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Belk triggers social, SMS engagement with photo-sharing sweepstakes

Southern department chain Belk is ramping up its social media initiatives and SMS opt-ins with a new marketing campaign that gives couples a chance to win money towards their wedding.

Belk has set up a microsite for the “Share Your Love Story” campaign that can be accessed via mobile, social media and the Web. The retailer is working with HelloWorld — formerly ePrize — on this campaign.

“I think as we see engagement strategies develop in our industry, the question is becoming less about ‘why mobile’ and more about, ‘how to best use mobile,’” said Sara Kowal, vice president of product innovation at HelloWorld, Pleasant Ridge, MI.

“In this case, Belk partnered with HelloWorld to create a rich customer engagement experience for its customer base that uses mobile as an integral part of the campaign, because that’s where most photos live these days,” she said.

Mobile love
To speed up the mobile submission, consumers can sync the Belk microsite with a Facebook account.

In addition to an email address and name, consumers have to select their wedding date on the form.

The microsite also includes big buttons along the bottom of the page that link to Belk’s social media platforms on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Google +.

There is also an option at the bottom of the registration page to opt-in to Belk’s SMS program.

The microsite pulls in Facebook, Flickr, Instagram tabs to let consumers select a photo. Alternatively, users can upload a photo from their mobile device’s built-in camera roll.

At the bottom of the page, consumers can title their images in 15 words.

Uploaded photos are then aggregated into a gallery of images that consumers can browse through.

The sweepstakes runs through Feb. 28.

The retailer will award one lucky couple a $20,000 event, including a private performance from singer Edwin McCain.

Additionally, Belk will give away seven $100 gift cards to participants.

The Share Your Love Story campaign fits into a bigger year-long initiative from Belk’s “Modern. Southern. Music.” campaign that focuses on the roots of music and the hottest new artists that are incorporated into the southern lifestyle.

Belk’s microsite

Driving engagement?
Belk has run a couple of similar campaigns over the past year.

Last year, the department store celebrated the 125th anniversary of its brand with a sweepstakes that gave consumers the chance to win a prize everyday from March 11 – July 12.

The campaign generated 220,000 registrants, and 13.1 percent of participants opted in to receive ongoing SMS messages after the campaign ended (see story).

Additionally, Belk launched a holiday campaign this year with a gift-giving app (see story).

“Belk is continuously looking for ways to engage with consumers and build stronger connections between their brand and the consumer,” Ms. Kowal said.

“People use their phones to capture moments, and a campaign like Share Your Love gives consumers a reason to share those moments with others through a branded contest,” she said.

“These opportunities build relationships and connections between the brand and the consumer. Making it available through mobile devices allows Belk to be where the consumers are and make it easy for them to engage because it fits into their lifestyle.”

Final Take
Lauren Johnson is associate reporter on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York