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Harry & David sweetens sales via interactive social media contest

Gourmet gifts retailer Harry & David is driving sales for festive occasions by rolling out a new social media contest, asking Instagram and Twitter followers to share their favorite holiday flavors and traditions for a chance to win a prize.

Harry & David is inviting its social media followers to upload images of favorite holiday flavors or food traditions via the #TastetheHolidays hashtag, a strategy that will undoubtedly result in an uptick of followers. Four individuals will be selected to receive the grand prize, a $1,000 gift card to Harry & David, while a slew of others may be inspired to purchase some of the retailer’s famed gift baskets for loved ones ahead of the New Year.

“The sweepstakes looks like a good opportunity to increase brand visibility across Instagram and Twitter by leveraging user-generated content,” said Danica Jones, marketing manager at ConsumerAffairs. “I was surprised to see the relatively low number of followers on both the Instagram and Twitter accounts relative to the presence of the brand during the holiday seasons, and I anticipate this will help it generate more social media engagement on Instagram in particular by targeting Instagram users focused on sharing and following lifestyle content.

“A follow-up campaign across both channels using sponsored posts may be a good way to get new and current audience members to sign up for a newsletter, or encourage users to take advantage of special offers and new products being released by the brand.”

Whipping up food frenzies
Consumers deep in the throes of baking for the holidays will likely find it easy to snap a photo of their confectionery creation and upload it to Instagram or Twitter alongside the designated contest hashtag. Those who choose to peruse the feed of others’ images may be prompted to check out Harry & David’s mobile site for last-minute gift inspiration.

The holiday-themed sweepstakes runs through December 31, and will see four grand prize winners selected. Each will receive the $1,000 gift card to spend with the retailer, which offers popular treats such as chocolate-covered strawberries as well as monthly gift clubs.

To enter the contest, users must visit on their smartphones, and make sure they are following the brand on Instagram and Twitter. The next step asks consumers to take a photo of their holiday foodie traditions or favorite flavors, and tag the post with #Sweepstakes and #TasteTheHolidays.

The @HarryandDavid Instagram or Twitter handle must be included in each post.

Harry & David will then choose its favorite pictures from throughout the contest, and randomly pick four winners to receive the grand prize.

There is also a small incentive for all sweepstakes participants. Entrants will receive a 10 percent off promotional code to use on their next order from Harry & David by March 31, 2016.

This type of reward is generally more optimal than providing different prizes for users of each social media application.

“Incentivizing campaign participation can be a tricky strategy, especially when requiring users to swap from one mobile app to another (especially when the two apps don’t play well with one another – for example, Instagram posts showing as links instead of visuals in Twitter),” Ms. Jones said. “Too much friction, and you reduce the likelihood of participants.

“Focusing on identifying how current customers engage and exploring app users who are participating in campaigns to see how the other campaigns function is a great way to identify the approaches generating the most buzz.”

Catering to taste buds
Harry & David is set to experience a surge in brand awareness on social media, which will likely translate into sales as consumers hunt for last-minute holiday gifts or presents for the New Year.

The campaign has an organic feel, thanks to the retailer’s expertise in recommending the best holiday snacks and treats.

Harry & David has also been engaging in a heavy push toward mobile, evidencing its desire to market to more millennials and social media-savvy customers.

Several weeks ago, the brand hoped to streamline the customer journey by focusing on boosting store locator and location pages on mobile search for easier consumer access (see story).

“To capture even more presence in mobile, there are ways to use third-party resources to capture potential customers who are actively seeking products like the offerings from Harry & David using mobile devices,” Ms. Jones said.

“In addition to engaging promotional campaigns across social media, I would recommend brands like Harry & David to consider actively engaging with consumers across review Web sites, which are used by consumers who are often higher-quality leads due to searches that indicate a higher intent to purchase,” she said.

“This strategy will expand its presence even more, and place the brand in channels likely to generate more lead conversions while providing customer engagement to prevent customer churn.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely, staff writer on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York