A couple of weeks ago, Christine and I had a great shopping experience at Old Khaki, we found some great shoes and also came across a Facebook competition we could not pass by. Christine wrote a post about the shoes and the reason why you had to go and ‘like’ a photo we posted to enter the competition on their Facebook page.
(suggest you read it to see the context of this post)
Having a passion for the Internet and social media, I kept a keen eye on the competition and how Old Khaki would be using the campaign to build their business.
I must admit that I obviously had a subjective, biased view on the running of the campaign, as our entry was leading the pack quite tremendously initially and I was very keen to embark on a R5000 shopping spree (this was the prize money awarded to the photo entry with the most ‘likes’ by the end of the month)
We entered the competition quite early in the month and felt great about our 100 plus ‘likes’ we have received from friends after they have read our ‘story’ about the shoes and ‘liking’ our photo. By the 25th of the month however, it became obvious that we were out ‘liked’ – some late entries exceeded our votes by quite a bit and our entry, together with the other couple of entries were now are a considerable loss and obviously out of the running as the top three entries had over 300 votes by the end of the month. The winner having over 500 likes and being the obvious winner!
Somehow however, the fun and exhilaration of winning a possible R5000 shopping spree and seeing the ‘likes’ on our photo (and the Old Khaki Facebook Page) increase daily, left a bitter taste in my mouth when everything was said and done. And the taste was definitely not due to sour grapes because of losing the competition. Even though the thought of spending R5000 at a store we love so much still sounds like fun 🙂
I felt Old Khaki missed out on a tremendous opportunity and fell victim to the short term allure of social media buzz. Was this campaign a success? I think it definitely seems so, as their page ‘likes’ increased considiberaly within 30 days as every vote or ‘like’ had to ‘like’ the Old Khaki page first. (the majority of the likes happening in the last 10 days of the competition) Anybody who understands the value of an audience would count the R5000 prize money (actually less as the goods are obviously sold at cost) as marketing money very well spent. And not only has the likes increased, but Old Khaki has also received tremendous market research information, as the Facebook page Insights would reveal the age, sex, location interaction etc of every one of the couple of thousand new people who now likes the Old Khaki page. Campaign success!? I’m not so sure…
The goal of social media is not to create an audience. It is to create conversations, interactions and evangelists of your brand. Surely, everyone who has entered the competition (about 20 people entered) told their friends about Old Khaki. Even if only for the purpose of winning the competition, not because they are in love with Old Khaki. This is great, as now other people were telling their friends and family about Old Khaki and the need to like the Facebook page. Sadly, the entire campaign remained a one sided event from the entrants side.
Throughout the course of the month that our entry was active (receiving 159 likes and 32 comments) Old Khaki only interacted with me 2 times in the comments area of the photo entry. The first time almost 2 weeks after the entry was posted and the second time to encourage me to get more likes. They omitted to respond to any of our Old Khaki related tweets, personally on my Facebook page, the original blog post or even an old school email) Many of the other entries were completely ignored. (Some of the more popular posts did also get an encouraging comment or two from Old Khaki)
I feel that Old Khaki wanted my friends to like them, missing out on the chance to make more people love them.
Remember, that every person who entered the competition were a customer already, as you had to make a purchase to get the ‘Like’ sticker to include on your photo entry. They took the time to interact with the Facebook page and also to tell all their friends via Facebook, Twitter, Blog Posts, real life and whatever other means to get as many people possible to like the Old Khaki page. This is already showing dedicated effort from customers to spread the word of Old Khaki in a time when even a comment or a tweet could be considered effort. Then it is sad to think that more effort was put into the campaign by Old Khaki’s fans than Old Khaki themselves…
To be honest, Old Khaki probably did not do anything wrong. I do not expect them to reward every entrant with a prize as this would defeat the purpose of having a ‘competition’, nor did i have any reason to expect more when i entered the competition as this is the format most traditional competitions take anyway (you enter by SMS, phone, mail etc and hope you win). But i am convinced that they are missing out on the tremendous opportunities that are available for companies willing to embrace social media and building meaningful relationships with their customers and fans.
Well done to Old Khaki for taking the initiative to start using social media as a means to reach out to customers and fans. But don’t let this opportunity be missed by only creating an audience, instead of building relationships with passionate brand evangelists.
UPDATE: if you go to the Old Khaki Facebook page today, you will notice another campaign being run – The entire wall is filled with fans writing the phrase “Kim Gray Competition”. I am not sure what the terms of the competition is as i cannot find it anywhere. All i can see is a mass of people talking about their entries with no conversation at all between Old Khaki and the ‘fans’. The start of another missed opportunity?