Gift Wrap: Granville Island hands out holiday tweets

Shopping destination creates Twitter campaign and 'Tweet Team' to give shoppers gift ideas from Island vendors, providing a real-time, user-engaging element for their annual holiday campaign.

Vancouver’s Granville Island may be a more relaxed shopping experience than the hit-and-run chaos of the local mall during the holidays, but if you’re in a hurry, wandering through the Island’s eclectic vendors may be more annoying than delightful. So for all the shoppers who have an appetite for unique gifts but not the patience to find them, the Island has launched its Personal Shopping Tweet Team for the holiday season.

The service, launched this past weekend, follows two dedicated personal shoppers as they roam the market and find items they think would be good gifts, then post the items to their Twitter page. The Tweet Team is actually two staffers from the Island’s creative AOR, Saint Bernadine Mission Communications. Each member posts throughout the day, with suggestions or photos, and will do so until Christmas Eve. The Tweet Team also solicits questions and feedback and will search out items their followers request.

The goal is to double the number of Twitter followers the Island currently has (500) over the course of the campaign, David Walker, partner, Saint Bernadine Mission Communications, told MiC, adding that they are already up 10% after the first weekend.

The Personal Shopping Tweet Team is part of a larger media campaign Granville Island does annually. (The Island is managed by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and its vendors contribute to a marketing budget pool.) The campaign, for the month of December, includes a DM piece with a mini gift catalogue, a media buy on bus sides with Vancouver transit, and an online buy through an ad network. The buy was handled internally with the assistance of a private consultant.

The idea to use Twitter came late in their media planning for the campaign, said Walker. The Island had set up a feed in the summer to promote its anniversary, but then it had been left dormant. When the idea struck to make it easier for people to find gifts on the Island, the feed was put to use.

‘We’re not doing social media for the sake of doing social media. It felt like this social media application could really deliver on an aspect of the Granville Island experience that is truly unique. They’ve got great gift ideas and some of them are hard to find, and that’s part of the charm.’