Golfsmith builds own, partners’ consumer bases with Facebook page

Over the last year, specialty retailer Golfsmith has overhauled its Facebook strategy. Whereas before Golfsmith had deployed a “hands-off” approach of “broadcasting questions,” says Golfsmith’s Internet marketing specialist Scott Magee, now the retailer employs its Facebook page to benefit its marketing partners and broaden its consumer base.

The backbone of the process has been education, for both the brand and consumers. Two weeks ago, Golfsmith launched Golfsmith Stories, an app developed with social marketing firm Wildfire that asks consumers to post their favorite memories from this year’s golf season.

“The idea behind [the app] was to get more of a guided Q&A,” says Magee. “We want to build a rapport, so we post questions to get people used to using the app.”

The motivation to educate its consumers extends beyond just building rapport. Golfsmith has ramped up the number of sweepstakes it runs on Facebook, and initiatives like Golfsmith Stories cycle into those campaigns by informing Golfsmith what’s important to its community. The retailer will launch a Facebook sweepstakes on Oct. 11 that invites consumers to describe the worst weather conditions they have ever played in as well as submit a photo of the experience.

The sweepstakes will not only build Golfsmith’s customer database via an email opt-in and “like” requirement but will also benefit sweepstakes partner the Texas Board of Tourism, which is working with Golfsmith to reward the sweepstakes winner with a trip to play golf in Houston or Texas. The sweepstakes form will encourage consumers to like the Texas Board of Tourism Facebook page and include an opt-in for its email newsletter. Magee says Golfsmith has averaged a 75% opt-in rate for its sweepstakes partners in past initiatives.

In June, Golfsmith ran a Father’s Day sweepstakes in tandem with golf resort Pebble Beach and golf equipment manufacturer Callaway that resulted in a 26% increase in likes for Golfsmith and a 1,635% increase for one of its partners, which Magee declined to identify.

Golfsmith’s Facebook sweepstakes has been especially valuable for the retailer and its partners because of the broad demographic of consumers who enter. Magee says entrants averaged 80% male and age 45 to 50. But as Golfsmith has focused more attention to its Facebook page, “we have seen the age drop and the split move more female,” he says.

Magee says the growing presence of younger consumers on its Facebook page is “driving some of our current older customers to Facebook.” As he puts it, “People are saying, ‘My dad joined Facebook to enter [a Golfsmith] contest. People may not be quite as savvy in clicking through tabs, but it’s a good education experience because we’re getting people that wouldn’t normally interact.”

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