Home Decor Brand Offers ‘Fans’ $1 for Every Facebook Referral

Home décor marketer Umbra is offering its Facebook “fans” and e-mail subscribers the chance to earn a $1 credit for every referral they drive at the social media site. The low-risk but intriguing campaign will run until users collectively hit $1,000.

The Toronto-based brand began pushing the effort on Dec. 22 with an e-mail to around 30,000 recipients, using the subject line, “Help grow the Umbra Fan Club.” Then came a Twitter update and the following post on its Facebook account: “Help Grow the Umbra Fan Club and Receive $1 for every confirmed Facebook friend you refer.”

A link accompanied the social media posts. People that clicked it or the e-mail hotlink were taken to a landing page where they could send their Facebook “friends” an invite. If the participant’s friends confirmed and joined Umbra’s “fan” group, the individual gained a dollar credit for each referral.

While participants will be able to use the dollars they accrue at Umbra’s online store, Sean Hurley, manager of e-business for the company, downplayed the notion that he may have found a new tactic in leveraging the social media site to drive sales. Instead, he said the effort would help grow the brand’s design-minded audience on Facebook and give his team an option for quick online communications other than e-mail.

“We want to make sure that people know there’s a better place than e-mail to get our updates,” Hurley explained. “We are finding most of the people that are interested in our products are on Facebook, and they are checking their pages four to six times a day. We are launching a redesigned Web site in the first quarter. We want to build up a bigger [Facebook] following before we get to that [juncture].”

When the campaign went live, Umbra had 730 “fans.” Twenty-four hours later that figure had jumped to 820. Hurley said according to his Facebook “Insights” metrics dashboard at that time, there were around 400 more referrals pending confirmation.

“We don’t want people to join the group just to make money,” he added. “With the approach of having [Facebook ‘fans’] suggest a friend, we are putting it in their hands to recommend someone who would like what we offer, what we are posting about…people who are interested in design — retailers, some of our competitors, as well as consumers.”

Hurley said his firm expects the $1,000 worth of credit to be depleted before New Year’s Day. “A dollar isn’t really much to add one new person to our group,” Hurley said. “We are getting e-mail feedback where people are saying that they are happy we are promoting through Facebook.”

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