Facebook sweepstakes pays off for Martha Stewart Living
Virtually everyone knows who Martha Stewart is. Like Oprah, she's one of those TV hosts whose first name alone is enough to identify her.
But the folks at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia weren't content to float by on name recognition when "The Martha Stewart Show" had its season premiere on the Hallmark Channel in the fall. The company turned to its Facebook fans to spread the word.
"Our Facebook fan base is pretty active, and they're very interested in the brand," says Sean Hendricks, senior project manager at Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. "We really wanted to reach that audience in particular, because they're a really loyal audience and they're super engaged."
Through a Facebook campaign billed as the "Ultimate Fan" sweepstakes, the company harnessed that engagement and pulled in new fans.
Creating the sweepstakes
To build the sweepstakes app, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia turned to SnapApp, a service that builds social media applications for brands.
"SnapApp has a really great quiz suite," Henricks says. "We had engaged with them to try to get to know about that a little more. We got to know them, and we were really impressed with the team we met there."
Once the relationship was forged, the team at Martha Stewart Living discovered that SnapApp also can build custom sweepstakes apps. In a few weeks' time, the app was up and running on Facebook.
"It was a pretty fast process," Hendricks says. "It kind of gets easier the more you do it."
Martha Stewart Living has conducted two additional sweepstakes since the Ultimate Fan contest, both of which only took a few days to put together, Hendricks says.
SnapApp built the Ultimate Fan sweepstakes to require Facebook users who didn't already "like" the Martha Stewart page to do so in order to enter. Though some companies who have tried "like" gateways have seen little engagement from fans looking to score a prize or a coupon, Hendricks says his experience was quite different.
"We haven't really seen a significant drop-off in any kind of way from doing that," he says. "We all feel pretty good for how that has worked for us."
Hendricks attributes the difference to the Martha Stewart audience and its fondness for the brand, as well as the varied content on the brand's Facebook page.
To enter the contest, users filled out a basic entry form that included a few questions about eligibility, says Hendricks. SnapApp randomly selected a winner from the entries and securely sent the results to Martha Stewart Living.
Prizes included a trip for two to see "The Martha Stewart Show" live, lunch at one of Martha Stewart's favorite restaurants, a hotel stay, and a facial.
Nearly 32,000 people entered the Ultimate Fan sweepstakes; that's out of about 57,000 who clicked on the contest tab. Of those who entered, about 19 percent shared it, inviting an additional 1,600-plus to enter.
Hendricks says most of that sharing took place upfront. During the entry process, fans could check a box to automatically post a Facebook update about the sweepstakes. The sweepstakes was "great for brand visibility" on Facebook, he says.
The importance of email
Email communication was "absolutely on par with Facebook and Twitter" for promoting the contest, Hendricks says. Martha Stewart Living regularly sent email blasts to newsletter subscribers reminding them of the sweepstakes. The number of entries spiked on days the email blasts went out.
"It speaks to how engaged and how loyal our audience is. We have a really good, solid email constituency," Hendricks says, though he didn't specify the extent of the company's email reach.
Entries to the sweepstakes also meant more email subscribers. About 77 percent of people who entered the contest signed up for one of two free newsletters and a preview issue of the Martha Stewart Living magazine. The company has an array of newsletters on topics including crafts, cooking, weddings, party organizing, and more, Hendricks says.
Martha Stewart Living will certainly use sweepstakes for Facebook publicity efforts in the future, he says, and may do so to announce Stewart's next TV project.