‘Tis the season for sponsoring holiday-themed marketing campaigns. Undoubtedly your company has run such things before on Facebook and Twitter, but Twitter is also a great place for holiday-themed promotions, especially in the form of a contest. Pinterest has a very active, engaged audience, and during the holidays they’re in hyper pin mode, looking for new holiday recipes to try, teacher gifts to make and gift wrapping ideas to attempt and really unlimited ways to advertise your business.  Just look at how 12 Keys Rehab can advertise its rehabilitation center.

Last year at this time many businesses were just starting to jump on the Pinterest bandwagon, so there’s a good chance you haven’t tried a Pinterest contest before. The good news is they’re fun to plan and a breeze to set up, once you understand the site’s guidelines governing such promotions. Read on for the four key steps to executing a successful contest on Pinterest.


Norwegians pin to win

1. Follow the Rules

Pinterest has very specific regulations in place governing contests, and if a business doesn’t follow these guidelines, their contest will be removed. This why it’s important not only to read over those rules but also to make sure you really understand them before inviting people to enter your contest. For instance, one requirement is winners are not drawn at random. The sponsoring company must choose a winner based on merit, which should be defined in the contest rules. Another rule is pinners cannot be limited to repinning content from only one board in the contest.

For example, a recent contest from Norwegian Cruise Line invited participants to follow the company on the site and create a board dedicated to “My Dream Cruise on Norwegian.” The company required at least 10 repins of previous Norwegian pins or photos from its web site to be eligible, neatly sidestepping the possibility people might pin only from one board.


For All Mankind Pinterest 2. Offer Desirable Incentives

Contests on Pinterest are a lot different from those on Facebook or Twitter. They require greater effort on the part of the participant than contests on the other social media sites, where a like or a retweet will win you an entry. Pinterest contests are involved, often requiring the creation of boards or scouring the internet for appropriate images. Thus, you need to give a substantial payoff in return for people devoting so much time to entering.

Translation: Give out a great prize. Go beyond a bumper sticker or personalized pen. Take a hard look at what your company can afford to offer, and go with the biggest payoff possible. A recent contest by 7 For All Mankind and Smashbox followed the “go big or go home” mentality. It offered entrants a $500 prize for repinning various fashions onto their personal boards. It would be easy to tweak this contest to give it a holiday theme, say pinning the best red and green outfits.

Joyride Contest

3. Promote, Promote, Promote

They key to any good contest is to drive entries, and this means promoting it across more than just one avenue. Tweet about the contest, post it on your Facebook page, blog about it and do anything else you can think of to drive entries. When Volvo posted its #Joyride contest on Pinterest last year, the company tweeted a link to the contest with the hashtag to its more than 129,000 followers. This prompted a number of retweets, as well as people who tweeted links to the promotion and their own contest entries on Pinterest, exposing the campaign to even more people.

You can also tie your contest into holiday-themed posts on social media for an even bigger bang for your promotional buck, since those posts tend to get a lot of attention from social media surfers.

4. Track Your Results with an App

It can be hard to keep track of who’s entering your contest and whether everyone is following the rules. Luckily you can get some help from outside sources. There are a number of apps that can assist you in running your contest on Pinterest.

The options include PromoJam, which will pick winners and organize email addresses you collect; ShortStack, which also does Facebook promotion tracking; and Wishpond, which promises to walk you through the entire process of running a Pinterest contest. Smart businesses keep a close eye on any contest, and these apps make sure, even during the busy holiday season, nothing will slip through the cracks.

Contests are a great social media marketing technique to drive your publicity. A holiday-themed Pinterest contest is just the ticket to spread your company’s name and engage merry pinners this season.