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May 08, 2014
Case Study

Social Media Marketing: Fashion Week 'trend jacking' achieves 21 million entries for clothing brand's social media contest

SUMMARY: Clothing brand maurices had a passionate audience on social media, but during Fashion Week 2014, it saw an opportunity to expand its digital exposure. Using an incentivized social media campaign, the marketers engaged customers on Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook.

In this case study, see how maurices' marketers were able to achieve 21 million entries into their contest, converting social media entrants by 62%.
by Courtney Eckerle, Manager of Editorial Content

CHALLENGE

At the beginning of this campaign, the digital exposure for clothing brand maurices was more limited than the marketing team would have liked.

"The maurices brand fits naturally with the millennial consumer audience, and we wanted to engage these fans more effectively in social channels," said Amy Pillsbury, Social Media Coordinator, maurices.

The team had already acquired a passionate audience that interacted regularly with the brand and shared content socially, but this group wasn't as prolific as maurices believed it could be. To address this challenge, the team saw an opportunity to take advantage of the social media interest maurices' audience had around Fashion Week 2014 in early February.

The timing of this campaign allowed maurices to engage with consumers with "some fun and interactive elements. Our objectives were to engage new fans and encourage repeated interactions," Pillsbury said.

The team saw the potential to get in touch with new customers and further engage with the existing audience by "trend jacking" Fashion Week buzz and inserting their brand’s social media incentive in social sharing.

The objectives for the team were to "drive viral growth and generate increased referrals across email, mobile and social channels," she said.

CAMPAIGN

To reach its goal of driving fan acquisition and increasing overall brand engagement during Fashion Week 2014 in social media channels, maurices used an incentive campaign.

Integrated throughout its marketing channels, the campaign was centered on the brand's social media accounts.

Visitors were encouraged to enter the contest by connecting with maurices' various social media accounts, including Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook or Twitter. Entrants could also earn additional entries by subscribing to the company's email list.

The more channels customers signed up for, the more entries they had in the contest, upping the odds of winning the grand prize.

"Up for grabs — a $1,000 gift card — an amazing bounty for the fashion-conscious 20-somethings that frequent maurices' casual clothing and career apparel,” Pillsbury said.

Step #1. Build the parameters of the incentive campaign

"We wanted to increase our fan base across social networks authentically and in a fun, easy way that had a great incentive for fans with the gift card prize," Pillsbury said about the approach to the campaign.

The gift card reward was decided on because the team wanted to incentivize the audience to enter, and refer their friends.

"It seemed like a great chunk of money to update your wardrobe and feel like you could get a lot," she said.

It was decided that when a customer entered, the form would be slightly "gamified" to increase entries depending on what channels they signed up for. The bottom totaled the entries, and had a countdown to when the winner would be picked.

Signing up for maurices' mailing list to receive news and promotions equaled 100 entries into the contest, and following the brand on social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest — all were worth 25 entries each.

Step #2. Build the contest into marketing channels

This was the first campaign by maurices that incorporated all of its social media channels, and because of that, maurices didn't want to change the content too much from platform to platform.

For instance, a "Fashion Week Chic" board was created on Pinterest, but much of the content shared was the same as other platforms.

The team built this text to serve as the encouragement to accompany a promotional photo with the maurices logo across all social media:

"Enter for a chance to WIN a $1,000 gift card. Happy Fashion Week!"

However, for maurices biggest social media platform, Facebook, a custom tab was created on the page so the audience could easily navigate to the contest. It featured a different maurices promotional creative, but the same text with an addition of: "Like to get started."

Since this campaign was centered on social media, a mobile-friendly entry page was created, as the team anticipated that many people would come in through apps — especially Instagram users.

Ensuring the entry form would be responsive on mobile was also an important factor since the team sent out an email to maurices' current email subscribers, encouraging them to enter the contest.

Email is a "very valuable channel for us," Pillsbury said, and as this was the first effort across the brand's social media platform, the team wanted to try to bring their engaged email subscribers over to become active in the social media sphere as well.

Partner with relevant blogs

The content team partnered with fashion bloggers to promote and write about maurices' clothes during Fashion Week, and drive those blog readers back to the contest.

The blog posts were also shared across all of maurices' social media channels so they could be shared and liked by fans.

In particular, the brand partnered with fashion bloggers GabiFresh and Carly Cristman, who provided the brand with photography of maurices' outfits they had put together and were wearing on the streets of New York City.

The brand then used those images across the social media sites to promote the Fashion Week campaign and draw attention to the contest. The objective of using the images from fashion blogs was to show that with the $1,000 gift card prize, the winner could assemble a similar look.

Step #3. Keep social media simple

An original idea of the campaign had been to possibly garner some user-generated content to engage fans in that way, but when the team entered the campaign, they realized it was necessary to readjust.

"Initially, we thought we'd incorporate user-generated content out of the gate. That turned out to be more than we needed. The strategy emerged pretty quickly once we started working on a game plan," Pillsbury said.

The marketing team needed to engage with a relevant audience and engage fans — asking too much, too soon, like trying to get consumers to submit content, could create friction.

"User-generated content could certainly be in the cards for the future but as a first campaign, keeping it simple — with actions such as [Facebook] 'likes' — worked really well for us," she said.

The team kept these simple interactions motivated by continuing to post throughout the campaign, with posts ranging from the original contest promotional picture to the blog photography from the brand partnership with bloggers.

For instance, on the last day of the contest, the team posted the contest promotional picture on Instagram with a caption reading: "Last day to enter to win $1,000! Good luck! #sweeps"
That post alone collected more than 400 likes and 22 comments.



RESULTS

"We are committed to doing whatever is going to be the most relevant and inspiring to our fans," Pillsbury said.

Having a social strategy that is "both authentic and active is important. … We didn't want to just gin up our follower count for no brand or customer purpose. We wanted to genuinely connect with socially savvy individuals that have an affinity with the maurices brand," she added.

Maurices is newer to significant social engagement than some brands, according to Pillsbury, but "our initial effort was a pretty huge success," and the results it was able to garner are:
  • 21 million contest entries

  • 62% social conversion rate

  • More than 2,300 Instagram "likes" for campaign posts

  • More than 400 customer shares for the "Fashion Week Chic" board on Pinterest

"We think [the campaign’s success] is because we believe relevance is really critical in social. … And ultimately, we are seeing conversion results well above 50%. That's a wonderful result from a first foray into socially engaging people," she concluded.

Creative Samples

  1. Contest entry

  2. Pinterest post

  3. Custom Facebook tab

  4. Blogger post

  5. Instagram post

Campaign Team

maurices
Amy Pillsbury, Social Media Coordinator

Smartify
Sara Ost, Director of Marketing
Prity Patel, Vice President of Client Services

Related Resources

Social Media: How to turn customers into brand advocates

Social Media Marketing: Travel company uses Facebook as a tool for generating testimonials

Social Media Marketing: How a sporting goods company increased Facebook reach 366%

Social Media Integration: Holiday campaign increases Kahlúa's Pinterest followers 1,432%

Inbound Marketing: The top 9 MarketingSherpa case studies and how-to articles showcasing 2013 trends and tactics

Social Media How-to: 3 ideas for building engaging visual social media

Social Media Marketing: An inside look at Neiman Marcus' Pinterest and blogger relations strategies
Why Social Media is the New Customer Service Hotline

Content Marketing: How to serve customers when they shouldn't buy from you


See Also:

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