Thursday, July 16, 2009

Social & Fun - A Winning Combination

More retailers are getting their toes wet with social media. And that's turning out to be fun and save money.

The recession has not been easy on most retailers, and marketing budgets have been slashed. Not to fear - social media is inexpensive and contests that emphasize fun over the value of the prize are winning customer hearts and minds these days.

Whole Foods is the latest to get with the program. The upscale grocery held a contest to hit the 1 million Twitter followers mark. But unlike the Lottery, where higher cash prizes fuel a Lotto frenzy, in Twitterdom, small gestures have a big impact. So, Whole Foods offered a million grains of quinoa and $50 gift card to the millionth follower.

According to Mike Duff's story on BNET Retail, they offered up 10 more $50 gift cards — and 50 more pounds of quinoa – as rewards for Twitter pals who could came up with clever five-word summaries of their food philosophies. The additional awards will be parceled out through the end of the contest period, which is Friday, but the first of the “micro-philosophies” winning a gift cards was: “Can you pronounce those ingredients?” Others entries that the company highlighted include “Peanut butter goes with everything.” And, my personal favorite: “Just say yes to chocolate.”

No doubt, many of these followers are not and will not become die-hard loyal customers. But a good number are or will, and their care and feeding is worth far more than a few hundred dollars. Oh, and since the retailer gave away Whole Foods gift cards, the money they spent comes back to the cash register, hopefully as partial payment on a much larger grocery tab.

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