4 Steps for Holding a Contest on Pinterest

Want to increase your exposure on Pinterest? Encourage the site’s users to create their own content related to your products and brand. You can do so by leveraging people’s universal love of contests: Everyone enjoys winning and getting stuff for free.

Here are four steps to creating an effective Pinterest contest.

1. Create a contest that is meaningful to your brand. Forget sales pitches. One of the most successful strategies for businesses on Pinterest is pinning content that shows people how to use your products. For example, a specialty foods company could hold a recipe contest asking Pinterest users to develop dishes using its ingredients — and then showcase the results. Whatever you do, you want the contest to encourage people to buy your wares while maintaining your brand image.

2. Pick a prize valued by your customers. Offering a valuable prize will generate a much greater response than a lackluster one. Resist the urge to give away a discount on your products or services as a prize; instead, choose something that customers truly want or need, such as a tablet PC or even a weekend getaway. The exposure you’ll receive with a successful contest typically outweighs the cost of the prize. Make sure your prize is geared toward the customers you aim to attract, too. For example, if you’re looking to increase the number of women visiting your hardware store, then you might not want to give away a power saw but rather a gift certificate to the local mall or a cash prize. Ask a few target customers for ideas, perhaps using other social networks like Facebook and Twitter to solicit input and generate buzz.

3. Get the word out about the contest. No matter what you offer as a prize, your contest will not be successful if you don’t actively market it to your target demographic. Use social media and your company website to promote the contest. Consider paying for advertising. Modify your email signature to mention it and link to the Pinterest page. If you run a bricks-and-mortar store, hang up a sign and pass out flyers. Ask your staff mention the event to customers, too.

4. Promote the entries. During the contest, share some of the entries via Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter to continue to keep it at the top of readers’ minds. When the contest is over, promote the winning entry on Pinterest, other social media, and your website. Take a picture of the winner with the prize and hang it up in your store. Consider hosting a small event to honor the winner if possible.

About Jennifer Goforth Gregory

Jennifer Goforth Gregory has more than 18 years professional writing experience and specializes in writing about small businesses. Her work has been published in Infusionsoft’s Big Ideas Blog, QSR Magazine, and the Raleigh News & Observer.
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