4 Ways to Host a Pinterest Contest

For many small businesses, success on Pinterest, the third most trafficked social network in the United States, is an elusive achievement. It’s easy enough to pin content, making it freely available for any Pinterest users, but it’s much more difficult to generate audience interactions. In order for a business to be influential on this social media platform, it needs followers, original pins re-pinned, and social engagement.

One way many large corporations are generating more engagement is by hosting contests on Pinterest. Most of these sweepstakes ask Pinterest users to create boards or pin items in order to win a giveaway, but there are multiple ways to go about it. If you’re thinking of hosting a “pin it to win it” contest, take a look at these different kinds to find which is best for your small business.

  1. The Lottery Method – This is one of the easiest ways to host a contest on Pinterest, because it asks so little of the followers. A business will ask its audience either to pin one specific pin onto their boards, or any of the business’s content from its website or Pinterest boards. A winner is picked randomly from the selection of those who pinned the right content. (Business Pinterest accounts use analytics to track their pins.) For both options, creating one eye-catching pin with all of the contest information on it will achieve the most awareness of the contest.
  2. Using Hashtags – Businesses create hashtags for contests on every social media platform, Pinterest included. Contest entrants are asked to pin content with a certain hashtag in the description. Like the lottery method, winners are chosen randomly. The difference between this method and others is that the hashtag is used to track the whereabouts of pins. Similarly, accounts can be tagged on pins using the “@” sign.
  3. “Pin it to Win it” – This method asks users to create boards specifically for the contest. The pinboards will all have the same name, as assigned by the business. After entrants designate a board, they are asked to pin the business’s pins as well as content from other sources. Usually, this method requires some creativity on the part of users. In some contests, users will pin fashion, garden, or home décor inspiration. In others, users pin artwork their children made, or how-to tutorials they’ve completed. This method helps the business’s content to stand out, because they are not getting lost within an overflowing board. However, more work is required from contest entrants, which can be a detractor to participation.
  4. Using Group Boards – Pinterest users have the option of allowing other users to pin on a board they created. Businesses take advantage of this feature through contests. Again, users are asked to create a board specifically for the contest, but then they must invite the business to be a contributor. In order to invite a user to pin onto your board, you must be following the account or one of their boards. So in order to follow the rules of this contest, entrants must be following the business’s account. This is a great way to generate more followers.


Sharma, Prafull. “9 Businesses Using Pinterest Contests to Drive Traffic and Exposure.” http://www.socialmediaexaminer.com/pinterest-contest/#more-23249. (5 August 2013).

Lieberman, Kelly. “Contests on Pinterest.” http://pinterest.com/pinchat/contests-on-pinterest/. (5 August 2013).

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