Tutorial: How to create a Hashtag Contest

If you want to run a contest which combines Tweets, photos, and videos, then the Hashtag Contest app is the tool you need. You can import all competition entries that contain a predefined hashtag from Twitter and Instagram. In addition, you can:

  • Collect usernames of all the participants who use the hashtag.
  • Run one or more sweepstakes among participants.
  • Displaying Tweet, photo and video competition entries in a public gallery. You can embed the gallery as an app on your Facebook Page, webpage or blog.

Follow this tutorial to learn how to set up and run a Hashtag Contest, with all its features.

 

Step 1. Create the promotion

1. Access the Easypromos Control Panel and log in with your email address and password to manage and create your promotions.

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2. Create a new promotion by clicking the green button.

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3. You will be shown a list of the different products available. Choose Hashtag Contest to create a promotion which can import Tweets, photos and videos from your chosen hashtag.hashtags_1.jpg

4. Choose which platform version you want to use: Premium or White Label.

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5. Your promotion has been created! In the background, you can see the promotion management page. A pop-up window will ask for some extra information in order to help with pre-settings. If you're not interested, you can skip this step.

 6. Now you're on the promotion management page, where you'll find all the promotion settings. Below, we outline the most important sections:

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  1.  Header. This displays the title of the promotion, the version (Premium or White Label), and other relevant information, such as the promotion ID number. The promotion status indicates whether the promotion is Draft, Active or Expired, as well as if it’s about to start. Once the promotion period has ended, this field will be marked in red saying: Status: Expired. You can choose what to show on an expired promotion page
  2. Link to the promotion. Use this URL whenever you share the promotion. Learn more about sharing here. The copy link button automatically copies the link to make sharing even easier.
  3. Activate Promotion. When the promotion is ready to launch, click this button to activate it. You'll be taken to the activation page, where you can review billing information and make payments.
  4. Side menu. All your promotion settings in one place.
  5. View tutorial. This tutorial guides you step by step through the creation and management of your promotion.
  6. Promotion dates controls the phases and timezone of the promotion.
    Languages indicates the default language of the promotion. You can edit this if you wish.
    Localization limits participation to one or several countries. Learn more about country restrictions here.
  7. Next steps: Practical recommendations to guide you in the creation and management of your campaign.
Top tip: the promotion ID number (#) is a unique identifier for each promotion. Quote this number if you have to contact the Easypromos support team with any issues. This will make it easier for us to review your settings and help you out.

Step 2. Enable Twitter and/or Instagram integration

The platform comes with lots of pre-set features, based on which version you have chosen. Check through all the options to customize these features for your promotion objectives.

Go to Integrations in the left-hand menu to activate Twitter and Instagram integration. Integration works separately with each network, so you can decide which platform to import content from:

  • Twitter only,
  • Instagram only,
  • or both.

In addition, you can set up a different hashtag for each platform. The application will still gather content from both hashtags into a single database. But by checking the hashtag on each entry, you’ll be able to see which social network it comes from.

Read our tips on how to create a viral contest hashtag.

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Here you’ll find all the platforms with which you can integrate the application.

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A) Twitter integration

All users with an active Twitter account and public profile can participate. Click on the “Twitter” section to open the Settings Panel. Next, click “Enable” to activate integration and view your options.

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Select your preferred options:

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1. Hashtag(s). Add the hashtag that Twitter followers will use to submit their photos, videos and comments. You can list a maximum of 3 hashtags. The system will import any Tweet that includes at least 1 of your chosen hashtags.

Using multiple hashtags can insure you against spelling variations, mistakes and typos. Some examples are: #ContestDesign and #ContestDesing or #GrammyContest and #GrammmyContest. You can not require users to use two hashtags to enter. However, you can use keywords, which we explain in more detail below.

Important: When you add hashtags to the list, don’t include the # symbol or any blank spaces.

2. Type of content to import. Choose the type of tweet you wish to import:

  • All types: the application will read and import all tweets, irrespective of whether they have photos and videos attached.
  • Images only: the application will only read and import tweets that contain images.
  • Videos only: the application will only read and import tweets that contain videos.
  • Images + videos: the application will read and import all tweets that contain images and videos.

Learn how to set up the app for different types of content.

3. Excluded users. Name any Twitter users whose content you don’t want to import. For example, it’s a good idea to add the name of the Twitter user who is organizing the contest. If there are any users making inappropriate use of the hashtag, you can keep them out of the competition by adding them to the list.

