Home Depot launches social-media initiative

Atlanta: The Home Depot has unveiled its first-ever social media campaign to drive gift card sales during the holidays.

Atlanta: The Home Depot has unveiled its first-ever social media campaign to drive gift card sales during the holidays.

As part of The Home Depot $25,000 Holiday Gift Card Contest, consumers can submit video entries, at Homedepot.com/youtube, detailing the home-improvement projects they would like to undertake. The winner will receive a $25,000 gift card to help pay for their project.

Manish Shrivastava, president of Home Depot Incentives, said it usually targets different mediums for campaigns, but felt it was time to throw its hat into the new-media ring in a significant way. He said the holiday season and this idea presented the perfect opportunity.

"We employ a wide variety of media and wanted to start incorporating this into our portfolio of media options," he said. "It's a good way for us to learn and see what works for us in this space and optimize it from there."

At the site, consumers can view neighbors' entries and discuss home-improvement projects on a community discussion board.

As of last week, Home Depot had gotten more than 100 qualified video entries, 2,000-plus customer engagement hours, 75,000 videos watched, and more than 80,000 page views. The effort is being promoted through media relations and blogger outreach.

It also launched the Light Up the Neighborhood promotion asking customers to share and discuss photos of their favorite holiday decorations at Homedepot.com/holidaylights. Consumers are asked to help judge the best entry, which will be awarded a $2,500 gift card.

Imre Communications, which has run traditional PR outreach for Home Depot in the past, is handling these efforts.

Will Zweigart, SAE at Imre, said an unanticipated benefit of the promotions is the consumer insight the company is getting.

"It's one thing to have a customer reply card showing what people are interested in," he said. "But to have the CEO watch videos of his customers talking about what they're interested in provides a unique level of insight that helps marry marketing and customer service internally."

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