I must confess I’m not much of a Pinner. Twitter and Instagram rather than Pinterest tend to be my social media of choice, but although Pinterest may seem low-key, it can nonetheless be a very effective platform for promotions, particularly if there’s a certain demographic you want to reach.
Pinterest has 250 million monthly users and they are predominantly female. In fact, Ominicore says 80% are women, with a median age of 40. OK, if I’d asked you to profile a typical Pinterest person that’s probably exactly what you would have come up with, but apparently the majority of active pinners – active being the key word – are under 40 and if women are your target market Pinterest can be an excellent way to reach them.
Like Instagram, Pinterest is obviously a very visual medium, so aesthetics need to be integral to your planning, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use text. Recipes, for example, are very popular on Pinterest and they tend to be quite wordy. You can include 500 words in your pin description and you can now include up to 20 hashtags as well. However, do make sure these relate directly to the content of your pin and don’t try to be creative or amusing, because that doesn’t work well for Pinterest search.
With each pin you also have two opportunities – one in the description and one in the source for the pin – to add a link back to another online location. Make sure you utilise these. This might be a link to the prize promotion’s terms and conditions, a microsite for the promotion or the page about the promotion on your website.
In terms of the promotion itself, if you’re using the features of the platform as part of the mechanic, rather than just a way of publicising it, it’s sensible to keep it simple. For instance, you might ask entrants to create a single pin or just one board. The latter sounds arduous, but if it’s based on repinning from other sources, it won’t take long to achieve.
Pinterest itself says don’t make it a condition that people need to save a specific image. It advises that it’s far better to give people the ability to choose pins based on their own tastes and preferences, even if it’s from a selection or a stipulated website. As always, make sure the instructions are clear and easy to follow, though.
Pinterest also says you shouldn’t allow more than one entry per person. It is also clear that you mustn’t suggest Pinterest sponsors or endorses your promotion. It has brand guidelines which explain the general rules for using the Pinterest brand.
I talked above about Pinterest being a visual medium and even if you’re not running a promotion on Pinterest, it makes sense to enable users to share it to Pinterest as the platform has a high sharing rate – in fact, 80% of all pins are repins – and that will increase your reach. To be pinnable, posts should really be portrait or vertical and the ideal dimensions are roughly 735 by 1102 pixels. Don’t forget to add your promotional branding and a ‘pin it’ button.
For any of this marketing activity, it’s preferable to have a Pinterest business account, because this gives you additional features such as Pinterest Analytics and with a business account you can also use Promoted Pins, which is what Pinterest calls advertising.
This hasn’t been the definitive guide to using Pinterest for prize promotions. That isn’t what I set out to do, because there are a lot of details to consider and how you use Pinterest very much depends on your brand, your promotion and what you want to achieve. However, I hope I’ve given you a sense of the approaches and the possibilities, and, if you don’t already, I would certainly encourage you to start using Pinterest for yourself and explore its potential.
Sarah Burns is Prizeology’s Chief Prizeologist.