Creative ways to launch Pinterest contests

A look at five brands exploring contests, and what you need to know before launching one of your own.

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There are several brands on Pinterest leading the way in experimenting with contests, and more appear to be launching contests every day.

I’ve noticed a variety of contest types, including highly detailed pinboard entries to more subjective contests. It is also important for any brand considering a Pinterest contest to review its Terms of Use before launching.

Types of contests on Pinterest

Best pinboard. Users create a pinboard under the contest guidelines, and brands select the best one.

Most likes/repins. Contest entrants create pinboards and specific images for users to like and/or repin, and entrants win based on the number of likes/repins they get.

Sweepstakes entries. Random winners drawn from a pool of entries. People can enter the sweepstakes by repinning an image and/or following a brand on Pinterest.

Establishing best practices. It is still early for marketing on Pinterest, but many brands are looking to invest in the platform, and some obvious best practices are beginning to emerge for contests.

  1. Make sure your contest has a legitimate look. Include a home page with specific rules that live on your official website. Pinterest is already seeing scam contests, so to ensure that Pinterest users get involved, they have to trust your campaign.
  2. Create a repinnable image. (Yes, repinnable is a word.) One of the first steps for promoting a Pinterest contest is to have an image that your followers can repin easily. It should list the contest name, display the brand, mention a prize, and refer to the rules.
  3. Have clear rules listed. These most likely should live on your official website or blog, but they can also be referenced on
  4. Support the contest with established resources. Help get the word out through email lists, blogs, Facebook, Twitter, and any other available channels.

5 contest examples

Following is a handful of brands, what they do, and the details of their contests:

  1. High Point Market: A company that organizes trade shows for the furniture industry
  2. ModCloth: An online boutique featuring indie and retro-style women’s clothing
  3. A website for searching homes for sale or rent
  4. Mark Eric Photography: Wedding photographer in Louisiana
  5. Teacher resource website

1. High Point Market: Style Spotters

Type: Repins


  • Entrants, named “style spotters” (selected by High Point Market), pinned their favorite images from High Point Market
  • Style spotters solicited votes through repins and likes
  • The pinboard with the most likes/repins as voted by fans wins

Prize: A free trip to the April High Point Market

Complexity: A less complex contest with the focus on gaining repins and likes

2. ModCloth: Something ModCloth, Something You

Type: Best Pinboard


  • Must follow @ModCloth
  • Pins required to include hashtags (#modcloth and #wedding)
  • Pinboards must include a pin from 20 categories as outlined in the announcement
  • Pins must have a caption listing the corresponding number and name
  • Entrants share their boards by posting a comment (with a link back to their board) on the ModCloth contest announcement pin

Prize: $100 gift certificate and “inspire” the ModCloth 2012 Spring Wedding Campaign

Complexity: Many rules and content requirements make this a rather complex contest

3. Pin It If You Love It

Type: Best Pinboard


  • Create a “Pin It if You Love It” pinboard
  • Pin 10–20 of your favorite homes from
  • Pins must include a link to the listing on within the description
  • Users enter by adding the link to their pinboard to the Pinterest contest blog post
  • If users have trouble adding their link, they can email to enter

Prize: Contestants can win one of five $250 home improvement gift cards

Complexity: A medium level of content requirements and complexity, with an option to email entries

4. Mark Eric: Pin m.e. to Win m.e.

Type: Best Pinboard


  • Create a pinboard, and “be creative” with the title
  • Pin images from with the hashtag #MarkEric
  • Also pin other images that inspire your idea of a portrait session (anything except images from another portrait or wedding photographer)
  • Posting the link to your pinboard on their Facebook wall is suggested, but not required

Prize: A portrait session with Mark Eric

Complexity: This contest is mildly complex with a few requirements, but it lacks clear details around other requirements, such as the number of photos and “creative” title

5. Teacher Giveaway

Type: Sweepstakes


  • Repin the “Pin It To Win It” Pin to a personal Pinboard named TeachHUB
  • Follow TeachHUB on Pinterest
  • Complete an entry form for collecting contact info
  • TeachHub also encouraged entrants to suggest teaching ideas and lesson suggestions, and to be creative when repinning and creating their Pinboards
  • Entrants were recognized on a home Pinboard by Teachhub

Prize: 10 iTunes gift cards of $15 each

Complexity: Simple, yet allows entrants to include additional content

Nicole D’Alonzo is a social media strategist at Porter Novelli. A version of this article first appeared on

Additional Pinterest contest examples

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