Will Blogger Super Force Drive Target’s Sales Higher?
Target has recruited 16 women bloggers to form its initial "Inner Circle" of cyberspace influencers.
The bloggers primarily write about fashion and style, but a few cover topics such as home, food, schools and parenting. On average, each Inner Circle member operates six social media accounts, according to the Minneapolis Star Tribune.
The group, recruited last year, gains access to and are feted at special events, but are not paid. No restrictions are placed on what they can write, although all rate as avid Target fans.
An Inner Circle page on the retailer’s A Bullseye View online magazine features photos of all 16 bloggers as well as links to their Twitter accounts and blog websites.
"We’re thrilled to present members of Target Inner Circle, a program designed to give a select group of online influencers an all-access pass to Target, our leaders and celebrity partners," Target states on the page. "From design partnerships to style makeovers, to store openings and community events, and home décor, food, entertainment & more, these members share their experiences learning with Target in their online communities."
In February, the members were flown to Target’s Minneapolis headquarters to speak with executives, preview products and tour the facilities. Late last year, they were flown to New York to tour the Harlem store as part of Media Day. They also got to preview Target’s holiday collection with Neiman Marcus and hobnob with celebrities such as Naomi Watts, Alicia Keys, Tony Bennett and Shaun White at the retailer’s fiftieth anniversary party.
The women are also invited to attend local events, particularly those that align with their blogs’ subject matter. Amy Mascott, author of the Teach Mama blog, recently covered a ceremony in which Target donated $25,000 to a Baltimore school.
"Target looked at us as experts in what we write about," Ms. Mascott, a Washington, D.C., area resident, told the Star Tribune. "It’s not like I woke up one day and instantly had 80,000 viewers. Some of the people in Inner Circle are real rock stars in the blogger world."
Vendors across fashion, food and athletic categories recruit brand ambassadors, including bloggers, with free product, events and other perks. But it’s rare for a retailer to do so and even rarer to call out an elite team of social media ambassadors.
- Inner Circle – A Bullseye View
- Target deploys prolific group of social-media gurus to win over consumers – Minneapolis Star Tribune
- Target’s Inner Circle – The Average Girls Guide
- target inner circle: holiday. families. giving. – Teach Mama
- Target Inner Circle in NYC – The Good Life
- What Does Being a "Brand Ambassador" Really Do For You? – Independent Fashion Bloggers
Is Target’s Inner Circle program an effective way to drive social media buzz? What are the upsides and downsides for retailers that actively bond with social media stars?