Top 4 Tips on How To Run a Pinterest Promotion


Pinterest promotions are fun to write about — who can argue with a great rhyme like “Pin It to Win It”? — but are they worth the effort? According to social analytics company Pinfluencer, companies like Zap2It are already successfully running promotions on the site. In a webinar about Pinterest promotion strategies, Alex Littlewood, head of customer success at Pinfluencer, offered some helpful tips on how to run a tight promotion that keeps pinners from hitting the back button.

Tip #1: Don’t Ask For Too Much

When it comes to setting up the contest rules, Littlewood advised companies to keep it simple.

Ask contestants to do no more than 2 of the following:

  1. Follow a brand.
  2. Follow a board.
  3. Pin X number of pins from a website.
  4. Pin X number of pins from a board.
  5. Repin an image.
  6. Create a board.
  7. Pin using a hashtag.

Tip #2: Make it Worth the Effort

First, make sure there’s a good prize involved. Zap2It, a TV, movie, and celebrity fan site, asked contestants to repin 3 or more of their favorite pins from the “Best TV of 2012″ board. The prizes were a $ 500 gift card for the winner and five $ 100 gift cards for the runners up.

Fresh Express, on the other hand, gave away a $ 1 coupon and asked for a lot in return — they wanted contestants to provide all of the above activities, plus create a recipe using the product and use two very long hashtags on each pin. (Littlewood speculated that they may have made the barrier to entry a little higher to avoid having to give away too many coupons — not because they couldn’t spare the dollar, but because it was a lot of work to coordinate.)

Tip #3: Make it Fun for Them and Simple for You

Since your contestants are only doing two of the above activities, it’s best to pick the ones that are most aligned with your goals.

Ask pinners to follow your brand when you 1.) want to have a good follower base for future reach or 2.) if you want solid numbers to show your boss. This also takes very little effort on the part of the customer.

Keep in mind that users may be confused if you ask them to follow a board from your page – they might not know the difference between following one board and following your profile.

Ask pinners to create a board when if you’re asking for a range of complimentary pins that need to be “curated together” or if your theme is unique enough that contestants won’t have a board for the content to go into already. If you give them a broad theme like “My perfect wedding,” they will be more likely to build on the content after the promotion is over instead of immediately deleting it.

Ask pinners to repin an image from one of your boards when you 1.) want to center the activity on Pinterest and 2.) when you already have a good idea of what kind of content drives virality, clicks, and conversions and/or you have specific items that you want people to repin.  This requires less effort, but also less creativity, from the pinners. Littlewood recommends asking for around 5 images and no more than 10.

Ask pinners to pin from your website when you 1.) want to learn about the content that inspires people, 2.) when you want a highly curated board, or 3.) if you are doing a scavenger hunt. Note that people might get distracted, lost, or forget to go back to Pinterest. On the plus side, they’ll bring more traffic to your site and they might make a purchase while they’re at it.

Ask pinners to use hashtags on their pins when your long-term strategy is to optimize your content for the time when Pinterest’s search capabilities improve. It might grab people’s attention and make them aware of the promotion. Right now, the use of hashtags is a legacy practice from Twitter that serves little purpose on Pinterest. Littlewood added that most people either forget about the hashtags or put typos in them, creating a barrier to entry. Bonus tip: if you do decide to use hashtags, make sure you don’t use apostrophes –  they don’t work.

Ask pinners to create their own pins when you want 1.) a very high engagement value, 2.) deeper insights about your audience or 3.) you want to crowdsource an idea. Keep in mind that this will significantly reduce your entry rate and that the quality of the pins will be questionable.

Tip #4: Read Up on Pinterest’s New Business Profiles and Updated Terms

Don’t get stuck doing too much extra work or, worse, being slapped with a lawsuit. Pinterest has made available new business profiles with website verification, new legal terms, and a page with best practices. Information for all of these updates can be found by following the links. Pinfluencer also has a service for running promotions.

“Pin It to Win It” image via

Also Read: How to Measure ROI on Pinterest

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