How to Run Successful Pinterest Contests

If your target audience is on Pinterest, your brand should be too!  Running a contest is one of the most effective ways to engage with your audience in a fun (and profitable) way.

Contests can help you meet a number of different goals on Pinterest.  For example, you can use contests to increase followers to your brand’s boards or to build up testimonials about your product and services. Many major brands, including Better Homes & Gardens, Kraft and AMC theaters, are using contests on Pinterest successfully.

Here’s a quick case study:

Homes, a website for searching properties for sale or rent, ran a successful contest in May 2012 in order to partner with top bloggers in their industry. With the Spring into the Dream contests, Homes reached out to top bloggers and asked them to create a blog post and Pinterest board that told the story of their “Spring into the Dream” ideas. Blog readers were able to participate in the contests as well. One blogger was selected by Homes, and the winning blogger was able to pick one of his or her readers as a winner too.

Making Pinterest Contests Work for Your Brand

Pinterest contests come in different forms and can be used for many different purposes.  In order to get the most out of your contest, focus on a single goal and tailor your contest type to that goal.  For example:

  • If you want to build your brand’s Pinterest profile, your contest can be a simple request for followers on your blog and other social media profiles. Offer a prize to a selected follower who engages your brand within a given time frame.
  • If you want to drive more traffic to your website, ask your Pinterest followers to create a board featuring their favorite items from your site. Entrants will have to name the board your brand name in order to qualify. After a set period of time, pick a winner.
  • If you want to gather social proof about your product or services, create a group board with success stories. Ask your followers to upload photos or videos as testimonials and then select a winner within a set timeframe.

No matter what type of contest you select, you must make it easy, appealing and memorable.


Notice that none of these contest types require the entrants to do anything out of the ordinary or too complicated. By following a simple set of instructions, they are entered. Making it easy will result in more entrants – and more buzz about your brand.


Even if your contest is very simple to enter, you won’t get many entrants if there isn’t a worthy prize. Offering a high value prize is going to garner a lot of attention, but you don’t have to go overboard. Keep your Pinterest prize in balance with the effort involved in entering the contest. A simple “add” should have a small prize.


The best Pinterest contests use visual images in order to spread the word. With a contest image, the news about your contest – and the prize – will spread throughout Pinterest and directly to your target audience.

Whether you opt for a brand awareness contest or want to build a large board of testimonials, contests can help. Have you tried a Pinterest contest – if not, which type do you think you’ll use first?

Download our new white paper “Quick Guide to Pinterest, Tumblr, Google+ (PDF)

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