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Are you struggling to attract followers and create engagement on Pinterest? Or maybe you're looking for ways to use Pinterest to drive sales, increase brand awareness, or promote a new product you just launched? Then consider running a contest on Pinterest. Not only can contests help create some buzz and engagement for your profile and brand, but they can also assist with driving traffic to your website and generating leads and sales, making contests a potential win-win marketing opportunity for your company. 

Pinterest has a highly active user base, which is an ideal environment when looking for a social media network to run a contest on. And if your target audience falls more on the female side, then Pinterest is the place to be, considering a whopping 85% of their total users are female. But, how do you run a successful Pinterest contest? Are you aware of the rules and regulations you must follow? Let's dive in and cover everything you need to know about running contests on Pinterest so you can make your next contest a huge success! 

Follow The Brand Guidelines

Before you even start planning your contest, you should check out the Pinterest Brand Guidelines, as you need to have a clear understanding of what is, and is not, allowed beforehand. Unlike with other social media networks, you cannot run sweepstakes on Pinterest. On Facebook, for example, a like can constitute an entry. That is not allowed on Pinterest. Winners cannot be chosen at random - instead, they need to be chosen based on creativity, uniqueness, or metrics of that nature. Voting is also not allowed, and you need to come up with a creative name for your contest, rather than something like "Pin It To Win It". Here are some additional rules you must adhere to:

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Pinterest is also all about quality over quantity. That means you should only ask for a single entry in your contest, which should be clearly stated in your contest rules. The idea here is to generate high-quality user-generated content through your contest. Here is a great example of a Pinterest contest that adhered to all of the rules:

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Create Contest-Specific Hashtags

By creating contest-specific hashtags, it makes it easy for you to identify which pins are part of your Pinterest contest. They basically serve as an identifier for your Pinterest contest, so you'll want them to be short and easy to remember, both for entrants and yourself. Using the above contest as an example, in addition to having entrants pin a photo and recipe, the business could have also asked them to use whatever hashtag they specified. 

You may even want to use more than one hashtag for your contest. For example, you could have a branded hashtag specifically for your contest (#companyname), then a more generic hashtag, something like #grillmeal, using the above contest as an example, mostly for discovery purposes. So if anyone were to search for that hashtag, they would stumble across your contest at the same time, even after the contest has already ended. 

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Make Your Contest Easy To Enter & Have An Appealing Prize

Your Pinterest contest needs to be easy to enter and the rules need to be clearly explained when the contest is posted. The easier your contest is to enter, the more people will enter. Simple enough, right? The simpler your contest, the more success you will have. National-Supply-Builder-Pinterest-Contest.jpegYou may just require a repin, or create a Pin Board with a specific title and upload an original pin using your hashtag, or they may have to follow you in addition to repinning an image or creating a Pin Board, or they may have to submit the URL of their Pin Board, whatever the case may be, just ensure the contest is easy to enter and anyone and everyone can understand the rules you have written. Take the contest to the right as an example.

Entrants simply had to repin an image, then click a link and likely complete a form where the company used the contest as a way to capture emails, which is a clever idea. In addition to making your contest easy to enter, you need to have a prize that is appealing to your target audience. The prize is one of the most important ingredients, so to speak, of a Pinterest contest. If the prize is of little value, you are offering little incentive for people to spend their free time entering your contest.

In the above example, the company is clearly giving away a prize that appeals directly to their target audience - they are a builder supply company, so they are giving away what appears to be a high-value shower head. You may choose to give away one of your own products, a gift card, a trip, whatever it is, just keep your target audience in mind and make sure they'll enjoy it, as you want to maximize the number of entrants you get.

Cross-Promote Your Pinterest Contest

To run a truly successful Pinterest contest, you need to promote it as much as possible. That means you need to think outside the box, and not rely just on Pinterest. Take advantage of your other social media networks and promote your Pinterest contest there. Embed it on your website. Announce it to your email marketing list. Don't assume you are going to have an amazing contest just because you have great visual content, your contest is easy to enter, and you have an appealing prize.

You still need to drive traffic to your contest (which will land you more followers on Pinterest as an end result). Promotion is one of the most overlooked elements when running contests, but it is essential if you want a great turn out. If you take part in influencer marketing, have relationships with guest bloggers, outside vendors, etc., now is the time to leverage those relationships and see if they will lend a hand with promoting your contest. The more visibility you are able to achieve - the more successful your contest will be. 

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