4. Only one entry per user. Check this option if you want to limit Twitter users to a single competition entry.

Note: It's not possible to import more than one photo or video from the same tweet. If you want users to post multiple photos or videos, each entry should be posted separately in independent tweets, and you should uncheck the box "only one entry per user".

5. Exclude retweets. Check this option if you don’t want to publish retweeted images in the competition gallery. This means that only original tweets will be published. Users will be prevented from repeating competition entries.

6. Advanced filter by Keywords. You can require users to include at least one keyword in order for their tweet to be valid. Keywords act as an additional filter, after hashtags. Leave the field empty unless you need extra filters.

You can insert any word as a keyword, including @mentions and #hashtags. This enables you to create contests where users post tweets with a #hashtag and @mention of your brand, or more than one hashtag. You can also filter participants from the management page, according to the keywords they use. Learn how.

Important: If you set up several keywords, users will only need to use one of them in order for their tweets to be imported.

7. Enable reply message. Check this option if you would like to create an automatic response to participants on Twitter. You will need to:

  • Connect your Twitter account. This is the account from which the auto-response text will be sent.
  • Write the message after “@username”: the tool will automatically substitute "@username" with each individual's Twitter handle.

B) Instagram Integration

All users with an active Instagram account can participate by posting a photo or video from their public profile. Click on “Instagram” to open the Settings Panel. Next, click “Connect” to activate integration and view your options.

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If this is the first time that you've connected your Instagram account to Easypromos, it will ask for permission to access your Instagram information:

 

Once you accept, the platform will connect to your Instagram account:

Your Instagram integration settings will be displayed. Choose the options that suit you:

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1. Hashtag(s). Add the hashtag that Instagram followers will use to submit photos, videos or comments to the competition. You can list a maximum of 3 hashtags. If you list multiple hashtags, the system will import any post or comment that contains at least one of them. 

Use several hashtags as insurance against spelling variations, mistakes, and typos. Some examples are #ContestDesign and #ContestDesing, or #GrammyContest and #GrammmyContest.

You can not require users to use multiple hashtags to enter. If you want to use multiple, compulsory hashtags, then use the Keywords field. We explain this in more detail below.

Important: When you add hashtags to the list, don't include the # symbol or any blank spaces.

2. Advanced filter by Keywords. You can require users to include at least one keyword in their post, as well as a hashtag. Keywords act as an additional filter. Leave this field empty if you don’t need additional filters.

You can insert any word as a keyword, including @mentions and extra #hashtags. This enables you to create contests where users include a #hashtag and a @mention of your brand, or multiple #hashtags. You can also filter participants from the promotion management page, based on which keywords they use. Learn how.

Important: If you set up multiple keywords, users will only need to use one of them in order for their post to be imported.

3. Type of content to import. Choose the type of post you wish to import:

  • All Types: the application will read and import both photos and videos from Instagram.
  • Only Photos: the application will only read and import photos.
  • Only Videos: the application will only read and import videos.

Learn how to set up the app for different types of content.

4. Excluded users. Name any Instagram users whose content you don’t want to import. For example, it’s a good idea to add the name of the Instagram user who is organizing the contest. If someone is using the hashtag inappropriately, you can exclude their posts from the contest by adding them to this list.

5. Only one entry per user. Check this option if you want Instagram users to have a single competition entry only.

Note: It's not possible to import more than one photo or video from the same post. If you allow more than one entry per user, each photo or video should be posted separately in independent posts.

It is not possible to enable an automatic reply message for Instagram participants, but you can contact them with a comment on their posts. Learn more about Instagram’s policy on comments and how you can contact participants on Instagram.

Important note: Posts where the hashtag is added after publishing will not be imported. Encourage participants to create and publish new photos and videos, instead of editing or reusing old ones.

If you’re not interested in presenting competition entries in a public gallery, then go directly to Step 7 of this tutorial.

 

Step 3. Set up the gallery (optional)

If you want to display competition entries in a public, shareable gallery, then follow these steps:

1. Enter the promotion “Editor”.

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2. Format text and images for each page of the promotion:


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A) Welcome

  • Change the provisional title for one that highlights the best of your promotion. Make it sound as attractive as possible to users!
  • Format the text and upload an image to make the page more dynamic.
  • Change the provisional description to explain exactly how users can take part. You can also customize the ‘Enter’ and ‘View entries’ buttons.

Note: If you want to enable participation via Facebook or microsite, go to Pages > Form. Then, in the "Form fields" tab, review the data that you want to request from users who register for the promotion.

