How Kohl’s used Twitter trivia to stand out on Black Friday

By ‎@eleanordowling‎
Monday, 29 December 2014

When it comes to engaging with followers in real time, Twitter is Kohl’s (@Kohls) go-to platform. This past Black Friday, the retail brand continued its tradition of finding new ways to connect with consumers when it used a live broadcast integration as a launch pad for a week-long Twitter trivia contest. Not only did the campaign generate massive engagement, it helped fuel a 234% shift in percentage of positive sentiment for Kohl’s during Black Friday week*.

We spoke with Nate Koch, Social Marketing Planner at Kohl’s, who shared his main goal for Black Friday. “Finding a relevant, fun and consistent way to engage consumers was key,” Koch said. “We knew our followers loved sweepstakes, but we wanted a new type of contest, something different from what we’ve done in the past.”

Setting the scene during the #AMAs
The campaign’s success was rooted in early planning. Since the summer, Kohl’s received great results running Twitter campaigns aligned with the wildly popular Disney movie “Frozen.” As fall began, Kohl’s partnered with ABC and Disney for an integrated campaign during the American Music Awards (#AMAs), which aired the Sunday before Thanksgiving.

Kohl’s continued with the “Frozen” theme during the show by live-Tweeting and sponsoring TV spots featuring contestants singing “Let It Go,” helping cement its brand association with the film. Immediately after the broadcast, Kohl’s launched its Black Friday campaign in earnest – a clever strategy for owning the conversation, especially because research shows that Twitter users start holiday shopping earlier than non-users.

Launching the sweepstakes
“Because we already made the connection between Kohl’s and ‘Frozen’ during the #AMAs, we were uniquely positioned to continue the conversation in a highly relevant, natural way,” Koch shared.

To kick off the Black Friday trivia sweepstakes, Kohl’s used a mix of organic and Promoted Tweets to extend its reach and connect with new audiences. Tweets clearly stated the opportunity, prize and how to play, including attention-grabbing winter and “Frozen” themed visuals.

“For the earlier part of the week, we focused on Tweeting #AMAs and ‘Frozen’ trivia questions,” Koch began, “because that was the most natural way to continue the conversation from Sunday.”


Maintaining momentum
As the week continued, Kohl’s transitioned into trivia about seasonal facts and song lyrics, sprinkled with playful questions about Black Friday at Kohl’s.


“What really appealed to us about doing a Twitter trivia sweepstakes is that every day we could post different questions and keep the content fresh,” Koch explained. Before each new question was published, Kohl’s Tweeted a heads up to its followers so they knew to keep watching the handle.

This strategy encouraged people to come back, check Kohl’s Tweets and participate in the conversation every few hours. The result: consistent, branded conversation happening each day that week.

The success
During this week-long activation, Kohl’s saw massive engagement. The hashtag #KohlsSweeps trended organically every day that week because so many people were Tweeting about the trivia.

Kohl’s saw a 234% shift in percentage of positive sentiment during Black Friday week*. The brand also drove 64% of brand mentions during Black Friday week on the big shopping days. Compared to competitors, Kohl’s had a 39% share of voice, which placed the brand at the top of its competitive set for the month of November.

“We didn’t anticipate such incredible results,” Koch said. “We were able to maintain high engagement throughout the week, which was huge.”

Kohl’s said a big key to success was that this campaign made it easy for users to get involved. The formulaic strategy of Tweeting questions and answers at a regular cadence throughout the week ensured that users would return and participate again and again.

“Twitter has been the best place for us as a brand to join conversations and share content that’s relevant and valuable to our consumers.”

— Nate Koch, Social Marketing Planner at Kohl’s

“We’re getting more involved in live events and big integrations, so in 2015, social and Twitter will be at the forefront of those initiatives,” Koch said. “We will keep experimenting and pushing the envelope to engage with our followers in new, interesting ways.”

*Source: Crimson Hexagon, Nov. 1-23, 2014 (pre-Black Friday) vs. Nov. 24-30, 2014 (Black Friday Week).