This year, brands began rolling out their back-to-school campaigns as early as May, giving kids and their parents almost no time to revel in their summer freedom.
And here’s why: According to Yahoo! News, a 2012 survey found that 52 percent of back to school shoppers planned to have their shopping completed by the middle of August; therefore, marketers who wait until September to launch their campaigns are simply too late. (Duh.)
What you might not know is that nearly a quarter of consumers surveyed said they turn to social media first. It’s no wonder companies are heading to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram to push their back-to-school campaigns earlier than ever. In fact, US News reports that a slew of big brands – from Old Navy to Wilson Jones (the inventor of the three-ring binder) – have taken to Twitter to launch back-to-school sweepstakes and contests.
But which back-to-school social media campaigns are the best? Take a look:
Forever 21’s “Declare Your Style” | Instagram
Fashion retailer Forever 21 launched its “Declare Your Style” campaign in July by asking customers to declare their “style rule” via Instagram with the hashtags #DeclareYourStyle and #F21Rules. (Encouraging selfies, are we?) Not only does the campaign help promote Forever 21’s style-savvy image, but it also rewards brand advocates with gift cards for their fall wardrobe. According to the Forever 21 blog, winners will be awarded a $1,000 gift card, plus $210 gift cards for “the rest of your crew in the photo.” The contest wrapped up on July 28, giving shoppers a head-start on back-to-school fashion.
Target’s “UStyler”| Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest
Target has become known as the headquarters for all things college. (In fact, an entire section of its website is deemed the “college hub.”) Need an extra futon? You’ll find it. Searching for a new shower curtain? It’s there. Towels, sheets, pillows, tableware, Ramen, school supplies, décor, more Ramen – you get the picture.
As part of its back-to-school campaign, the discount retailer has provided customers an online tool, UStyler, which allows them to create the dorm of their dreams using Target products. Here’s how it’s social: Shoppers can share their customized look via the tool’s Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest buttons. What a cool feature!
American Eagle Outfitter’s “Project Live Your Life” | Facebook
In July, American Eagle opened up “Project Live Your Life: Back to School 2013,” a contest to find “real life” models for its fall back-to-school campaign. The idea is literally perfect for the brand’s target demographic of 15- to 25-year-old males and females because, quite frankly, they don’t call it the “me, me, me” generation for nothing.
Teens who want to see their face plastered on the walls of American Eagles across the country need only fill out a simple application here via Facebook. Entrants are encouraged to add photos from Facebook, upload their videos from YouTube and even upload their songs from Soundcloud to truly show off their personality. According to the American Eagle blog, “There are four weekly contests and each week the AEO Judging Panel will pick 2 guys and 2 girls to move in to the final round.” It’s a great way to get American Eagle fans to interact with the brand online while showing off its young and hip style.
Whether you’re a teacher shopping for bulk school supplies or a parent searching for a great deal on bags and backpacks, retailers are vying for your attention during back-to-school season.
Which back-to-school campaign would catch your eye? Have you seen other great examples of back-to-school social campaigns that we should know about? Let us know by leaving a comment!