How to Create Contests Using Pinterest

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Are you trying to figure out how to add Pinterest to your audience development strategy?  Well, I stumbled onto a very exciting pin on Pinterest the other day. Wilton, the cake decorating company, was sponsoring a contest called “Wilton 20/20 Pin It and Win It Sweepstakes”. Users must pin five photos of Wilton products onto a new board titled “My Favorite New Wilton Products” and email a link of that board to Wilton. They’ll choose five winners who will receive the five items (up to $400 value) they’ve pinned to their board.  The idea is amazingly easy and can be replicated by many B2C companies.

My Favorite New Wilton Products board on Pinterest

My Favorite New Wilton Products board on Pinterest

The contest ran for just 5 days, but looks to be a success. When you search “Wilton” on Pinterest there is no shortage of pins to view. How can you create this type of contest? Follow these steps for best results:

  1. Think of catchy names with a valuable prize, add a set of clearly defined official rules and create a “pin” or “board” about it. It’s easier and more likely that users will repin verses pinning directly from your website to Pinterest.
  2. Send an email blast to your regulars. They will be eager to participate since they are already familiar with your product.
  3. Talk the talk. In addition to your website or blog, post about it on all social media avenues you use like Twitter, Facebook and Linkedin.
  4. Talk about it some more everyday until the contest ends and link back to your contest page.
  5. Sit back and watch it go viral or social.


Other contest ideas I’ve seen on Pinterest include asking users to upload pictures of themselves using or wearing their favorite product, or simply repining a pin about your contest. Be sure to require that users pin it onto a new board using the company name, a great boost for organic SEO. Remember, every time you’re pinned, it counts as a link back to your website. The more links the higher you rank.

Don’t make rookie mistakes

  1. Always recheck your links. Every picture should link back to YOUR website, not someone else’s. As an example, for the “RePin to Win” contest, Mama Cheaps offered a $10 Amazon gift card for repinning a particular pin. Too bad when you clicked on the picture you were directed to the gift card page for and not
  2. Poor photography. In case you haven’t been to yet, it’s all about the pictures. The better the quality of your site’s photos, the more pins and repins you’ll receive. I love the contrast in this photo for a hair flower from Belle Blossoms.
  3. Add the “Pin It” button to your site. It’s obvious, but I had to say it. If your site is visually stimulating, many of your photos have probably already been “pinned”.  If you don’t already have the button, add it.

How do you know if you’ve been pinned? Head over to and search some of your keywords, your top selling products or your company name. If nothing comes up, don’t be discouraged. Try pinning a picture from your website onto a board. At the very bottom of your new pin it will display other users pins from your domain. Cool trick – it’s like Googling yourself for the first time all over again. 😉

Have you already done a contest or sweepstakes on Pinterest?  Tell us about it in the comment section. We love hearing about and sharing new ideas.

Disclaimer: I did not win anything from any of the contests mentioned in the post.


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