3 Steps to Run Successful Pinterest Contests

How to run successful Pinterest contests

Guest post by Emma-Julie Fox from Pitstop Media.

Executing a contest on Pinterest can have huge benefits in terms of brand awareness, engagement and sometimes even direct increase in sales.

The catch though, is that catching the audience’s pulse especially when you have small advertising budget and limited incentives to offer, can be a bit tricky.

Since Pinterest changed its rules recently, you have to be careful about how you design and promote your contests to get more followers and grow your business.

Two of the most important things to remember are that you can’t choose a winner at random and the Terms & Conditions must be clear and on your website.

What NOT to do

Also, here are the updated “Don’ts” of a Pinterest Contests:

  • One is enough. You don’t require a certain number of pins

  • Don’t ask pinners to vote with boards, repins, pins or likes

  • Don’t suggest in any manner that Pinterest promotes or recommends you or the contest

  • Don’t ask participants to comment

  • Don’t ask people to repin your contest rules

  • Don’t ask people to pin from a certain selection, let them pin their own stuff

As long as you follow these rules, you don’t need deep pockets to conduct successful contests on Pinterest, a bit of innovation with some creativity thrown in would do just fine!

Here are a few tips on how to run a successful Pinterest contest:

1) Keep It Simple and Plan It As Per Pinterest’s Guidelines

The easier your contest is to enter, the less time and money you’ll have to invest in creating it. Now Pinterest’s rule of not asking people to pin from only a certain board may seem a little problematic here, but you can always make the contest simple. For example:

  • Participants may pin images from your business website.

  • Pin images of their favourite products produced by your brand.

  • Pin stuff that they’ve made by using one of your products. For instance, a blender company could ask participants to pin images and recipes of smoothies or juices they’ve made using their blender.

You will of course have to make sure that you specify exactly how a winner will be chosen, since Pinterest doesn’t allow businesses to choose contest winners at random.

2) Promote Your Contest

The first thing you need to make sure of is your contest page and promotional material is attention grabbing. There are several affordable apps that you can use to create fangate pages, post entry pages as well as attractive share dialogue boxes, etc. These apps include woobox, promojam, wishpond, etc.

Since, contest rules on Pinterest can’t be re-pinned, you could create a post on your website with clearly outlined contest rules and use other platforms to market the contest.

Other than the usual promotions on Facebook, Twitter and Linkedin, you may also consider using free tools like Viral Content Buzz to promote your contest. In the simplest terms this is a “you scratch my back, I scratch yours tool’ that lets users share each other’s content and earn credits that in turn can be used to promote one’s own content.

The only catch with the tool though is that it has very strict quality guidelines, so a blog post detailing your contest rules may not get accepted. You’ll have to create a high quality post that shares useful information with your target market along with a mention of your contest.

Another great and absolutely zero-cost way of marketing your Pinterest contest is to submit it to platforms like:

In addition to that, you can also identify free contest promotion directories dedicated to your country and create listings for your contest on the same. Several of these directories have popular Facebook pages as well, where they share information about new contests with their fans daily.

3) Create Excellent Incentives

Try to reward all your participants as much as you can. On social media people crave for attention, recognition and accolades. Create a ‘Top 5’ or ‘Top 20’ entries and announce the winners on predetermined dates.

You don’t necessarily have to spend thousands of dollars on prizes; instead you can create bite-sized prizes associated with your products or services. For example:

  1. Restaurants can offer a free dinner for two

  1. Hair salons can give away free haircuts, or makeover packages

  1. Online stores can give away merchandise or discount coupons

  1. B2B companies offering niche services could offer a free package of the same. For instance, Email vision studio offered an E-mail creative designed by their company as a prize for one of their Pinterest contests

  1. You could also collaborate with businesses in niche areas that compliment yours and offer joint prizes. For example, a bathroom fittings company could collaborate with a young and upcoming interior designer and offer a combined prize like $100 gift certificate + free session with the designer for a bathroom makeover on a shoestring budget

So, whether or not you have deep pockets or a big budget, Pinterest is a platform that both big and small business can use to create successful contests. The key is to explore and implement out of the box contest promotion strategies. Good Luck!

Email Marketing (not so) 101

  • Thanks for referencing my “how to promote your Pinterest contest on Twitter” article, Emma-Julie. I say leave no online promotional tool unturned!

  • Hi Emma-Julie. Great artlcle. Providing incentives associated with the products and services your business sells is definately the best way to go.

    And thank you for the Wishpond shout-out, it’s great to see from a fellow Vancouverite!

  • A great article on how to run a successful contest on pinterest, its a great read and makes you aware of the “do’s” and “don’t”.

  • Great post Emma! I really liked the way you explained about do’s and don’t.. obviously some seos are doing improper things without knowing whats happening from pinterest network.. its a great stuff

  • Ann Smarty

    This is a very helpful post. I especially like how you break down Pinterest’s rules in an easy-to-understand format.

  • Social networking strategy is far easier than managing traffic.Companies always want to find new ways to promote their brands and products. Pinterest is one of the best network for business promotion and .Many thanks for a fantastic post.

  • Land in Chennai


    the incentives won’t work I guess..

    The winners would not get the respect or care as others in a restaurant or salon…


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