Pinterest Tutorial – How To Run An Effective Pinterest Contest

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How to run an effective pinterest contest If you are looking to grow your followers on Pinterest and drive more traffic to your website, a contest or competition could be an effective way to do so. In this post, we talk through a number of competitions we’ve come across on Pinterest and show how they work.

Selecting the winner can be a difficult one – you need to prove that the winner had been chosen fairly. It is no longer permitted to have a simple ‘pin from my website’ competition as it is hard to prove the winner is drawn at random.  It is best to have judges judging the best board or pin or else have other pinners voting via likes, repins or comments to secure the winner.

How Do You Run An Effective Competition On Pinterest?

#1. Repin / Like Pinterest Contest

This type of contest ask participants to

  • repin an image to a specifically created board
  • Write a caption which includes a particular hashtag
  • submit their board web address
  • the board that gets the most interaction wins (likes/repins/comments)
As in this  Pepsi example, have a number of steps for pinners to follow – Create a specific board, repin one of 3 specific pins to it, use a specific hashtag in the descriptor and submit their board web address.


Source: via Jenneil on Pinterest


Another way of running a Repin/Like competition is to ask participants to:

  • Pin their own images to a contributor board on the business’s page
  • Write a description using a hashtag
  • The winner is the pin that receives the most repins.
An example of this is the competition by Food and Wine magazine which asks participants to submit pictures of their kitchen (4 different categories) to contributor boards and the winners are those that get the most repins. What is clever about this too is they are asking people to sign up to their newsletter (and,of course, follow their Pinterest account).


#2 ‘Pin It To Win It’ Contests

Pin It To Win It contests ask participants to create a dedicated board and either pin images of the company’s products to it or pin images related to a particular theme.   Participants have to email the company with the link to their board and the entries are judged. The winner is usually the most visually appealing and most creative board that best matches the brief and the theme set.

The Wedding Outlet’s Pin It To  Win It contest required those entering to pin any image from The Wedding Outlet website to their own wedding board with a specific hashtag  and to follow the company on pinterest.



Home Decorators asked people to enter by following them on pinterest, creating a specific board, submitting at least 10 pins from their company’s website in order to create a board showing their dream bedroom or bathroom. All entries to be judged.

Personally speaking, I think this would have been more fun for participants by letting them create boards with a minimum of 5 Home Decorators pins and letting them source other pins elsewhere if they wished – this way it wouldn’t stifle engagement and I’m sure some entries would be really magnificent.




Modcloth, a retail clothing company, required those entering to follow them on pinterest and create a specific board which had to include 20 pins, each one reflecting each of the themes listed. The pins had to have specific hashtags #modcloth and #wedding  in the descriptor and the board had to be shared with them when completed.  The winner would be the one judged to be the most original, creative, adhering to guidelines and encompassed the Modcloth spirit.



While it created a challenge for those entering, it would be a labour of love for pinner enthusiasts. The prize wasn’t huge but the winner would also have the kudos of inspiring the newest Modcloth wedding campaign.

A competition like this would provide the company with greater brand awareness. All those entering would have a specific Modcloth board on their profile, complete with 20 pins signifying the Modcloth style.


Another Pin It To Win It example is the use of the #loveiseverywhere hashtag in particular, by KeVita Drinks. Participants had to follow a particular board (not necessarily all their boards), repin a particular image, pin an image of a love heart in an unusual place and tag it with two specified hashtags.


#3 ‘Pin Up Live’ Comment Contest

The Pin Up Live concept is an interesting one. The example I’m going to share with you was organised by a travel blogger in collaboration with a travel agent G Adventures and the prize was $100 Amazon gift card.

They set an exact time for the competition, in this case 7pm EST (6-10pm is the most popular time for American pinners to be logged in).  G Adventures seems to specialise in expeditions, small group tours and safaris and the theme of the competition is pins concerning travel and adventure.

The organisers pin an image of ‘adventurous travel’ with a question every few minutes.  Followers can chat to G Adventures and ask questions by leaving comments under the pins. To enter the competition, pinners have to leave a comment under the ‘featured question pin’ and repin the image to one of their own boards.  Followers do have to refresh the page every few minutes to see the new pins.  You can check out the Pin Up Live board here and see how it works each week.


Of course, the benefits to the company are that their pins are being repinned to various boards, thus increasing the chance of virality and being seen by many more people.  The repins, likes and comments may mean that the pins could be featured on repinly if they make it into the top Travel pins too – thus receiving more exposure.  The Pin Up Live board is doing well with 733,000 followers which shows it really does work well for exposure.

#4. Photo Contest

This type of contest  involves asking people to take a photo of themselves using or wearing one of the company’s specified products in a creative way and pinning it to a particular board (be it their own board or your contributor board) and using a particular hashtag.

This type of contest would mean that participants would have to follow your pinterest account and buy one of the specified products in advance. For it to work really well, the product should be instantly recognizable as being your brand.  This would work for clothing, accessories, pet accessories, ready made pastry, jewellery, recipes, using your facilities, cooking equipment …. the list goes on.

This lego contest is over so the page promoting it has been removed and I was unable to find more details but it looks like kids could build a creative piece using their lego, submit it on a board for a chance to win a trip / dream adventure to Legoland – what a great competition, my 10 year old would have loved that!



And here’s an example by  Rent the Runway, participants had to repin their favourite dress from the Oscars for a chance to win.  However, it isn’t clear from the promotional pin how the winner will be chosen.


Tips to Remember for Pinterest Contests:

  1. Ensure the rules and/or terms and conditions are available on your website (and the link is provided on the contest pin)
  2. Make entry easy – don’t make it too complicated.  Encourage engagement and fun.
  3. Make the prize worthwhile and of interest to your target audience.
  4. Make following your pinterest account one of the terms and conditions of entry.
  5. Share the contest on your other social networks, e.g twitter, facebook and google+ to maximise entries.
  6. Ensure the winner is judged fairly – remember sweepstakes are no longer permitted by Pinterest

Have you run a contest on Pinterest? We’d love to hear how it worked for you. Which contest method would you like to try for your business?

We will be starting our first online course on Pinterest in April/early May so do sign up at We Teach Social if you’d like to receive a newsletter with all the details.


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