Using Pinterest in Promoting Your Business Through Contests
If your brand still isn’t using Pinterest, then it’s time to step in and take advantage of its enormous popularity – by now, it’s certain that Pinterest isn’t a fad, so don’t wait anymore. Since Pinterest has been made primarily for the B2C market, running contests in one of the most effective strategies on Pinterest: it is easy, can be inexpensive and it will help you engage with your audience in the ways that will increase referral traffic to your website and generate buzz about your brand.
Best practices for a Pinterest contest
With Pinterest being a social network, it’s important to follow the same basic contest rules you would with any other network – but it has some of its own best practices that have begun to emerge, since brands are already looking into it:
- Make rules visible on the landing page of your website, or you can create an image with rules and pin it. Your campaign must look legitimate – Pinterest may be a new platform, but its users have already had experience with scam contests.
- Keep it simple. Avoid multiple steps and too much pinning and repinning required, they can bring your consumers to decide it’s too time consuming, and to throw up their hands.
- Create a contest image that is easily repinnable. The elements it should include are: contest name, your brand, the prize, short description of rules and the contest’s main page (usually your website’s landing page)
- Spread the word about the contest: use Facebook, Twitter, email lists, blogs, and any other place you have access to.
On the consumer engagement pyramid, Pinterest contests usually use the lowest entry barrier, the basic form - sweepstakes, which requires the least consumer engagement and usually provides the most entries to the contest. Its most common form is “Pin it to win it,” where consumers can re-pin images from your pinboard or website, or pin their own images of their favorite product.
Common points of Pinterest contests
The most obvious categorization of different kinds of contents on Pinterest is according to whether the followers should create their own content, or repin yours.
When the followers are supposed to create their own original content to enter the contest, you can expect lower number of participants, but you can create the buzz by encouraging them to invite their followers and friends to like their pictures (it’s always a good idea to post the contest on Facebook too, because of its visual nature), and the number of likes can be what will determine the winner.
When followers should simply repin your content, you should ask them to make a separate board where they will either pin products directly from your website, or repin the pictures from your boards, 10-20 of them to increase visibility. You can then select a winner by random drawing. You should also encourage them to include some other pictures that will fit in the general content theme, to avoid looking spammy. With both types of contests, you should require participants to use #yourbrandcontest in their pin description, which will make searching for content entries easier.
As for links to your website, you can create them in two ways: by making contest around the best board that contains articles from your website (articles should have big pictures in order to be pinned), or you can simply add another criteria for the boards to be eligible – pinning the contest landing page.
Content prizes should relate to your business
One thing that often gets overlooked in contest planning is the prize. The prize you are offering should fit with your business, and, while probably many people will enter the contest just because they have the chance to get an iPad, it won’t do much good to your business, no matter how successful the contest would be in terms of popularity - unless you’re selling iPad accessories. While the prize should be something related to your brand, it doesn’t necessary mean that it has to be of extreme value. Some successful Pinterest contests had cash prizes of $50-$100 or brand relevant gifts that the participants were excited to receive. You can also use the option which allows other contributors to your board, if you already have an engaged following, to organize competitions where the winner would become regular contributor to your pinboard.
Apart from just attracting new customers, running a Pinterest contest that will showcase your company’s personality will also help you connect with your audience. Try not to stop at one – with competitions and sweepstakes on a regular basis you will develop long-term relationship with your customers and followers. Pinterest contests are great way for generating more brand buzz; they are simple, cost-effective and fresh initiative that you definitely should consider incorporating into your social media strategy.
Could holding a Pinterest contest increase awareness for your small business brand? What social networks are you customers on the most? Share your small biz diamonds in the comments section below.
Jeff is an experienced blogger and content contributor. He likes to share his knowledge and experience about SEO and blogging. Jeff is also an owner of SEO company called nPromote.
- Small Biz Owner Confession: At first I wasn’t “Pinterested”, Now I’m Hooked on Pinning!
- The Value of Small Business Contests