The Facebook page of Berlin children’s fashion label Petit Cochon is full of pictures of children in nostalgic-looking knickerbockers and jaunty caps. The owners, Selina Schweiker and Friederike Sirin, ran a competition from December to March calling for photos of kids wearing their creations. The pictures with the most “Likes” were rewarded with gift vouchers.

Facebook fans of Kinnings and Petit Cochon also migrate to their online stores

“Holding competitions on social media is a great way to gain new fans,” explains marketing expert Romina Gerhards. That said, retailers should remember that such competitions will attract not only devotees but also people on the lookout for a freebie. It is therefore important to convince customers on other fronts.

Schweiker and Sirin have achieved this double act: during the competition, not only did the label’s number of Facebook fans double, but orders in the online shop increased too. And, most importantly of all, the campaign is still attracting photos from customers wishing to show their brand affiliation. In other words, it offers a prime example of what social media experts like to describe as a dialogue on equal footing.

Petit Cochon is a child of the Internet age, but more and more traditional retailers are also discovering the joys of social media and launching their own online outlets. Munich-based baby goods supplier Kinnings, for example, uses Facebook not only to groom its image and communicate with an existing customer base, but also to attract new customers and, if possible, sell products to them. Here, too, among a myriad of parent-related themes, competitions play a key role. Indeed, some manufacturers even provide prizes. According to Monique Endrich, Director of E-Commerce at Kinnings, there was a marked increase in online sales during their advent calendar campaign, but they still need a more precise measurement of the connection between different marketing channels.

At present, social media communications at Kinnings are focused on Facebook and comprise 10 percent of all marketing activities. However, the company is taking professional advice and would like to step up its activities in this sphere.

By Julia Bröder[:]