Don’t trick or treat, pin to win! How an ecommerce Pinterest contest drove results

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Our "Spooky Beauty" Halloween contest with Beauty Bridge shows how to create a Pinterst contest that promotes products, wins new followers and attracts website traffic.

Pinterest provides the perfect opportunity to generate buzz around products while building personal relationships with clients. I’ve worked with a number of ecommerce clients on using visual content to build a Pinterest presence. It works because the image-friendly social network is a platform used specifically for shopping research or gathering trendy ideas on how to use products. Seventy percent of users turn to Pinterest to “get inspiration on what to buy.”

So, how can you jump on board the Pinterest train? Try a Pinterest contest! Ecommerce businesses should take note because this type of engaging promotion is the way of the future.

Beauty Bridge worked with Brafton’s social teams to give its Pinterest boards a face-lift and wanted to show off the new look. Beauty Bridge is always ready to innovate with social media, and the company wanted to win more followers and build interactions on its pins while promoting its cosmetics.

Designing Spooking Beauty (a beauty industry Pinterest contest)

Spooky BeautyTo do something a little outside of the ordinary while taking advantage of the fall holidays, Brafton launched an organic Pinterest Halloween contest for the company. “Spooky Beauty” was designed to be a unique campaign that combined the company’s makeup products with Pinterest users love of DIY to generate brand exposure, social traffic and conversions.

The contest asked entrants to create a personal Spooky Beauty board containing eight pins that create the ultimate Halloween costume! At least three pins needed to include Beauty Bridge products that contribute to the look. The prize was set as a $100.00 Visa Gift Card as well as a Spooky Secret Prize (the products used as pins)!

The first step to this contest is following the Spooky Beauty board on the Beauty Bridge Pinterest page. The board offers guideline on what each entrant’s final board should look like. A contest-specific landing page was added to the site to engage cross-web traffic, clarify the rules and – as you’ll see – ensure entrants went back to the conversion-optimized brand site.

Here are the guidelines we gave for this contest – and what you can learn from them for your own!

  • Entrants had to follow the Spooky Beauty board and were encouraged to follow Beauty Bridge. (This is a terrifyingly great way to increase followers on Pinterest.)
  • To be eligible for the prizes, contestants must create their own “Spooky Beauty” board on their personal page. (This ensures entrants’ followers see their boards for product exposure and overall brand reach. Once any Pinterest user pins something, their followers are exposed to it via the Pinterest newsfeed, similar to Facebook. This can help a branded pin go viral.)
  • The pins can contain costume ideas, makeup inspiration or hairdos that the individual would like to replicate this Halloween. (This keeps the components relevant to the beauty industry, while inviting broader style ideas to put the products in conversation with a look or trend that’s seasonal!) Check out the entry to the right.
  • Within each pin description the entrant must include the hashtags #SpookyBeauty and #BeautyBridge. (These hashtags help promote the contest and the brand within the network and make it easy for users to discover via the Pinterest’s internal search. To optimize this experience you can have users hashtag not only your brand name but also your product names!)
  • Once the board is complete the participant must submit the board to the Beauty Bridge landing page. (This directs Pinterest users back to the brand’s site, where they are exposed to plenty more products that might pique their interests.) 

The way that Spooky Beauty was set up has a lot of added advantages for the company to boost brand exposure, conversions and overall social presence. Ideally, a contest will be as promotional as possible without spamming users! Pinterest is the perfect network to do this because it is full of millions of products, and users want to learn about what they can buy.

Promoting the contest

Spreading the word about Spooky Beauty was key because Pinterest contests are so new to social media. Creating an infographic that explains the rules is a great first step. The graphic can be shared across the web, and participants can pin this image to their boards to remember the rules or share with their friends.Beauty Bridge contest promotion on Facebook

For companies active on other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook or Google+, cross promotion will be a brand’s best friend. Often, active social users will search for contest and free giveaways. (Brafton has reported that as many as 66 percent of Twitter users say they follow brands to learn about promotions.) Using the hashtags “#win,” “#free” and “#contest” will help the contest become searchable within Twitter and Google+ to boost visibility beyond existing followers. (Brafton followed this approach for Spooky Beauty!)

Using social bookmarking sites, contest sites and industry niche sites will also increase visibility. Brafton spread the word about Spooky Beauty across a number of cosmetics-focused contest sites. For brands in any industry, sites like StumbleUpon, Reddit, BizSugar and Delicious are great too. 

Beauty Bridge contest promotion on Twitter

The key to any contest is appealing to the right audience. Expose a contest to people who are willing to enter and people who are likely to do continued business.Also, sending emails to loyal customers with the link to the contest landing page is a great way to engage current clients. Remember: Contests are not only aimed at building exposure with new audiences. They’re great ways to reward existing customers with a potential gift!

Measuring the contest – and scary-good results

In just three weeks Beauty Bridge more than doubled its Pinterest followers. The company will continue to interact with these users and share product-focused pins with them well after the Halloween season passes. With more than unique 500 contest pins, the exposure for Beauty Bridge’s products was fantastic – especially considering this contest is free to set up.

Contest landing page

Moreover, the Pinterest entrants all visited the Beauty Bridge website by virtue of the contest’s set up. It wasn’t just pinners who landed on the contest page, either. The Spooky Beauty website page became a top five landing page during the month of the contest, drawing traffic from Facebook, Twitter and the various online sweepstakes sites where the contest was promoted.

The contest helped the company collect hundreds of email addresses, highlighting new leads. Plus, Spooky Beauty landing page visitors took the initiative and proved to be interested in the company’s wide range of offerings. They spent quadruple the time on site as average, non-contest-oriented site visitors and the majority of this traffic went on to view product pages, with nearly 10 percent clicking to the company’s premium style kits (one of their more high-end and expensive offerings). 

A Pinterest contest like Spooky Beauty can happen year round. It’s an amusing and unique way to engage audiences, giving a brand the ability to incorporate products in a creative, seasonal trend. With these interactive campaigns becoming more popular every day, it’s important to try one! If you’ don’t have a Pinterest page yet, launching one with a contest is a great way to build a fast presence. If you do have a Pinterest page, contests are an even better way to intrigue existing followers, reach new audiences and bring Pinners closer to your products!

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Rachel Dobinski is a social media strategist at Brafton in Boston. She went to college at Southern New Hampshire University in Manchester, where she studied Communications with a double minor in Graphic Design and Public Relations. Rachel considers herself a part-time social media nerd and a full-time life adventurer.
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