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B) Entry form.

By default, the gallery will display tweets and Instagram posts with images and text. You can edit the gallery display on the Entry form page.

  • If your contest is only for tweets without images, delete the "Media field".
  • If your contest is only on Instagram, and you are not interested in including text in the gallery, delete the "comments field".
  • If you want to include videos in the gallery, you must modify the "Media field" by clicking on the "Media type" option.
  • If you only want to import tweets and posts which include videos, you must modify the "Media field" by clicking on the "Media type" option.

Attention! Make sure your settings on this page match your settings in Integrations > Twitter and Integrations > Instagram.

C) Set up the "Gallery" page

Competition entries are displayed on this public gallery page. Make sure you check through the following tabs:

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1. Contents: Upload a header image to give the gallery a more sophisticated design. You can also add an introductory message, to welcome viewers to the gallery.

2. Layout: In a Hashtags Contest, the gallery has a "mosaic" layout by default. Multiple photos are shown on each line, creating a visually attractive collage.

You can edit the following settings:

You can also activate the promotion footer and customize its texts. The promotion footer is a banner displayed at the bottom of each promotion page, which can include links to your social networks and legal material. 

Step 4. Customize the design (optional)

You can completely customize the look and feel of your promotion to match your brand, product, or promotional theme.

  • Colors: Change the colors of the texts and the action elements (such as buttons) in the promotion.
  • Typographies: Select the font used for texts and action elements.
  • Buttons: Set the style of the promotion buttons to outlined or solid.
  • Container: Completely customize the container by setting the style, opacity, height or position.
  • Background: Customize the background of the promotion with your own image or choice of colour. The background will be the same for each page of the promotion.
  • CSS Styles (White Label only): Use your own CSS to completely customize the template.

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Click here to discover all the potential of the Design module.

 

Step 5. Customize viral content (optional)

If you want people to visit your gallery or vote on entries, it’s very important to create effective viral content. Viral content is the message displayed when participants share the promotion, and invite friends to view or vote in the gallery. A motivating message and images will encourage users to share and take part!

To customize the viral content of the promotion, go to Editor > General > Share:

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A) Generic.

Set up the generic content of the promotion here:

  • Viral image: This image will accompany the share text. To optimize for social networks, we recommend dimensions of 1200px by 630px. The same image will be shared on Facebook, Pinterest and Google+. If you don’t upload a specific image for this section, the main promotion image will be displayed whenever participants share.
  • Generic content: This text will be shared on social networks when participants use the share buttons on the main page, the registration form or the gallery header. Learn how to edit generic content.

B) Participation.

This message will be shared when participants use the share buttons on the Thank you page.
  

Step 6. Activate voting in the gallery

Increase engagement by asking users to vote for their favorite entries. Start by updating the gallery settings in Editor > Pages > Gallery > Votes.

By default, Hashtag Contests have the voting system disabled. Use this page to enable it, and configure how you want the voting to work:

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Learn more about how the voting system works.

 

Step 7. Insert legal texts

In this section, you can upload legal texts for the promotion. You must always include terms and conditions to explain a promotion, contest or sweepstakes. In addition, you can upload a privacy policy and cookie policy to explain how you will use participants' data.

To add the terms and conditions, go to Editor > General > Legal content, where you will find the following sections:

  • Terms and Conditions
  • Privacy Policy
  • Cookies Policy

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Note: Learn how to set up consent to the legal texts of the promotion

 

Step 8. Configure My Networks and the promotion footer

Use My Networks to customize the page which users see, just before they finalize registration. You can encourage them to Like your Facebook page, for example. My Networks can be set up for Facebook pages, as well as Twitter, Instagram and Youtube accounts. Learn how to do this here.

To customize My Networks, go to Editor > General > My Networks:

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The promotion footer is a banner, presented at the foot of each page of the promotion. You can also customize it, or deactivate it if it doesn’t interest you.

To enable the promotion footer, go to Editor > General > Footer where you'll see the following options:

  • "Created by" field which will allow you to customize the name of the brand or company organizing the promotion.
  • Decide what elements you want to show in the promotion foot.

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Step 9. Set entry restrictions

You can restrict access to the promotion for certain users. Specifically, the platform offers 2 forms of restriction:

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Step 10. Publish the winners page (optional)

Before or during the promotion, you can choose to display the prizes available on a public page. The same page will show the winners of each prize, once there are winners. You can choose whether to publish the prizes page from the beginning, or wait until the winners have been selected. To customize and publish the winners page, go to Editor > Pages > Winners.

