Can Your Brand ‘Pin it to Win it?’

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Twenty-twelve will certainly be remembered as the year social media experts made room in their packed strategies for Pinterest. What started out as virtual inspiration boards for brides and interior designers has turned into a full-blown obsession — as well as a fantastic avenue for visual brands to show off new products. Yet marketing on Pinterest isn’t as straightforward as Twitter marketing, and unlike Facebook, it isn’t for every brand. Still, there are hundreds of categories of businesses (fashion, food, photography, pets, cosmetics, travel, art, toys, electronics, etc.) that are perfect for Pinterest marketing. An easy way to get started on Pinterest and to get your brand noticed is to run a “Pin it to Win it”-type contest.

PITWI contests recently became all the rage. Everybody from small mail order cupcake companies to designer shoe manufacturer are trying them out. The whole point for marketers on Pinterest is to have their brand’s products and services pinned on Pinterest users’ boards, so what these contests do is inspire followers to pin a brand’s stuff in hopes of winning the product they pinned. Whirlpool, for example, recently kicked off the holidays with a PITWI where followers created a Whirlpool holiday inspiration board featuring five to ten of the company’s products along with pins of festive recipes, decorating ideas and favorite activities. The winning board received a brand new refrigerator just for taking the time to pin, something most pinners would be doing anyway.

Fabulous idea, right? But you don’t have to give away big appliances to have fun with PITWI contests. Inspire your followers to re-pin your pins to win gift certificates. Create PITWI contests based around not just your products but the originality of the boards themselves and give prizes to the best looking boards. A local nail salon recently ran a PITWI campaign wherein they awarded spa packages to boards featuring the best over-the-top nails. The sky, with these type of contests, is truly the limit.

But a word of warning: Pinterest is one of the few light-hearted social media avenues left and the users do not like blatant advertising, so operate your PITWI contests from a place of creativity and fun.

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