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Target scares up Halloween sales with Instagram treats

In a reflection of Target’s growing Instagram strategy, the retailer is treating the social media site’s users to do-it-yourself Halloween content, including recipes, decorations and craft projects.

Fans of the fall holiday will be able to virtually explore the “Halloween Hills” fantasy neighborhood on Instagram, which is geared towards adult consumers looking for creative ideas. To access Halloween Hills, users must follow @Target on Instagram.

“Halloween is an important time of year for our guests and one that drives a lot of conversation in social,” said Angie Thompson, social media PR manager at Target, Minneapolis, MN. “So we saw this as a great opportunity for us to authentically engage with our guests by offering the inspiration they were looking for, in a uniquely social way.

“For this campaign, we had both our Instagram user in mind as well as the traditional Target guest. We think the campaign will appeal to anyone from parents looking for fun crafts to do with their kids, to someone who is hosting a Halloween party or looking for easy DIY projects for their home.”

Shadowy delights
Target, which has recently undertaken an overhaul of its mobile strategy and introduced a slew of new standalone apps and updated mobile sites this month, believes that social media is one of the most effective ways to connect with its fans.

Consumers will be able to unlock 30 DIY recipes and craft projects within the experience, which consists of a virtual neighborhood on Instagram comprising of illustrated haunted houses and their spooky inhabitants.

After a trick-or-treater taps on one of the homes, they can select a “trick” or “treat” once the designated tags appear. Users will then be “invited” into one of the homes to access the recipe or project, which includes step-by-step photo tutorials. Some of the family-friendly snacks and crafts include a homemade “Mummy Pinata,” filled with festive treats, and brightly frosted “Cauldron Cupcakes.”

The Mummy Pinata can be made by simply using an inflated balloon filled with candy, and taping horizontally cut pieces of paper onto it to resemble a wrapped mummy.

“Within the experience is a hidden easter egg account called ‘Bullseye’s Closet’ filled with pet costume ideas,” Ms. Thompson said. “This profile is supported by ‘Like2Buy’ technology, which allows users to purchase the product from their Instagram account.”

Consumers who make the projects or recipes are encouraged to upload photos of their work onto Instagram using the hashtag #HalloweenHills. Target’s Instagram page sees many new followers each week, so users can check back periodically to view new photos or haunted houses.

Building mobile strategy
Target has placed a heavy focus on bolstering its mobile strategy ahead of the upcoming holiday season (see story). The retailer has also been incorporating Instagram posts into its mobile and desktop sites.

Consumers that purchase outfits or accessories from Target can upload them to Instagram with the #TargetStyle hashtag, and may receive a message from the retailer asking for permission to post it on the Instagram feed built into the mobile and Web site.

Other components of the strategy include a standalone pharmacy app designed for easy prescription refills, a new mobile and iPad app for gift registries and two-step checkout on the mobile and Web sites.

All of the products and items displayed in the Halloween Hills experience can be purchased at Target. The brand hopes that it will entice families to visit stores to browse for more Halloween decorations, treats or costume ideas, or purchase the required items online.

“Social media plays a critical role in how we engage with our guests and each of our channels allows us to connect with guests in different, but equally important, ways,” Ms. Thompson said. “At Target, we’re always looking for ways to innovate to reach our guests in ways that are relevant to them.

“Halloween Hills is no exception – we developed the campaign to deliver creative, inspirational ideas to our Instagram followers in a way that’s never been done before. We really wanted to think outside the box and come up with something that would both surprise and inspire our guests.”

Final Take
Alex Samuely is an editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily, New York