For the 2014 holiday season, Big Lots' priority goals were to build awareness about its quality holiday décor products at a great value and to attract consumers into Big Lots' stores for an outstanding shopping experience. Big Lots and Sweeney worked hand-in-hand for a little over a month to plan and implement the first National Decorate Your Home for the Holidays Week (Nov. 16 – 23), a festive celebration that included inspirational decoration advice from top bloggers, consumer sweepstakes, a Twitter party and customer rewards. The comprehensive, multi-platform campaign employed social media, blogger relations and publicity and media relations to achieve awareness, excitement, engagement and conversations leading up to and including the nation's newest holiday week. The results were impressive. Thousands of consumers participated in the social media sweepstakes and the campaign achieved 80 million impressions overall.
Big Lots and Sweeney Marketing + Public Relations launched the #BIGHoliday campaign in November 2014 to inspire consumers to have a stress-free and fun time decorating for the holidays, and to expose Big Lots' new high quality holiday décor available at a low price point.
While the campaign was integrated with multiple marketing strategies, social media was at its core. The agency engaged key home/interior decorating digital influencers, and sourced holiday inspiration from consumers at the store level via a selfie sweepstakes across Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Seven leading bloggers were challenged to decorate a space in their home for the holidays using only $250 in merchandise from Big Lots' stores. The bloggers posted tips and tricks for decorating early, DIY projects and before/after images of their rooms that they transformed using Big Lots holiday décor.They shared this content across their blogs and social channels – and Big Lots integrated the content into their social strategy. The blogger strategy generated 9,046,946 total impressions in just a one-month span.
Social Media Strategy
The social media strategy included a daily diet of home décor inspiration from the #BIGHoliday bloggers, as well as Big Lots home décor photography for a peek at the merchandise, tips and tricks for decorating early to celebrate Big Lots' National Decorate Your Home for the Holidays Week. We also shared consumer-submitted selfies with their favorite holiday merchandise. Content was shared on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest, and the strategy included graphic creation, Flipagrams that tied into Big Lots #NailingThis Christmas TV commercial, and a paid social strategy involving Facebook sponsored posts and Twitter ads.
To kick-off National Decorate Your Home for the Holidays Week – a key event during the #BIGHoliday buzz, Big Lots hosted a Twitter Party with its #BIGHoliday bloggers to get in the holiday spirit and give consumers access to home decorating experts. Plus, giveaways included Big Lots shopping sprees. During the twitter party, #BIGHoliday was trending in the US and Big Lots experienced an increase of 830 total followers for Twitter, Facebook and Instagram the day of the event. The Twitter party led to 6,124 tweets using the hashtag #BIGHoliday, 2,166 retweets with the hashtag #BIGHoliday, 1,567 retweets of Big Lots tweets and 1,166 favorited Big Lots tweets.
An additional component of the #BIGHoliday campaign, was the selfie sweepstakes – which launched during National Decorate Your Home for the Holidays Week and ran until December 14, 2014. Consumers were asked to submit selfies on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter with their favorite merchandise at a Big Lots store with the goal of having consumers share images of the high quality holiday décor merchandise available at Big Lots. Sweeney developed the contest strategy, creative assets, social media posts, coordinated blog posts with the bloggers, drafted potential Q&As that may arise on social during the sweepstakes and tracked the results. The campaign resulted in 1,764 unique entries and 3,294 total entries.
Overall, the social media strategy led to a 156% increase in engagement on social channels from 11/2-12/14 compared to the previous period. Speciﬁcally, the company experienced a signiﬁcant increase in engagement on the following social media channels: Facebook: 141%, Twitter: 942% and Instagram: 286%.
Leveraging Other Marketing Strategies
While social media was a key component, Sweeney also used publicity and media relations to increase awareness and participation in the campaign. News releases, holiday tip sheets and a home décor guide were distributed to national consumer media. Bloggers were pitched on behalf of Big Lots as resources for their local print, digital and broadcast media. These efforts led to 39 local and national media placements and 72,171,189 media impressions. Bloggers who made appearances on local television news stations, such as Erika Ward on FOX Atlanta, helped Big Lots increase brand awareness and establish Big Lots as a holiday decorating resource.
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