities, categorise content and drive mass engagement.

Hashtags play such an instrumental role in the social media landscape that it's imperative for brands, influencers and anyone else operating on social media in a professional capacity to know exactly how to use them.

Poorly implemented hashatgs can easily become spammy, irrelevant, and simply ineffective, but if you can master them and learn exactly what hashtags to use and when to use them they can be a powerful marketing tool that will take your social media game to the next level.

Why Hashtags Are Important

Okay, okay, so hashtags are an important marketing tool, but why?

What exactly is it about hashtags that make them so valuable to marketers, brands and influencers?

Well, there are few key benefits of hashtag use which we're going to take a look at:

Categorising Your Content

One of the core functionalities of social media hashtags is the ability to categorise your content and share it under a recognisable banner. This is advantageous for a few reasons.

Firstly, attaching a popular, familiar or recognisable hashtag to your posts will give context to your content and give your audience a greater understanding of your message.

A perfect example of this is #ThrowbackThursday. Anyone from brands to influencers to ordinary users can add #ThrowbackThursday, or even just #TBT, to an old photo and everyone will understand what they're posting, and why they're posting it.

Secondly, by attaching popular (and relevant) hashtags to your posts you will be able to anchor your content to a topic or conversation that users are actively seeking out and participating in. This will allow you to chime in on relevant discussions, draw attention to your social content and boost awareness and engagement.

For example, a lot of fashion influencers use hashtags like #ootd, #outfitinspo and #outfit ideas to grab the attention of users seeking out fashion advice. This is an awesome way to connect with a relevant audience, and even prompt further action such as follows and affiliate link click-throughs.

If you create your own branded hashtags you will be able to use them to create a sort of sub-brand within your social media profiles. You can used sub-branded hashtags to segment your content into particular categories relating to products, ideas, themes and more.

Extend Your Reach

One of the biggest upsides of using hashtags on social media is the abiltiy to gain exposure from new and relevant audiences who are actively seeking out or casually browsing the hashtag you use.

Social media users, particularly those on Twitter and Instagram, will often search for a specific hashtag they're interested in, or click and browse through one which catches their eye.

If you can identify the hashtags your target audience is likely to be browsing and cultivate a presence within those categories you will put yourself in an outstanding position to expose your content to a relevant audience, connect with them, and drive heightened brand awareness and interest.

Using hashtags to boost content discovery will lead to higher levels of engagement which will help the almighty algorithms look favourably upon your content, and in turn generate more awareness and engagement.

This means that as well as using hashtags, you also need to make sure that you're doing everything you can to make your posts as interesting, exciting and valuable as possible to maximise engagement and prompt further action.

Learn More About Posting Engaging Content On Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook

Drive Engagement & Boost Brand Recognition

As well as helping you getting your content in front of a bigger audience, hashtags can also play a role in actually increasing how much people engage with your posts.

Tweets with hashtags have been found to elicit double the engagement and get retweeted over 50% more than those without. Hashtagged posts on Instagram also enjoying a similar boost in activity.

But when it comes to hashtags, this is far from where the engagement ends.

Creating your own hashtags and running campaigns based around them presents you with a unique and powerful opportunity to engage your audience, drive user participation, and encourage the creation of all kinds of valuable social media content.

Plus, when you create your own branded hashtags and encourage your fans to share their own content under the hashtag you will be able to expose your branded hashtag to a wide, relevant audience which will help you boost awareness and increase brand recognition.

Jump Ahead To Learn More About Creating Your Own Hashtags

It's All So Easy

We've taken a look at what makes hashtags so valuable to your social media marketing efforts. They can help you drastically extend your reach and expose your content to wide new audiences, they can help you boost engagement in a number of ways, and they can give context to your posts and make them more accessible.

What we haven't mentioned yet is the icing on the cake, which almost seems too obvious to mention. Hashtags are completely free and incredibly easy to implement.

Once you've figured out which hashtags you want to use for your different posts or types of posts implementing them literally takes mere seconds.

Hashtags are so simple to implement you would be remiss not to use them at every opportunity.

Of course, this all comes down to knowing the right hashtag to use at the right time.

To help you maximise the effectiveness of your hashtag usage we're going to take you through all the best hashtags to use for every opportunity.

Evergreen Hashtags

There are some hashtags which have endured the test of time and passed into a plane of perpetual relevancy where they can be used to drive constant impressions and engagement.

These are the hashtags that have entered the communal lexicon of their platform, and are often used to signify a category of post or a common topic of conversation.

But remember, just because a hashtag is popular on one platform it doesn't mean it will be as sought-after on them all.

