What we learned from giving away a million dollars
Whoever thought giving away $1 million dollars would be easy? I thought it would be easy, along with a team of committed FedEx colleagues who also have the purple blood of FedEx. In a social media savvy world, it’s been no secret that FedEx teamed up with American Express on their second annual Small Business Saturday program including a commitment to give away 30,000, $25 gift cards on our FedEx Facebook page. (The remaining 10,000 cards were given directly to some of our customers to distribute.)
While we thought we were ready for a flood of interest in our Facebook promotion, the enormous level of traffic we received when the offer went live at 1 p.m. ET on Tuesday led to a server crash. This delayed the giveaway start time and slowed the registration process once everything was finally functional. We are a company that prides itself on keeping its commitments and delivering on time for our customers, and we apologize for the frustrations the site functionality caused. We worked immediately to correct the situation, and once the app was functional, fans snapped up all 30,000 cards in less than an hour.
A few lessons learned for down the road:
Free gift card giveaways definitely get attention and can result in unintended consequences.
Social media continues to be a place where sharing content happens at unprecedented speeds, which led to a rapid increase in our fan base. With 200,000 brand new fans, but only 30,000 cards to give away, a lot of folks came away disappointed, which of course was not our intention.
However, despite an experience that frustrated many Facebook users, I’m encouraged by the overwhelming show of support the Small Business Saturday movement received today through this promotion – and the commitment many Facebook fans have to use their cards to Shop Small.
It’s always easier to reflect on a situation and see how things could or should have been different to avoid unintended consequences. We’ll certainly learn from this, and I want to encourage everyone to get out on Saturday, November 26, 2011 and support Small Business Saturday!