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How to Run a Pinterest Contest

Gleam is a low cost, impact platform that can help you get the most value out of your ongoing Pinterest contests.

Often neglected behind Facebook, Twitter & Instagram, Pinterest is actually fantastic at eliciting engagement due to the nature of its high-sharing, user-submission platform. 80% of pins on its network are repins!

Why Run a Pinterest Contest

Target Audience: Female

80% of Pinterest users are female! This makes it a rather unique social network, and particularly attractive if you're trying to get a female audience on-board your brand. Top interests groups include fashion, home design and crafts.

Highly Active User Base

Being a creative curation site at its core - Pinterest is built around creating and sharing. Users share ideas for events, recipes, costumes and other creative projects; many use the platform as an ideaboard or planning tool. With its highly engaged user base, some consider it comparitively easy to run contests on Pinterest, especially user-generated contests.

Increase Brand Awareness

Pinterest contests are a great way of introducing new consumers to your brand for the first time.

Pinterest is an aspirational, lifestyle platform, making a great place to gain brand awareness. Even if the contest itself does not feature your product directly, it will still provide your brand with context. Pinterest contests encourage users a reason to interact with your brand, and think of you in the future.

Promote An Event or New Product Launch

Contests can be a cost effective way to amplify your promotional reach on Pinterest. It can be used to achieve multiple marketing objectives like promoting a sale.

First, Some Rules

To stay compliant, follow Pinterest contest rules.

pinterest contest rules

What Type of Pinterest Contest to Run

The type of contest that you run on Pinterest should be determined by your overall objectives. Are you trying to build your user-base, sell to your user-base, promote a specific product or event?

Frictionless Pinterest Contest

The first type of contest that is common on Pinterest is what we like to call frictionless. These types of contest are easier for the contestant to enter because they never have to leave Pinterest, or hand over any additional personal information.

The downside of frictionless contests is the lack of identifiable or marketable information about your entrants - Pinterest does not give you email addresses. Therefore, these contests are best for short, engaging campaigns, rather than for driving revenue or sales.

Pin To Win

"Pin To Win" is the simplest type of Pinterest contest to run. They require users to pin one image using a competition hashtag for a chance to win.

However unlike running a 'Like to Win' competition on Facebook, winners of Pinterest contests must be chosen on merit. They must not be determined randomly, or by the total number repins or comments. 'Sweepstakes' are not allowed by Pinterest as they want to keep their platform as 'pure' as possible, allowing actions only on merit and not just for competition entry.

Feedback Contest (COMMENT to enter)

Feedback contests are similarly easy to run. They require users to comment on an image for a chance to win.

Feedback contests are a great way to engage users with your brand. You can ask questions about your brand, use it as a tool to inform or receive feedback. The complexity of the competition will depend on the type and number of questions you ask.

Best Pinboard

Best Pinboard contests require a little more effort from the user. They require users to create a pinboard along a certain theme or guidelines.

The pinboard adjudicated 'best' wins! Do not forget the effort required from the user when deciding on an appropriate prize.

This competition is very effective when it works well. It can provide your brand with customer feedback and insights, it is a highly engaging exercise, it can serve as a product discovery tool, and it is great online word-of-mouth promotion for your brand.

Do expect a lower number of contest entries due to the higher level of effort required to join. Especially if you have a small existing user base, promoting the contest and extending its reach will be important.

In-App Contests

The second type of contest on Pinterest involves an application to administer the entries - for example, Gleam. This is no longer frictionless, as it requires the user to leave Pinterest & enter their details, or complete a set of actions.

However, the advantage with in-app Pinterest contests is that you can combine the power of frictionless contest with an app. In this way, the Pinterest page gains not only Likes and Repins, but also email addresses & other actions too.

Consider the following example from a contest that was run on Pinterest:

Here is an example of what users saw when they clicked the external link:

Pinterest Example Competition

Gleam can also drive email signups, Twitter & Instagram followers, and more!

Additionally, Gleam provides much improved analytics and user data as compared to Pinterest. Allowing you to better understand your users and how your marketing efforts are actually converting into bottom-line result.

What Type of Contest Not to Run

Pinterest contests must adhere to Pinterest's contest guidelines.

Namely, contests must not:

  • Ask for more than one entry
  • Ask for votes in the form of pins, repins or likes
  • Ask people to repin the contest rules
  • Determine the winner at random

For Australians, here's a guide on contest permits: http://gleam.io/docs/guides/australian-permits

Choosing Your Prize

The prize is what will grab the attention of users scrolling past. It is the centerpiece of your campaign. Therefore, it is important to select a prize that immediately resonates with your campaign's target audience and your business.

A prize should also compliment the effort required to join a competition. The harder a competition is to join, the more effort is required, the better the prize should be.

Use Your Own Products

Your first port of call should be to reach into your own inventory for a prize that will not cost the business additional dollars. Giving away something your existing fans and Facebook followers already appreciate will keep them happy. Additionally, the contest would also spread brand awareness to new customers.

Giveaway Something Unique (or First)

People love to win difficult-to-obtain prizes. The more unique, rare or expensive the prize - the more attractive it is. Contests that offer ‘limited’ products or experiences can create a lot of buzz and excitement, especially amongst existing fans.

Run your giveaway alongside a blog review/article about the unique product or experience to drive traffic back to your website!

Do Regular Gift Voucher Giveaways

Contests with the highest user participation tend to offer a number of small but highly sought after rewards.

Gift vouchers are a great way to run simple yet effective contests without much thought or financial outlay.

Despite being less attention grabbing than big ticket items, because you can afford to offer multiple prizes instead just the one grand prize, more people are likely to enter.

Vouchers are especially effective when aligned with a specific event or sale you have running. Giving away vouchers to a specific event can generate excitement for the day, and amplify promotional reach!

Promoting Your Pinterest Contest

Once you have decided on the type of contest you are running, and what prize to award, you will need to consider how to promote it. Do not assume that your contest will be successful just because you offer a great prize!

Promotion is often overlooked when running contests. Often though, the success of a contest will depend on placement and awareness. Maximising visibility is crucial to a campaign’s success.

Announce it to Your Subscribers

The first thing to do is get the contest in-front of your existing email subscribers. Existing e-mail subscribers are the most likely to respond and share the contest with friends.

This will mean crafting a newsletter with imagery & choosing the best time to send. Include the contest link and details.

Embed it on Your Own Site

An often overlooked aspect of any contest is that you can run them on your own site, completely outside social networks - but use the social network as a catalyst for driving growth.

Use Partners

Build a list of partners that can help you promote your contests. Typical partnerships might be:

  • Companies that supply you products
  • Bloggers / PR companies
  • Celebrities or endorsements
  • Complimentary businesses, for example if you have a hair product you might partner with hair salons

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