How to Run a Pinterest Campaign—Pin it to Win it

Emily Steinke | @emilygsteinke Social media is a fabulous business tool. Yes, we all already knew this! But how then should we use it? Well, if you’ve read any other of the SMD blogs, you’d know there are multiple ways. Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, and Vine (among many others) can be used for advertising, marketing, community outreach, and brand building. The options are literally limitless. The option we’ll focus on here though is marketing, specifically using Pinterest as a platform.

As Jay Baer, a NY Times bestselling author, once said, “The goal of social media is to turn customers into a volunteer marketing army.” This rings true. Many companies use their customers in this exact way. Don’t believe me? Check out some examples of it the the PBS documentary Generation Like (a great sociological insight into our social media driven culture). Here they discuss how it was done to promote things such as movie franchises, Twilight specifically.

How then do WE do it as a company? Glad you asked. Here’s a few tips for running a Pinterest campaign. For the sake of the example, we are going to use my imaginary company T is for Tomatoes, which sells (yep, you guessed it) tomatoes.

Let’s say T is for Tomatoes wants to push a new product, and by push I mean raise awareness and engagement of it. The first step is to create a “landing page” that contains clearly stated rules and regulations to the contest/campaign. One important thing to remember here is that the terms and conditions must be clear on your company website.

The design of the campaign should/can go a little something like this:

  • Ask contestants to “pin an image” vs. pinning several to their own board.
    • It’s important to remember here to avoid discouraging them from pinning more than one though.
  • Have contestants create their own board to avoid controlling what users post on the company’s board.
  • You can
    • Have them specifically name their board.
    • Hashtag #CampaignName, #YourCompanyName, or #ProductName.
    • Have them enter their board URL on your landing page.

When it comes to what your customers should pin, think of ideas that could involve your new product. Take, for example, recipes that involve T’s tomatoes. Boards that involve creative ideas for how the customers can use your product (directly or indirectly) are ideal. To avoid having a situation where there’s an overload (too many recipes), ask them to perhaps post ideas for holiday parties, office parties, or baby showers, essentially anything that applies to your product. Here they can give ideas to use tomatoes in recipes or other ways for these events. T's could also ask them to post about the health benefit of tomatoes; the options are vast! The idea is to get them engaged and enjoying the campaign—make them smile!  Don’t forget to make sure things are specific. For instance, break recipes down into a certain type of dish or meal.

Finally it’s important to stay within the parameters set by Pinterest.

  • Don’t suggest that Pinterest sponsors or endorses you or the contest.
  • Don’t require people to pin from a selection—let them pin their own stuff.
  • Don’t make people pin or repin your contest rules. (This is a biggie.)
  • Don’t run a sweepstakes where each pin, repin, board, like, or follow represents an entry.
  • Don’t encourage spammy behavior, such as asking participants to comment.
  • Don’t ask pinners to vote with pins, repins, boards, or likes.
  • Don’t overdo it—contests can get old fast.
  • Don’t require a minimum number of pins. One is plenty.

Of course don’t forget to offer an incentive! A prize is always valued and hypes up the competition. Finally remember you don’t have to launch all the divisions of the boards at once; you can slowly phase them in. In the end, when you launch each board, they should all contain at least ten pins, with the best pin as the cover photo.

Do you think you’ve got it now? I think this will help get you off to a great start. If you want additional ideas, always look for other companies campaigns; they’ll give you some good ideas of where to go with yours. Happy pinning!

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INFOGRAPHIC: Optimizing the Event Experience with Social Media