When you use popular hashtags you also need to ensure that they are relevant to the content you're sharing, and the audience you're targeting. If you attach a bunch of irrelevant hashtags to your posts you may be able to gain exposure, but you're unlikely to connect with the audience you reach and drive meaningful engagement.

Most Popular Hashtags On Instagram

Instagram is a visual platform which is perfect for sharing and discovering engaging visual content. The most common use of Instagram hashtags is to categorise images, provide context for them, and make them easily discoverable for people looking for that kind of content.

Here's a look at some of the most enduringly popular hashtags on Instagram:

  • #love
  • #life
  • #instagood
  • #photooftheday
  • #beautiful
  • #fashion
  • #happy
  • #followme
  • #like4like
  • #follow
  • #photography
  • #picoftheday
  • #selfie
  • #summer
  • #healthy
  • #fitness
  • #instadaily
  • #friends
  • #art
  • #fun
  • #travel
  • #style

If any of these popular hashtags are relevant to your brand or the content you post then they can be a great way to boost your reach and maximise engagement.

Most Popular Hashtags On Twitter

Twitter is the birthplace of the hashtag and to this day remains one of if not the best platform for using hashtags to boost engagement. Here are some of the most popular hashtags of Twitter:

  • #followback
  • #funny
  • #photography
  • #pets
  • #friends
  • #love
  • #photooftheday
  • #picoftheday
  • #style
  • #fashion
  • #food
  • #travel

Twitter hashtags are often used to facilitate conversations, contribute content to a designated topic, and help gain exposure from people with an interest in a particular topic.

Because of the way Twitter hashtags are so intrinsically linked with particular conversations the best hashtags to use often aren't those which are most popular across the entire platform, but those which are currently trending, or popular within your niche.

Contest & Giveaway Hashtags

If you're running a contest or giveaway then announcing, sharing and even running them directly on social media is a great way to ensure that they get noticed by a relevant crowd.

If you want to maximise the promotion of your campaign on social media then it can be a good idea to attach a few relevant hashtags to your posts.

Here are some of the best hashtags you can use to boost the reach of your campaign and increase participation:

  • #contest
  • #giveaway
  • #competition
  • #sweepstakes
  • #win
  • #prize

It's also a good idea to include any hashtags related to the prize you're giving away, as this will help you find highly relevant users who are clearly interested in whatever it is you're giving away.

When you use these types of hashtags it's important to note that you will catch the eye of some users who simply want to win a prize without actually having any real interest in whatever it is you do.

The best way to mitigate this potential pitfall is simply by choosing a good prize which is highly relevant to your target audience (your own products are generally the best bet). This will make entry primarily appeal to those likely to be interested in you, and allow you to enjoy the increased exposure that comes from the hashtags without worrying too much about irrelevant entrants.

Learn More About Choosing The Perfect Prize

Hashtag Competitions

Another outstanding way you can use hashtags to help you run a contest or giveaway is by creating your own branded hashtag and encouraging users to tweet the hashtag or attach it to an Instagram post for a chance to win.

You can setup a hashtag competition which is simple as asking fans to post a simple tweet with your hashtag:

Or something as high-value as using a competition to generate a ton of powerful user-generated content which will allow you to drive mass engagement and provide you with a bunch of authentic, engaging and valuable marketing material.

When you run a hashtag campaign with Gleam's Competitions app we will autmatically import and validate submissions for you with our powerful import actions.

You can even send your submissions directly into a stylish gallery which you can use to showcase your user-generated content.

Learn More About Running UGC Contests

Find out everything you need to know about using contests to collect and share user-generated content.

Learn More
Daily Hashtags

Over the years a number of great hashtags have emerged for every day of the week, and users across platforms get in on the fun by posting relevant content under these hashtags and checking out what others are sharing.

These hashtags are fantastic because in addition to helping you increase the reach and engagement of your posts, they can also give you some quality inspiration for the type of content you can create which people will respond well to.

Let's take a look at the best daily hashtags you can get involved with:

Monday
  • #MondayMotivation
  • #ManCrushMonday
  • #MondayBlues
  • #MondayMood
Tuesday
  • #TipTuesday
  • #TransformationTuesday
  • #TravelTuesday
  • #TrendyTuesday
Wednesday
  • #HumpDay
  • #WayBackWednesday
  • #WomanCrushWednesday
  • #wcw
  • #WellnessWednesday
  • #WorkoutWednesday
  • #WednesdayWisdom
Thursday
  • #ThrowbackThursday
  • #tbt
  • #ThankfulThursday
  • #ThursdayThoughts
Friday
  • #FollowFriday
  • #ff
  • #FlashbackFriday
  • #FridayFun
  • #FridayNight
  • #Friyay
  • #FridayVibes
  • #TGIF
Saturday
  • #SaturdaySwag
  • #WeekendVibes
  • #SaturdayStyle
  • #SalesSaturday
  • #Caturday
Sunday
  • #Weekend
  • #SundayFunday
  • #SundayReads
  • #SelfieSunday
  • #StartupSunday
Hashtags In Your Niche

Using broadly popular hashtags to get more eyes on your social media content is an effective strategy, but if you really want to make the most of your hashtags and use them to drive targeted awareness and engagement then you should be trying to find and use the hashtgas that are being used and searched for within your niche.

