The last few weeks of the year are some of the busiest, with travel, shopping, family gatherings, and other goings-on occupying people's time. Even so, the social media team at Dunkin' Donuts thought the waning days of 2012 would be a great time to grab its fans' attention on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.
"We wanted to join the spirit, have a little fun, and also remind fans that Dunkin' Donuts can keep them running during one of the busiest times of the year," says Jessica Gioglio, public relations and social media manager at Dunkin' Brands.
In December, Dunkin' Donuts ran the HoliDDay Fashions Twitter and Instagram Contest, the Top of the WorlDD Photo and Video Contest, the Flavor-Full HoliDDay Coffee Twitter Sweepstakes, a Fan of the Week promotion, and the Dunkin' K-Cup packs K-ountDDown. That's five promotions spread out across multiple social media platforms in just over a month.
Even so, Gioglio says more people participated in these sweepstakes and contests than any in Dunkin's social media experience.
Dunkin' Donuts may have run the various promotions over a short period, but they weren't all devised at the same time, Gioglio says.
"It's less about how many promotions run in a given month and more about how we can have fun with our social media community, showcase new and exciting products, and engage our loyal Dunkin' Donuts fans through a variety of platforms," she says.
The company's brainstorming sessions take a "360-degree" approach, she says, involving social media managers, brand managers, the marketing team, the legal department, and others. Those collaborators determine which platform best suits the promotion, and then they build from there.
Many of the company's promotions are contests and sweepstakes that require people to "like" the Dunkin' Donuts page before they can enter. Gioglio says building fan counts isn't the principal objective, however; it's about building community.
"We focus more on engagement and that our fans actually own our social pages," she says. "Our primary focus is on responding to our fans, answering their questions, celebrating their loyalty, letting them be among the first to know about new products, and offering social media customer service support. Sprinkling in promotions as its relevant is a great way to surprise and delight fans on top of the day-to-day conversation."
One way the brand engages with fans, Gioglio says, is with a bit of tongue-in-cheek humor.
"One example is how we often add our famous 'DD' into words," she says. "We joke that it's not AP Style; it's DD Style when it comes to social media communications. It is important to maintain that fun tone, because it's part of our brand's personality and the way our fans have come to interact with us."
- The HoliDDay Fashions Twitter and Instagram Contest invited fans to send in pictures of themselves in their favorite holiday garb for a chance to win a $100 gift card. Fans submitted photos to the Dunkin' Donuts Twitter and Instagram accounts using the #HoliDDayContest hashtag.
- The Top of the WorlDD photo and video contest involved a special Facebook tab where fans could submit photos and videos, for one to be featured in Times Square on New Year's Eve. Grand prize winners scored a pair of JetBlue tickets; others got $50 Dunkin' Donuts gift cards.
- The K-Kup Packs KountDDown awarded entrants with daily prize packs—which included gift cards and coffee machines—and offered tips regarding home coffee brewing.
- The Flavor-Full HoliDDay Coffee Twitter sweepstakes asked followers to submit their holiday coffee flavor preferences-gingerbread, peppermint mocha, or white chocolate-using hashtags for the flavors and the hashtag #Entry. The Twitter header image of coffee cups would fill up as the votes came in.
- The Fan of the Week promotion has been going since mid-2009. "All fans need to do is submit a photo of themselves enjoying their favorite Dunkin' Donuts food or beverage," Gioglio says. "Then, a team of Dunkin' Donuts employees go through all of the submissions on a weekly basis and vote for the winner. We look for creativity and passion for Dunkin' Donuts and always love a good caption or story that goes along with the photo."
Dunkin' Donuts wouldn't share specific participation figures for its various holiday sweepstakes, Gioglio says, but the Flavor-full Sweepstakes, for example, "saw one of our highest participation rates of any sweepstakes this year."
Posts about other contests, even on the extra-busy day of Christmas Eve, got tons of attention. A post about the K-Kups KountDDown that day racked up more than 2,500 "likes."
"All of our efforts are dedicated to celebrating the loyalty of our fans, while providing them information that they're looking for," Gioglio says.
That trend continues. Dunkin' Donuts fans have an opportunity through the end of February to win a trip to SeaWorld
Matt Wilson is a staff writer for Ragan.com.