Let the Right One Pin

Posted on January 31st 2014

Let the Right One Pin

ImageWe’re awash in a bevy of new and exciting ways to land new customers and achieve customer loyalty. Furthermore, social media experience tells us that our digital reputations are fast becoming a crucial feature of whether or not we will make it as small businesses. Although clever and shocking viral gimmicks like  like the “devil baby” stunt and heart-warming charitable initiatives like that viral Christmas giveaway story from last year are fresh and exciting new ways to build your company name, these are costly and time consuming, so it is important to meter your efforts on more feasible projects like contests. Social media and contests play well together, but are becoming increasingly difficult to concoct, and in this article, we’ll explore the case study of Pinterest and contests.

Things are looking Pinsidious

Pinterest is responsible for almost 80% of all positive buying decisions. Yes, you read that correctly. In 2012 and early 2013, we saw the explosion of pinterest contests and “pin it to win it” opportunities, possibly accounting for part of the increased voice pinterest enjoyed in influencing buying decisions. However, although “contest” how-to’s are all over the internet, few take into account pinterest’s guidelines which include some very non-contest-friendly points.

Although contests are still technically allowed on Pinterest, rules that ban contests that “Require people to Pin from a selection (like a website or list of Pins), Make people Pin the contest rules, Run a sweepstakes where each Pin, board, like or follow represents an entry, Encourage spammy behavior, such as asking participants to comment, Ask to vote with Pins, boards or likes” make it hard to imagine how to even hold a contest anymore.

This is driving pinterest contests to third party developers, which, although useful and functional, create an additional learning curve for entrants and lessen the amount of publicity or awareness of the contest.

So now what?

Urban Decay was able to keep it simple in their Naked 3 giveaway where hashtag-laden pins were created in order to represent the theme of each of the eyeshadow palettes. Entrants only had to pin from those boards onto their own boards. Each pin did not represent an entry, and the pictures were not merely urban decay products, but visually stunning photographs; however, the new pinterest regulations seem to limit creativity to pretty much this layout—boring.

But essentially, any contest now that relies solely on entries will quickly become tedious and tiring. In order to make the most of the social media engagement you get through a Pinterest account, focus, instead, on contests that require participants to do things. To do this, use The Hashtag!

(Make) a Pin to Win

Create a hashtag for your contest and have participants have to create something whether it is a make up look or a thank your card or an image that will be featured on your next batch of branded merchandise, and tag that image with your contest hashtag when they upload the pin. In order to cut down on the number of entries the judges will have to slog through, keep your entry periods short—you can always have more contests, anyways, and that will keep users engaged.

After reviewing the entries and ensuring that they are not merely ripped from the internet, something else Pinterest is a known for, make the selection and celebrate the winners! The biggest advantage of using a created content contest is that it is clearly in line with Pinterest’s motive—which is to inspire and share awesome things. Encouraging your fans to partake and contribute to this community is not only squeaky-clean Pinterest-rules-wise, you might even discover new talent as a result. New talent that your business can use.

Being careful and being creative is a lesson we can learn from Pinterest boom and bust of contest-mania. This lesson, however, is a valuable one to learn in digital marketing solutions as technology is at risk of progressing faster than rules and regulations. In order to navigate this churning advancement, we have to be careful to end up on the right side of the law without missing out on daring and creative marketing opportunities. What are your thoughts about this? How do you use pinterest in your marketing?

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Allysia (Ally) Lowe

Allysia Lowe is a master's student in digital marketing and communication. She focuses on helping small businesses navigate the rapidly changing landscape of marketing in the global market. Nature is her retreat and she regularly heads out and climbs rocks to clear her head. 

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