The past two days I have been reaching out to local bloggers inviting them to a Queens Museum event and was really pleasantly surprised to see the positive responses I received from them. I just read an article posted by MediaPost that described a social marketing campaign of Kmart, which I feel is really smart and more or less along the lines of what I had been doing for the Museum.
Kmart asked the help of six bloggers who are influencers in their field to participate in a sponsored social networking campaign. The company gave each of six influential bloggers a $500 gift certificate to go on a shopping spree in the store and then blog about their shopping experiences in any way they saw fit. The bloggers clearly disclosed this sponsored arrangement in their respective postings. The contest also includes a give away in which one community member from each of the six blog will win another $500 gift card good toward a Kmart shopping spree. To enter the contest, blog readers just needed to leave a comment on the influencer’s blog about consisting of a holiday wish list of items totaling under $500 that are carried at Kmart or use Twitter to tweet the message provided on each blog's posting area.
I think this is extremely smart of Kmart and a very cost efficient way of increasing awareness for the company. The $6000 investment in gift cards will look like pennies compared to the awareness and life long customer retention not only by the influencing bloggers, but by those who read the blogs as well. The article goes on to describe how Kmart measures it’s Social Media Index (SMI), an online conversation measurement system to track their "share of social voice" against the shares of Sears and JC Penney. As of two days ago, Kmart has increased its SMI 59% from one month ago, and is now ahead of JC Penney and making strides towards Sears! Also, as of Dec. 5, the Kmart initiatives had resulted in more than 2,000 related comments across the six blogs, more than 2,500 contest entries via tweets, and collective reach across the blogs and Twitter to be approximately 500,000 people!
Kudos to Kmart for delving into the blogger community and being 100% transparent with the bloggers and allowing them to write freely about what they actually think of the company. Other companies should take note and may learn a thing or two from Kmart.