Ikea, the world’s largest furniture retailer, has been effectively utilizing social media as a marketing tool for years. The brand has produced some famous, and rather unique, social media campaigns over the years, primarily on Facebook.
In 2009 Ikea turned to Facebook to promote the opening of a new store in Malmo. The marketing team created a Facebook profile for the store manager and uploaded pictures of Ikea showrooms to his profile. The first Facebook user to tag himself or herself to a product in the picture would win that product. The brilliance of this campaign was that it spread to Facebook users who didn’t visit Ikea’s page. According to a study done by comScore Social Essentials, Facebook “users are 40 to 150 times more likely to consume branded content in the Newsfeed than to visit the Fan Page itself.” Every time a user is tagged in a photo that photo shows up on the newsfeed of all of the user’s Facebook friends. So naturally, the message spread quickly. The campaign effectively created a lot of buzz about Ikea and its opening store. It also granted Ikea a low-cost way to promote their products. Rather than printing and mailing catalogs, the entire catalog was uploaded online and shared by thousands of Facebook users.
This was just one of several Facebook giveaways by Ikea. The retailer also allowed 100 people to stay the night in a U.K. store in response to the popular Facebook page: “I wanna have a sleepover in Ikea.” There were many activities and giveaways at the sleepover. The store also had a sleep expert on hand to provide the 100 guests with advice on how to choose the right mattress (hopefully from Ikea!).
Ikea has had other Facebook promotions as well. A couple won a wedding at an Ikea store through Facebook, and others won a bedroom makeover from Ikea by posting photos of their rooms on Ikea’s Facebook page.
Ikea has created a reputation for itself on Facebook over the years. A key factor to this may be that the retailer has separate accounts for its different markets. The Facebook page for U.S. Ikea is separate from the page for U.K. Ikea. A benefit to this is that they are able to address different issues only when and where they are of concern. This also helps give the pages a more local, personal feel.
What makes Ikea so unique in their social media approach is that they gear their efforts toward customer loyalty. Most retailers focus on product promotion, or customer interaction. Ikea incorporates both of these goals into their strategy, but in a way that benefits the consumer. By responding to customer feedback, and having contests and promotions, customers want to be more involved with the brand. It would be hard to believe that a couple who got married in Ikea would want to buy furniture anywhere else. Similarly, customers who have had good experiences with Ikea online, and who have reaped the benefits of the several contests and promotions are likely going to be loyal customers for life. Ikea has uncovered the secret to not only attracting customers, but keeping them as well.