Check out the Prize Management tutorial to learn more about your options regarding prizes.

 

Step 11. Activate the promotion

Once you’ve set up the promotion to suit your campaign goals, go to the Promotion Management Page to activate the contest. You can also view billing information and make payments from this page.

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The application will immediately start to import all posts with relevant hashtags that were published after the “Registration start date.”

 

Step 12. Publish the hashtag gallery (optional)

The next step is to publish the hashtag gallery. If you do not want to display competition entries publicly, you can skip this part of the tutorial.

To share the gallery of entries, follow these steps:

1. Embed the gallery in a webpage

Use the Easypromos Widgets feature to embed the hashtag gallery directly into your webpage, microsite or blog. The Widget provides a variety of customization options. For example, you can set up the width and height of the gallery in order to adapt it perfectly to your website's design.

View this example of a gallery displaying photos, texts and videos with the hashtag #lovetravel.

2. Display the gallery as a Facebook application

By default, the gallery is published in a tab that you can install on your Facebook Page. Use the tab to make your gallery more visible on Facebook and raise the profile of your promotion.

3. Share a direct link to the gallery

You can use the hashtag gallery's unique URL to share it via any communication channel. This includes social media, email newsletters, blogposts and more. Find this URL in the “Links to the promotion” section, explained here.

Note: Click here to learn how to set up the Full Screen Gallery.

 

Step 13. Share the promotion

It’s important to share the promotion as widely as possible. Always use the main link to the promotion, as it’s uniquely compatible with all devices.


You can share the promotion via the following methods:

  • With the direct link to the promotion.
  • With the ‘share’ button on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
  • Use Facebook Ads to give more visibility to the promotion. One of the most effective ways to improve the visibility of the promotion is through the Facebook advertising service, which will allow you to create an advertisement to promote the contest and generate traffic to the promotion. To do this, you must access the Facebook advertisers page and create an advertisement to promote the contest. This tutorial will guide you step by step if it is the first time you create an ad with Facebook Ads. If you have never done an add on Facebook or are looking for a simpler way, take advantage of Easypromos' "Ads Campaign" functionality. You can promote your sweepstakes or contest on Facebook and Instagram, according to your target audience and with just three clicks. Test it! (only available for promotions created with the Premium and White Label versions).
  • Featuring your promotion. This option adds your campaign to the list of Easypromos highlighted promotions. Featuring a campaign has an additional cost, calculated per day of the campaign. If you’d like to Feature a campaign, consult this tutorial.


We also recommend these articles:

 

Step 14. Manage the active promotion

While the promotion is active, you can monitor and manage entries from the promotion management page. Click on "Participants" in the left-hand menu. You can also access the list of entries from "Statistics", in the same menu:

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Note: Instagram and Twitter photos and videos are not hosted on Easypromos, therefore they are not included in the ZIP file that you can download. Only images and videos uploaded directly from the registration form can be downloaded. Information about participants will be available even when the promotion has finished.

 

Step 15. View promotion statistics

Go to “Statistics”, in the left-hand menu on the promotion management page. From here, you can view participants and how they interact with the promotion. Remember that users who participate from social networks via hashtag don't have to register on the promotion microsite, so we won’t have any data on them.

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This information will be available even after the promotion has finished. Learn more about the information you can access in this section.

 

Step 16. Manage prizes and publish the winners

When the participation period of the promotion ends, use the prize management system  to create prizes and decide how they will be awarded. You can award prizes randomly or manually.

  • Randomly: You can run one or more sweepstakes among all participants, or a segment of participants. You'll receive a certificate of validity with the results.
  • Manually: You can assign one or more prizes manually to participants. This is useful for contests with voting or skills tests. We also recommend this option when the winners are selected by a jury, notary public, or the organizing brand.

Learn how to create prizes and select winners with the Prize Management tutorial.

Start the winner selection process from the “Winners” menu:

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Step 17. Finishing up the promotion

The end of a promotion is controlled by the dates set up in the promotion Editor. When the "End of publication date" is passed, the promotion status changes from active to expired. By default, the promotion is unpublished and is no longer visible. If users try to access the promotion URL, a screen with the message "promotion expired" is displayed.

You can choose to edit the content of this "promotion expired" screen. You could republish the promotion so that it is visible again, show the winners of the promotion, or keep the contest gallery visible.

Learn more about your options for expired promotions.

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