February 17, 2010
Case Study

Social Media Giveaway Campaign Lifts Sales 15%: 6 Steps

SUMMARY: Social media is built for sharing, which makes it a prime channel for spreading the word about promotions. But when you provide an incentive for sharing, the promotion has an even better chance of going viral.

See how a retailer created a product giveaway campaign that required social media users to engage on Facebook or re-tweet messages on Twitter to qualify for drawings. Not only did they significantly grow their social media followers, but for some products, sales increased 15%.

Gary Wohlfeill, Creative Director, Moosejaw, and his team have always taken a unique approach to outdoor gear and apparel retailing. Customers love the company’s quirky call-waiting music, and silly content found throughout their site.

The team’s devoted customers -- particularly the younger segments -- often connect with the brand though multiple channels, such as Twitter, Facebook, email and mobile SMS. Under-30 email subscribers were also more likely than others to participate in contests, recommend Moosejaw to a friend, browse content on the site, and buy.

"The more comfortable our customers are at using multiple channels to engage with us, the more the average number of orders they place goes up, as well as their willingness to recommend us to their friends and family," Wohlfeill says.

The team made a decision late last year to reward these highly-engaged, under-30 customers. But they also wanted a campaign to encourage more customers to connect with the brand through multiple channels -- in hopes of creating more of the repeat buyers they were seeking.


Wohlfeill and his team created a sweepstakes promotion called "20 Days of Decent Giveaways." They ran the effort during December through social media channels to encourage the audience to connect with the brand there and share the information with friends.

Here are the steps they followed:

Step #1. Select the prizes

The team needed a large number of prizes to sustain a 20-day effort. They gathered about 35 different items, Wohlfeill says. Two decisions guided their selection:

- Upcoming products

The team mostly selected prizes from products they sold, particularly products they planned to promote in the upcoming season, Wohlfeill says. Any excitement the event generated about those items could encourage future sales.

The team secured some giveaways from vendors, and dipped into their warehouse stock. They planned to give away at least one product a day for 20 days. Some days they’d give away two products, and on others they’d give away 10 of the same product.

"When you’re giving one or two away a day, the upside far outweighs the downside of eating the cost of that item," Wohlfeill says.

- Brand-appropriate nonsense

The team’s business approach and brand is somewhat nonsensical, and their audience loves it, says Wohlfeill. Keeping with this brand approach, prizes such as a fabled wooden squirrel and a random inflatable zebra were included in the giveaways.

Step #2. Set rules to encourage social interaction

The team ran the contest through Facebook and Twitter. To enter the contest, a person had to comment on a thread announcing a giveaway in Facebook, or re-tweet a message announcing a giveaway on Twitter.

After an announcement, the team accepted entries for a very limited time, such as 30 or 45 minutes. They gathered the entries and used a random number generator to select winners.

"Usually for contest like these, you take a week to get entries, but we wanted to make this fast-paced, especially because Twitter has such immediacy," Wohlfeill says.

- Experiment with the format

Some contests could only be entered through one channel. Other contests allowed entries from both Facebook and Twitter. The team wanted to mix it up, Wohlfeill says, to encourage people to follow the brand on both channels if they weren’t already.

"We knew we had a huge following on Facebook," he says. "We wanted to see how many people we could get to hang out with us on both channels."

- Grand prize

The team also gave away a $1,000 shopping spree. As opposed to other prizes, contestants had to fill out a form on the team’s website to register for this giveaway.

The form asked contestants for contact information, and allowed them to gain up to five additional entries in the contest by forwarding the page to up to five friends.

Step #3. Time the event for maximum impact

The team intended to start the effort in December to coincide with the holiday shopping season. They wanted to ensure winners would receive prizes in time for the holiday, in case they wanted to use them for gifts.

At first, the team planned to end the contest by awarding the $1,000 shopping spree prize. However, they realized that the last day of the contest would be around Dec. 23 -- hardly enough time for the winner to shop, receive and give so many products. They pushed up the date to give the winner about 10 days to spend the prize money.

Step #4. Promote to the most likely participants

The team started promoting the 20 Days of Decent Giveaways about a week and a half before the contest.

They did not purchase advertising. Instead, they sent their message to audiences that were most likely to engage in the contest. Here’s how they used their major communication channels:

- Facebook and Twitter

As the main channels for the contest, the team mentioned the event at least once a day leading up to the event.

- Website

The team’s homepage has a large area that rotates through several images. Leading up to the event, the team created an image promoting the contest and placed it in the first position. After the contest’s launch, they moved the image to a secondary position.

The team also mentioned the effort in the quirky "Madness" section of their site, where visitors often go to find amusing content. The team also placed an image featuring the contest in a section of their site navigation designed to accommodate images.

- Email

The team sent a single email announcing and describing the upcoming contest. They later included two banner ads promoting the contest in two email newsletters.

Step #5. Announce start and tweak rules

The team sent this message to their Twitter and Facebook profiles early on Dec. 4:

"First giveaway starts today at 2:00pm EST. Be sure to be around then for your chance to win. LTM Lola"

- Facebook start

Then, at 2 p.m. they sent this message to Facebook:

"First Giveaway: We’re giving away 5 pairs of Moosejaw Renton and Latika fleece jackets. Reply to this post to enter. We'll pick 5 random winners in 30 minutes. Good luck. LTM Lola"

The post received 715 comments.

- Twitter start

The team sent this message to their Twitter followers at 2 p.m. ET:

"We’re giving away 5 pairs of Moosejaw Renton & Latika Fleece Jackets. Retweet #WINMJFLEECE to enter to win. We’ll pick 5 randoms at 2:30 EST"

- Announce winners

The team announced the winners in both channels to "close the loop," Wohlfeill says. They contacted winners on their network of entry, sent an email address and asked for their contact information.

- Tweak rules

Early on, one person re-tweeted a message dozens of times to increase his chances of winning. The team reached out to the person, asked him to stop, and also notified the person who made the original complaint. Both parties were easy to work with, Wohlfeill says. The team changed their rules to prevent others from trying the tactic.

Step #6. Have team members ready to respond

The contest generated a deafening buzz on the team’s social media pages. People asked questions, begged to win prizes and talked about the products and the brand.

Having team members to respond to these messages was essential to keeping the process running smoothly and keeping the audience happy. Dedicating one person to manage each social channel is recommended.

"We saw this as a success," says Wohlfeill. "We’d have up to 2,000 entries in that time of space for a [single] product."

- The team captured 45% more Twitter followers during the effort, bringing their total to more than 5,600.

- They also captured 31% more Facebook fans, bringing their total to more than 20,000.

- Sales for products the team used as prizes increased 10% to 15% during the effort.

- They received great feedback.

"Instead of just a customer re-tweeting a single tweet, or replying something random [in Facebook], they really got into it and talked about why they liked the product, why it’s a good product, why they love the brand, and why they love Moosejaw," Wohlfeill says. "It’s great to get that out there."

Useful links related to this article

Creative Samples from Moosejaw’s social media giveaway campaign

Twitter 'Teaser' Campaign Supports One-Day Sale: 5 Steps to a 4% Conversion from Tweets

Email and Social Media Integration: 5 Strategies to Grow Audiences and Design Campaigns
Moosejaw on Facebook

Moosejaw on Twitter


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