The holiday season is known for spreading cheer, but in the retail sector, it’s also known for spreading sales. In fact, holiday sales typically account for between 20 and 30 percent of retailers’ annual sales. With ecommerce transactions comprising approximately 12 percent of all retail sales — more than “general merchandise” brick-and-mortar retailers like department stores, wholesale clubs and value-centric superstores — an effective strategy to drive gifting-minded shoppers online is at the top of everyone’s holiday wish list.

This year, we were fortunate to once again help tell the story to holiday gift-givers across the country, with a goal of continuing to drive strong growth in ecommerce sales of Fareway’s meat packages. To accomplish this goal, will employ a unified multi-channel marketing strategy that includes TV, social media, digital media and email. While all of these tactics are backed by a thoughtful, intricate approach, we want to focus on a particularly interesting tactic to drive ecommerce holiday gifting sales for — a social media giveaway.

Giveaway to Get Back

Fareway Meat and Grocery locations recently partnered with Collin Street Bakery, a world-famous purveyor of to-die-for cakes and pies, to sell Collin Street products in select stores. From that partnership, another idea was born. Collin Street Bakery does a brisk business selling its famed fruitcakes online for mail orders across the country during the holiday season, just like with its beef, pork and seafood packages. Why not bring the two holiday meal staples together in an incredible giveaway to help reward loyal fans and drive significant social engagement and website traffic?

Collin Street Bakery and launched this collaborative giveaway on Gleam, a platform that specializes in managing large contests. The and Collin Street Bakery teams put their heads together to determine the ideal prize combinations, iron out all the logistics, and away we went! Fareway Meat Market and Collin Street Bakery offered four massive, mouth-watering product prize packages, with all entries coming via Gleam for tracking purposes. To enter, users just needed to engage with one (or both) company’s brand online. Users could enter by multiple times by taking multiple actions and were encouraged to return to the giveaway frequently to gain bonus entries. Both brands promoted the giveaway heavily via social media and email.

Results: Well Done

Even though there was no requirement for users to like or follow Fareway Meat Market’s Facebook or Instagram accounts (such a requirement would be a violation of Facebook’s terms of use), we saw substantial organic growth on both platforms, spurred by giveaway entrants. We also saw a significant spike in website traffic and email signups tied to the giveaway contest. The #GreatThanksgiveaway contest launched on November 1 and concluded on November 18.

In addition to this social media audience growth, we saw Facebook reach increase 157 percent month-over-month during the giveaway, with reactions up 122 percent, shares up 253 percent and our overall Facebook engagement rate up 56 percent compared to the same period in October. On Instagram, likes were up 50 percent compared to the same period last month, while comments rose 142 percent and the engagement rate spiked by 52 percent. On, users were up more than 74 percent compared to the preceding 19 days before the #GreatThanksgiveaway while new users and sessions increased by 77 percent. Pageviews increased by more than 29 percent. That’s how you engage your biggest fans — and cross-pollinate with another mail-order ecommerce food brand with similar values and loyal patrons — right before the holiday gifting season. And it doesn’t hurt that the Fareway Meat Market site is fitted with retargeting pixels so we can continue to keep the brand top-of-mind with giveaway participants all the way to Santa’s descent onto their rooftops through targeted display and social advertising.