An advertising watchdog’s report found dozens of claims that it says were false and deceptive. Wal-Mart blames suppliers.
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The retailer spread word of the contest through consumers' organic sharing, e-mail blasts to its own distribution list, and via Facebook ads targeted at women 35 to 50 years old whose Facebook activity indicated they were interested in home décor. That tight focus on who Kirkland's appeals to helped the retailer retain 98% of the 203,000 Likes it attracted during the four-week promotion, says Tim McMullen, redpepper co-founder, meaning the consumers did not un-Like the retailer after the contest ended. "People say they don't like being marketed to, but actually, if it's relevant to them, people don't mind it," he says.
In addition to the contest, Kirkland's also posted a lot of relevant content, such as "inspiration boards" that detail how to tie together a number of non-matching pieces of furniture and décor. Those types of posts appeal to Kirkland's fan base—mainly middle-aged women—which gets them talking on the page. The number of comments and Likes during the 28-day window increased 503%, Krebs says. "Once we got people to Like our page, we knew how to take it from there."
Kirkland's and RetailMeNot both have seen their Facebook fan bases surge in the past year, thanks to marketing. Last January, RetailMeNot had less than 100,000 fans; it now has more than 1.51 million. Similarly, Kirkland's grew from about 60,000 to more than 320,000.
That kind of growth provides more opportunity to create additional buzz, says RetailMeNot's Bath. "The more people we can engage," he says, "the more we can build our brand."