Holiday Marketing that Shines: How to Effectively Run Contests on Pinterest

Social Media Marketing


How many emails do you send during the holiday season? Between Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Christmas, and the New Year, your audience is most likely exhausted with email. So how else can you engage your audience?

Pinterest users purchase items at a more frequent rate, making it a perfect way to engage your audience this holiday season. Here are a few tips on how to effectively run contests on Pinterest:

Define a Purpose

Start with what matters — what are you trying to achieve? Are you trying to increase sales? If so, have you been building the number of followers you have? If you don’t have enough followers to influence sales significantly, then your goal could be to increase the number of followers you have. That way,  you’ll have a larger group to market to in the future.

If your followers are inactive, you may want to run a contest on Pinterest as a way to get them to engage. Define what you are trying to achieve with these social campaigns so you can come up with the right set of tactics and contest parameters to make it successful.

Create Clear Guidelines

Contests can be difficult to run because you’ll need to get your legal team involved. The rules may vary by state, but there are three things to consider: 1) Is there a prize involved? 2) Are there steps involved to enter well defined? And, 3) Is there an element of randomness? The last thing you want is to be involved in a legal mess because you didn’t run a contest properly. Be clear about how a person can enter, but also be aware that the more rules you have, the fewer people may sign up.

If your goal is brand awareness and follower growth then having an easy entry process that includes a ‘sharing’ step will help you achieve that goal. The success of these campaigns also depends on the scale of them, so always keep that in mind if you do decide to make it difficult to enter.

Below is a great example of a company that ran a Pinterest contest to engage their audience during the holidays. The Lindt campaign is incredibly easy to enter, and the guidelines are clear. Because Pinterest is a visual platform, the company did a great job of making the contest visually appealing as well.

Lindt Pinterest Example

Create Strong Visuals

Like the Lindt example above, visuals are a critical element for a successful Pinterest contest. Pinterest is all about images so contests that run on Pinterest should be visually appealing . The success of your campaign is often based on how many people re-pin it, which is dependent upon a visual image that compels people to share.

This Forever 21 example has a great visual that quickly gives you all the information you need in an easy to consume image, and it’s still visually appealing.

Forever21 Pin Win

Inspire Creativity

Pinterest is all about reimagining how we discover the world and our interests. Top Shop understood that and created a holiday season Pinterest campaign that asked entrants to create a holiday-themed Pinterest board of visuals that inspire them. The best boards were featured on the Top Shop website, and the winners won a gift card for a holiday shopping spree.

TopShop Pin Board Giveaway


To effectively run campaigns on Pinterest, or any social network, it’s important to fundamentally understand the audience on that channel. Think about whether or not Pinterest is right for your business and your audience, because it can be a huge opportunity to engage in a creative and different way. Learn more about Pinterest and how to run effective campaigns by reading our Pin for the Win eBook. I’d love to know what campaigns you’re running this holiday season to better engage your consumers. Please share your story in the comments below — I hope you have happy holidays!