Running contests, sweepstakes, and other promotions on Pinterest seems like a natural fit for a social network that doesn’t fit into most marketing teams’ natural workflow. Successful Pinterest contests almost always follow three guidelines:

  • Keep the contest visual. A glance at boards like “Pin It to Win It” reveals way more text than images. Even though more than a third of active Pinterest users enjoy interacting with their favorite brands on their boards, it’s unlikely that disclaimer-heavy text will get repinned outside circles of sweepstakes lovers.
  • Make your entry process free of friction. The most broken Pinterest contests we see force entrants through multiple hoops, most of which only serve to simplify things for contest organizers instead of participants. How many members of your target audience want to use the same name for one of their boards as other contest entrants? And why should a contest entry form contain more than confirmed contact information?
  • Leverage the way contest entrants already use Pinterest. The best Pinterest promotions unleash participants’ creativity by encouraging free-form pinning of a brand’s official images. Pinners can get frustrated or fatigued when contest rules require entrants to run down a long list of categories or to overwhelm their followers with hashtags or branding messages.

Successful Pinterest promotions adhere to all three of those best practices without running afoul of the restrictions outlined above, including Carnival Cruise’s recent Pinterest promotion, which generated unprecedented engagement.