Running contests on social media sites is great. But it’s equally tough seeing that each social networking site has its own set of rules and regulations. Making sure that you’re conforming to all the rules can be really frustrating and can also stifle your contest’s creative flow.
Too many stringent rules your problem? Then Pinterest is the happy haven for you.
With its user count touching 40 million (November 2012), Pinterest has a huge audience you can target. In fact, the site generates more referral traffic for businesses than Google+, YouTube and LinkedIn put together!
With Pinterest being such a visual treat and it being so easy to run contests on the site, we thought that a few tips on running effective contests on the site will surely not go amiss with you:
- Establish your goals
You may be wanting to run contests on Pinterest to: get new followers, add more people to your email subscribers’ list, increase brand awareness, drive more traffic to your website, increase product sales, launch new products, get product feedback etc.Regardless of what your goals are, make sure that you know them well before you start the contest!
- Choose the contest type
Selecting the type of contest you need to run requires knowledge of your goals. This is why goals are so important. Here are a few examples of different types of contests each of which fulfill a different goal:
- If you want to add more followers to your Pinterest account, hold a contest where you ask people to just follow you (ideally, all your contests should involve asking people to follow you but if you want to keep things simple, this is the easiest way to do it).
- To get feedback on products, create a board on your Pinterest account with the products and ask people to comment telling which of those are their favorites. If its just one product, ask them to tell you why they like it.
- In order to drive more traffic to your site, ask contest participants to create a board, name it after your brand and pin their top 5 or 10 products from your company site.
- To leverage testimonials from your users (social proof), create a board that allows contributors to pin and ask participants to pin pictures of them using your products or upload a video testimonial. Such a contest establishes your brand’s credibility and helps attract new customers.
- If you want to increase your brand’s awareness and get feedback on customer perception of your brand, one way of approach could be to ask participants to create a board and pin it with images they think represents your company best.
Also, make sure that the winner selection and prize claiming guidelines are defined well in advance and conform to legal requirements in your target market.
- Your contest prize should be worth it
The contest prize has to be worth the effort people have to put in to participate. Offer a cool prize like a dream vacation for two or a shopping spree for the family. This is a dual incentive, draws attention to your contest while attracting people to participate in it.
- Pick a suitable contest image
It goes without saying that images are the foundation of Pinterest. So you need a rocking image to promote your contest. Using bright colors, including calls to action (“Click to enter”, “Pin to Win” etc), adding your company logo, using keywords like “giveaway”, “promotion”, contest”, mentioning the cost of the prize and the contest end date will make your image more pinnable.
- Promote your contest
A competition is nothing without participating entries. So you need to actively promote your contest. Just pinning an image and giving a link back to your website is not enough. Promote the contest through your social networking accounts (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn…you get the picture) and mention it in your promotional emails and newsletters.
You can also contact the local press and offline media to promote your contest. You can also ask your network to share the news about your contest with their audience and your customers to share it with their friends.No spamming! Though promoting your contest is important, it’s equally vital that the contest is not the only topic of your conversations with customers. It’s best to prepare a mix of regular posts with contest promotions.
- Let your contest be easy to enter
If you want more people to participate in your contest, you’ve got to make it easy for them to enter. You can ask people to follow your brand with two or three more qualifying steps. You shouldn’t go overboard asking people to go through many steps to qualify as a participant.
Balancing between your prize and contest qualification steps is crucial. As a simple thumb rule, the value of your prize could be directly proportional to the number of qualifying steps participants have to go through to enter.
- Pick out your winners right
Have clear, transparent contest rules and follow them. Deciding the rules for picking contest winners is as important as setting up other components of the contest. Are you going to pick out the winner at random (using a service like random.org?) Or will a panel of judges select winners based on certain criteria?
Regardless of your selection method, make sure that you inform participants about it. Also give out necessary information about how they need to collect their prizes, any deadlines etc.
- Determine and analyze results
Collating contest results and analyzing them is very crucial to determine contest success. Look at your pre-determined goals and devise ways to track these goals before, during and after the contest. Use an analytics program, Pinterest statistics and a spreadsheet and determine the success of your contest.
Using Google Analytics you can see the specific pins that are driving traffic to your site. Check out your contest image to see the amount of traffic it has generated for you. Also track the revenue generated straight from the contest.
- Offer a reward for each person who enters
Lastly, you can consider giving a small reward to every person who participants in your contest. For example, you can give each participant a coupon code that will give them 50% off a purchase of $150 or so.
You should always do more of what works for you. Even with contests, this should be your motto. You can make Pinterest contests a part of your marketing plan and run a contest once every quarter. You should also set up a contest-specific landing page on your website with all the necessary contest information.Before you begin planning your contests, check out Pinterest’s Terms and Conditions.And…have fun! Pinterest contests should be all about having fun while getting your work done.Have you run contests on Pinterest? How has your experience been? Tell us in the comments section below!