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What is Pinterest? What Are Pinterest Sweepstakes?

Learn more about Pinterest and how it's being used for sweepstakes.

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Logo of visual social media site, Pinterest.

Logo of visual social media site, Pinterest.

Image © Pinterest

What Is Pinterest?

According to About.com's Guide to Blogs, "Pinterest is a visual bookmarking website that allows you to "pin" images and videos that you find online and want to save or share with others onto virtual pinboards." You can visit Pinterest at www.Pinterest.com.

Pinterest allows you to store images in groups, or "pinboards." For example, you could have a pinboard for books you love, recipes you want to try, or even sweepstakes you have entered. Clicking on the images brings you to the website with the original article. This makes it very easy for you to find web pages that you want to revisit.

What makes Pinterest even more attractive for companies is that other people can see the images you've "pinned." If they want to try to make that recipe for chocolate cake you pinned, or enter that sweepstakes you've pinned, they can follow your links or repin your images onto their own pinboards.

How to Use Pinterest:

It's very easy to use Pinterest. Once you have an account, you install a button to your browser's toolbar. Then when you see an image you want to save, just click the button. You'll be asked which image you want to pin, which board you want to pin it to, and whether you want to leave any comments on your pin. It's that easy.

You can also browse pinboards created by your friends or people who are interested in the same topics as you. If you like something they've posted, you can repin it to one of your pinboards.

Want some inspiration for what to do once you've gotten started? See How to Use Pinterest to Win Sweepstakes.

Why Marketers Are Exploring Pinterest:

Companies are always looking for new ways to tell people about their products -- or better yet, get their fans to "evangelize", or tell their friends about those products, and social media marketing (SMM) is an increasingly popular method to encourage evangelism.

According to About.com's Small Business Canada Guide, social media marketing is "the attempt to use social media to persuade consumers that one's company, products and/or services are worthwhile."

Pinterest is a focus of many companies' SMM efforts for a number of reasons, including:

  • It's growing incredibly quickly. According to a TechCrunch article, Pinterest reached 11.7 million monthly visitors in February, meaning it crossed "the 10 million mark faster than any other standalone site in history."

  • It's very easy for people to share links to companies' products, and for other people to pick up those links and spread them. With luck, those links can "go viral." As About.com's Home Business Guide writes: "Viral marketing can be a very effective and inexpensive way to generate lots of interest in your business."

  • Pinterest is, well, kind of addictive. People are spending a lot of time on it (according to the TechCrunch article linked above, it's third behind only Facebook and Tumblr in terms of how much time spent using it). And companies want to position themselves where their fans are. It's similar to companies buying advertising time during television shows their customers are likely to watch, or buying billboards along roads their customers travel.

Pinterest Sweepstakes - How Companies Are Using Pinterest for Sweepstakes:

Since Pinterest is so new, companies are still playing around with the best way to use it to achieve their goals. Sweepstakes are one of the methods they're exploring. Some examples of Pinterest sweepstakes include asking people to create a pinboard showing favorite products from the company's site to enter. Another Pinterest sweepstakes tactic, being used by some blog contests right now, is to offer extra entries by creating a pinboard about the company sponsoring the sweepstakes, or by following a company's pinboards.

Should You Try Pinterest?

Pinboard is easy to use, fun, and free. You don't have to share much personal information to get an account, and there are several ways you can use it to help you win sweepstakes. So why not give it a try?

How to Sign Up with Pinterest:

Right now, Pinterest is invitation-only. You can either sign up to be waitlisted, in which case you'll receive an invitation from the company when they're ready (it took only a few days for me to receive my test invite), or you can ask someone you know who's already using Pinterest to invite you. If you don't know anyone on Pinterest, check out the Pinterest Invites discussion on the Sweepstakes Forum.

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