Coverage of this session by Bridgette Cude of SocialMedia.org. Connect with her by following her on Twitter.

3:50 — SocialMedia.org’s Courtney Graham introduces Family Dollar’s Stephanie Tavares-Rance.

3:51 — Stephanie: We had a challenge with FD, our health and beauty products were declining. We were trying ot think of a fun way to engage with our consumers.

3:52 — Our shopper segmentation: She loves to shop, shes powerful, smart, savvy, and likes to save money. For us, our high traffic is in the African American and Hispanic market.

3:53 — Family Dollar Fabulous is a celebration of multicultural women. It’s the first time a major retailer has taken a stand that Black Women are Beautiful. We wanted our customers to know that our stores are a great place to shop.

3:54 — When you think of a dollar store, you can think some pretty negative things, but we do carry an amazing selection of products at great prices. And we wanted to do that through influencers.

3:55 — I did that the old fashioned way by stalking the people talking about the things we wanted to talk about. I personally called all of these women myself, pitched the idea, and talked them through it. Then, we worked through our partners to help tell the story.

3:56 — Then, we also held events — in Charlotte, NC, New York, Atlanta (where we worked with 18 suppliers and 41 bloggers). In the beginning, it was a challenge to get these people to associate with Family Dollar, but as we’ve stuck with the event and gotten bigger, I’ve had to turn people away.

3:57 — Throughout the event, they were live tweeting, testing the products, blogging, etc. From this event we trended on Twitter in the first day. The event earned them 522 M social media impressions.

3:58 — Ok the event is awesome but how do we prove that this will lift category? We started the social media campaign on every Friday — a sneak peek into what we did on Friday. An opportunity for people who were not there to follow their favorite blogger giving a review in their own voice. We also hold Twitter chats and share content on our dedicated Fabulous blog.

3:59 — For us, a win is the fact that people are saying “I didn’t know Family Dollar carried this.” We also partnered with Ebony to lift our platform and lift us up in the beauty category. If Ebony’s going to put us in their magazine, it must be good. For 2016, we’re looking at ways to grow the relationship from a digital perspective. From our HBH files we’re sharing Fab Picks, getting influencers to share those

4:00 — This year, instead of one event in one location, we’re sharing them inside our partners’ headquarters. We’ll also allow our bloggers to invite their fans to join them.

Q&A

Q: Do you pay your bloggers?

A: Yes.

Q: To piggy back on that, do the suppliers give compensation? Did you pay them to travel?

A: Yes, the partners also brought their own brand ambassadors along as well such as famous stylists, etc. We used bloggers local to the event and did not pay for the travel.

Q: Do you form one on one connections with the bloggers?

A: Yes, I believe one on one is the way to go. When you put an agency in the middle, it doesn’t feel as genuine. We rated the women based on their reach. Their duties were to do testimonials, host Twitter chats, and do some guest Instagramming etc.

Q: As far as targeting by race or ethnicity, how does that feel ethically for you? Is that something you’d be interested in doing?

A: As far as our audience, we haven’t had any kind of backlash in terms of race. And yes, now we’re targeting specifically to people who are interested in those products.

Do you have a standard agreement or contract with your bloggers? And if they do not agree to their responsibilities, how do you let them go?

A: Yes, we have contracts with our bloggers and specific responsibilities for them. I recently had to let one blogger go, and since I did have that one one one relationship with her, so it was easier to have a conversation with her and let her go.

Q: In terms of te in-store element, how did you sell that in to get the budget in store, how did you measure it’s success?

A: Fabulous, we did use an in-store piece because FD is not ecommerce yet. It’s a shelf topper, like the ones to call out sales. We did see a lift in cities where we did the in-store spots. We can’t stop doing it now because our competitors are starting to do some of their own influencer marketing.

Q: Were there other channels within FD that wanted content from your bloggers?

A:We do targeted emails from our bloggers. What’s happening is that every other category now wants their own Fabulous type of influencer program.

Q: Do you have any sort of way to get them together in between events and what kind of frequency does that require?

A: We’re doing that this week. I think that in some cases, it feels more like a transaction for bloggers. Now I want to get them on the phone once a month to ask what they’re working on, what they’re excited about, and how we can get them in on the message.

Q: Do you have that time in the contract for their compensation?

A: All 41 women are going to be on the call because we asked to talk to them about what they want to do and how they want to participate. You have to reverse it and make it about them.

Q: How do you manage the disclosure?

A: We give them total guidelines on how to disclose and legal is heavily involved.

Q: For experiential activations: Do we put that content out in real time? How do I make it relevant for people who are not at the event?

A: Our social strategy is to educate, motivate, and share. We have the bloggers and vloggers do testimonial videos, periscopes inside the stores. We pulse that out seasonally, like on Fabulous Friday, something for Black History Month or Hispanic History Month, as well as other holiday content.

Q: Was there a buy in piece to get it off the ground? If so, was there a big metric you went back with?

A: I am the social media team and the PR person, so when I pitched the idea, and our suppliers loved it, I did not have to earn buy in.