Kohl’s is giving away gift cards to fitness bloggers as part of a new social media marketing strategy.
The discount department store chain has partnered with FitFluential, a network of fitness bloggers with more than 10,000 members. Kohl’s will work with 10 women who will use their gift cards to purchase activewear and other relevant products, and share their thoughts with their respective networks.
Health and wellness is a particular area of focus for Kohl’s this year. On December 29, the Wisconsin-based retailer changed its Facebook cover photo to a colorful collage of items such as sneakers, activity trackers, and a NutriBullet. And most of Kohl’s posts since have been fitness-related, with its #MakeYourMove hashtag. One is a link to Kohl’s website, where Tina Haupert, the Massachusetts mom behind the popular blog Carrots ‘n’ Cake, shares her favorite items: three tops, a pair of fleece running tights, a neck warmer, and a treadmill.
Kevin Alansky, chief marketing officer at social analytics app Social Radar, thinks partnering with these women – who collectively have 149,000 Twitter followers, 103,000 Pinterest followers, and 98,000 Facebook fans – is a smart way to reach a lot of people. The only gray area for him is the gifting arrangement, which he doesn’t have a problem with, as long as there aren’t any stipulations for what the bloggers can and can’t write.
“Is it authentic?” Alansky asks. “Would the bloggers be able to say the product isn’t up to their standards? Is Kohl’s influencing the bloggers saying, ‘We’re going to give you stuff for free but you must write a positive review about it?'”
Kohl’s didn’t respond to an interview request, but while the blog posts can be expected to be positive, it’s unlikely that the retailer will coerce the bloggers into writing false positive reviews, given the potential backlash from consumers.
“You’ve got to really know your product is excellent,” Alansky says. “If the product is crap and [the bloggers] tell people it’s great and they go out and buy it, Kohl’s is going to have a lot of people with bad customer experiences.”
“If it’s a Nike shoe sold at Kohl’s, people are going to bring it back to Kohl’s because that’s the distributor,” he adds.
The 10 women will write 40 posts over the next three months, when Kohl’s will team up with a new set of bloggers to keep the campaign fresh.
Homepage image via Shutterstock.
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