5 Steps to a Successful Pinterest Contest

Pinterest is the fastest-growing social site in history, and it’s a perfect place to hold a promotional contest to drive brand awareness, brand buzz, and sales. Today, the majority of Pinterest users are women, and brands that target female consumers and are inherently visual have the most success with Pinterest contests. However, the Pinterest audience is growing every day and brands are getting more creative with ways to be more visual and better leverage the reach of Pinterest.

Brands marketers for large and small businesses have gotten quite comfortable running promotional contests on company blogs and Facebook Pages, but Pinterest contests are still relatively underutilized. Therefore, they represent a significant opportunity. Following are five steps you can take to develop and launch a successful Pinterest contest that can help your brand stand out from the crowd.

1. Identify your primary goal.
What is your primary goal for holding a Pinterest contest? It’s likely that you’ll want to achieve a few objectives by developing a Pinterest contest, but you should have a primary goal established which you measure all results against.

Be specific about your goal and quantify it. For example, your goal could be to increase your Pinterest followers or to increase buzz about a specific product by a predetermined percentage. The type of Pinterest contest you develop depends on your short-term goals, so identify them first.

2. Determine the prize.
The prize (or prizes) that you give away to your Pinterest contest winner (or winners) needs to be great to drive the highest results. The prize should also be relevant and useful to your target audience or your results will be diluted by a broad audience of entrants who aren’t truly interested in your business. Finally, make sure the prize is consistent with your brand promise.

3. Develop the contest.
Once you’ve nailed down your goals and chosen a prize, you need to create the actual contest. A key part of development is identifying how people can gain entries and how you’ll track those entries. For example, you could hold a contest that requires people to follow you on Pinterest to get an entry or to publish a comment on images in a specific Pinterest board. You could also create a Pinterest board that people can contribute to and require that they pin an image to gain entry into the contest. Each of these types of contests helps to drive engagement on Pinterest boards that reside within your Pinterest profile.

You could also ask Pinterest users to create their own boards and pin images from your website, of your products, or similar pins that link directly back to your business site. This is a great way to drive traffic to your website during the contest and over the long-term, because most people won’t delete the boards they created to enter the contest after it officially ends.

You also need to create branded assets such as a contest image, promotional messaging, tracking codes (if necessary), and comprehensive contest rules that explain how to enter, what the prize is, how the prize is awarded, and when the contest closes.

4. Promote the contest.
Once you’ve developed your Pinterest contest, it’s time to launch and promote it. Use the branded assets you created in #3 above to promote your contest on your blog, social media profiles, and to your email lists. You can also share the contest image and messaging with networking connections, members of the media, and online influencers asking them to help spread the word.

Be sure to promote your contest more than once to ensure the largest audience knows about it. While you don’t want your Pinterest contest to be the only thing you talk about on your blog or in your social media conversations, you should mention it more than once during the entry period. If the prize is good enough, your audience will be glad you did.

5. Announce the winners and track the results.
When the contest is over, be sure to publicize the winner. However, your work isn’t done once the winner is announced. As part of the contest development process, you should create a tracking mechanism to determine if the contest enabled you to reach your goals or not. Using the information you gather, make the necessary changes so your next Pinterest contest is even more successful.