If there are particular hashtags that are highly relevant to your industry and popular amongst your target audience then you try to regularly use them.

Let's take a look at some of the best hashtags to use in some different niches:
Fashion

If you operate in the fashion space, whether as a seller or an influencer, there are ton of great hashtags you can use to put yourself in front of a relevant audience looking for high-quality fashion content.

Instagram still reigns supreme when it comes to fashionistas, but there's plenty of room for success on Twitter and Facebook as well.

Here are some of the best hashtags you can use:

  • #fashion
  • #OOTD (or #OutfitOfTheDay)
  • #FashionDiaries
  • #FashionBlogger
  • #style
  • #StreetStyle
  • #OutfitIdeas
  • #OutfitInspo
  • #StyleInspo
  • #look
  • #LookOfTheDay
  • #LookBook
  • #MensFashion
  • #WomensFashion
  • #InstaFashion

It's also a good idea to include any specific hashtags which relate to the items you're posting about. This can include your own branded hashtag, the hashtags associated with the brand you're wearing if you're a fashion influencer, or even just a generic hashtag associated with an item of clothing.

This can include things like #boots, #dresses, #jumpsuit and any other relevant tage which can help get you in front of users looking for a particular item of clothing.

Beauty

Beauty brands and influencers can also get a lot of value out of hashtags, particularly on Instagram.

Here are the best hashtags you can use to help your social posts gain traction and connect with a relevant audience:

  • #beauty
  • #instabeauty
  • #beautyblogger
  • #makeup
  • #makeupartist
  • #makeuptutorial
  • #makeupideas
  • #model
  • #wakeupandmakeup
  • #skincare
  • #nofilter

As well as using more general hashtags, it's also a smart move to use any brand specific hashtags that are relevant to your content.

Travel

Travel related content performs exceptionally well on social media, and using the right hashtags can help you attract more attention and drive more engagement for your posts.

These hashtags are great for anyone posting travel content, whether you're a travel company, a blogger, or an e-commerce retailer who sells products that are perfect for traveling:

  • #travel
  • #traveling
  • #travelphotography
  • #travelblogger
  • #travelgram
  • #wanderlust
  • #travelmore
  • #goexplore
  • #roamtheplanet
  • #solotravel
  • #nomads

As well as using these more general hashtags, it's also worth using hashtags to tag any locations or landmarks you're posting from or about. This can be something as broad as #europe or specific as #phuket.

Health & Fitness

Personal trainers, lifestyle influencers, and activewear sellers alike can all use hashtags to get more eyes on their posts and help find potential followers and customers.

Here are our favourite hashtags in the health and fitness space:

  • #fitspo
  • #fitfam
  • #workout
  • #gymlife
  • #yoga
  • #health
  • #fitfood
  • #gethealthy
  • #getfit
Food & Hospitality

If you operate in hospitality, sell food, or are food related blogger then there's a good chance you're serving up a lot of mouth-watering photos on social media.

To help these posts land on the right plate and help you build your brand you should try using some of these hashtags:

  • #foodporn
  • #foodphotography
  • #foodgasm
  • #feedyoursoul
  • #eeeeeats
  • #foodie
  • #forkyeah
  • #cleaneating
  • #yum or #yummy

Just about every type of food you can think of also has it's own hashtag (or many), so always remember to tag the specific type of meal you're putting on display.

Streamers

Twitter is a great place for streamers to interact with their fans, grow their audience and promote their content. Using the right hashtags can make it a lot easier to connect with an audience seeking out the type of content you produce. Try using:

  • #twitch
  • #stream
  • #streaming
  • #twitchstream
  • #live
  • #twitchtv
  • #TwitchFam
  • #SupportSmallStreamers
  • #gaming
  • #gamer

As well as trying out some of these hashtags, it's always a good move to include any game-specific hashtags that are relevant to your stream.

This could be #Fortnite, #ApexLegends, or #RDR2. You can even throw in some console specific hashtags for good measure.

B2B

If you operate in B2B and are trying to generate some leads on social media then using the right hashtags can help you boost visibility and get your brand in front of the right person.

Here are some good hashtags you can try..

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