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Competitions are increasingly popular among brands using Pinterest and are a good way to increase the virality of content by encouraging users to spread branded images across the Pinterest network.
It can also be a useful, if slightly cynical way of quickly boosting your number of followers.
This is no different from the way that businesses have been using Facebook for years, and we recently pointed out eight examples of brands that have run Instagram competitions.
Our new Pinterest for Business Best Practice Guide includes advice on how to run competitions on the platform, including analysis of real life examples.
The 63-page document also covers general best practice tactics, including statistics and case studies, as well as practical tips for getting started with Pinterest and how to engage with your followers.
But without further ado, here are seven interesting examples of brands that have run engaging Pinterest competitions...
Holiday brand Jetsetter is no stranger to running social competitions, having run several promotions across its Facebook and Pinterest pages in the past few months.
One of the more interesting examples offered its fans the chance to win a trip to Bali by creating a special ‘Pin your way to Paradise’ board and finding images that related to clues posted on Facebook.
The overall prize was a seven-day trip to Bali, but there was also a $500 Jetsetter voucher up for grabs for the person whose board attracted the most followers.
The competition was basically a way of raising awareness and driving traffic, as all the clues related to images that could be found on Jetsetter.com and used one-off hashtags.
A Pinterest search reveals that around 500 people created boards for the competition, each packed with stunning visual content from Jetsetter.com.
Overall, this was a great way of getting people to browse the site and share Jetsetter content across the web for a relatively low level of investment.
Also, by requiring all entrants to follow the brand on Pinterest and Facebook it’s likely that the brand managed to expand its online community as a result.
Personally I think this is one of the weakest examples on the list, but it stands to show that you don’t need to be particularly creative to achieve success with a Pinterest competition.
Fashion site Chicwish is currently running a competition that simply requires followers to create a board called ‘ChicWish List’ and fill it with items from its website.
Every item also has to include the hashtag #Chicwish, with three winners taking home gift vouchers for $200, $100 and $50.
There are apparently no other criteria and the winners will be chosen at random, though the competition homepage does say: “Remember the more you pin the greater your chance of winning.”
This is an unbelievably simple contest and a fairly lazy attempt to get people to pin Chicwish products, but it’s still achieved a level of success - as of this morning around 250 people had created ChicWish List pinboards.
Another travel firm making use of Pinterest, Norwegian Cruise Line ran its first contest in August 2012.
It created a custom Facebook app to expand the reach among its community of 337,757 fans, which gave instructions on how to participate and enter, including hashtags to use in Twitter and Pinterest.
With simple calls-to-action, the team created two buttons to click through - one to Pinterest.com to start their board, and one to a second page that included a sign up page and a Facebook comments plug-in to capture the Pinterest board URLs.
Norwegian Cruise Line had 635 entries: 105 submissions via Twitter and 530 entries via Facebook on the Pinterest app.
The hashtag #NorwegiansPinToWin generated 248 total tweets with approximately 428,531 impressions and a reach of 79,938. Their followers on Pinterest also leapt from 900 to 2600 during the contest window.
Though it admitted to being unable to measure the ROI, Norwegian Cruise Line said it was happy with the results of its first Pinterest competition.
Huffington Post ran a competition last year to try and promote its Taste recipe section. In order to win a Cuisinart Pressure Cooker, followers had to create a pinboard called ‘Holiday Entertaining with HuffPost Taste’ and pin 20 images that link to holiday entertaining recipes.
The catch was that 10 of them had to be from HuffPost Taste and each one had to have a caption describing the recipe and the hashtags #holidayentertaining and #huffposttaste.
It was a fairly low-key contest and achieved just 40 entries, but then it only cost $185 to run.
This competition followed the same basic premise as the others (e.g. create a pinboard, pin one of our products), but cleverly used an additional data capture element.
In order to enter the competition to win a $500 Macy’s gift card, users had to fill in a form giving their name, email address and the URL of their pinboard.
It’s a relatively subtle way of using Pinterest to gain additional customer information, but based on the number of people who tend to enter these competitions it’s probably not going to grab a huge amount of data.
To promote the launch of the new Tomb Raider game at the beginning of this month, Xbox ran a competition where followers had to help ‘save’ Lara Croft.
The new game sees Croft shipwrecked on an island, so followers had to create a ‘Tomb Raider Survival’ board and pin a competition promo and at least five other images of items that would help the character survive.
Personally I like this example as it requires a greater level of creativity than simply asking people to just pin images of your products.
And the judging criteria is also quite funny, if slightly unclear: “Creativity: (33.333%). Cohesiveness, the way the pins fit together to form a room (33.333%). Originality: (33.333%).”
An interesting example of a B2B company using Pinterest, Emailvision’s competition asked email marketers to pin their favourite campaign then submit it using a dedicated landing page.
The pin that attracted the most ‘likes’ then won an email creative designed by Emailvision studio.
This is an extremely niche competition so its unlikely that it was flooded with entries, but it cost nothing and would have enabled Emailvision's sales team to start conversations with its target audience.