To drive engagement and sales for its 76th birthday promotion, Krispy Kreme Doughnuts is running a Facebook event this week and has created a corresponding application.

The social media tools are meant to drive more customers to the chain’s birthday promotion on July 13, during which they can buy a dozen donuts and get a second dozen for 76 cents.

The Facebook event, which acts as a simple event listing on the social networking site, has already helped drive engagement, according to Kelley O’Brien, interactive media manager at the Winston-Salem, N.C.-based brand. Nearly 12,000 fans have either joined or been invited to join the event since it was created on June 12 — a significant reach, she said.

Last year, Krispy Kreme ran a similar promotion for its 75th birthday: Buy a dozen, and get a dozen for 75 cents. What’s different this year is the app, said O’Brien, which was launched on July 5 and will be available until July 14.

Using the app, customers can make their own “far out photo” to celebrate the company’s 76th Birthday. Users can upload a photo, choose a ‘70s-themed sticker to place over it, choose a filter, and crop or resize the image. “Share the groovy, new you” and “repeat until you dig it,” reads the app’s website.

The app is meant to be lighthearted and fun, but it also helps drive engagement and sales, she said. “We wanted to have our fans dress up for a party,” she said of the app. “And it also reminds you about the offer.”

Facebook was the right social media platform for the birthday event, O’Brien said, because of the scope of the company’s fan network. “We have 2.67 million fans that are in the U.S.,” she said. “We know that a lot of our fans share photos all the time. It just seemed like the right and fun place to do that.”

In addition, the company is also driving Facebook fans to its website, which displays an extensive timeline. “It shows cool facts about and an interesting history and milestones at Krispy Kreme,” O’Brien said.

The goal of the timeline is to have a landing page that could be shared anywhere — on Twitter, Facebook, or other platforms.

Social media events and apps of all kinds are part of a successful ongoing strategy for Krispy Kreme, O’Brien said, noting that they help drive continued interest in the brand.

On National Donut Day, June 7, Krispy Kreme gained 2,700 new fans and had 28,600 guests invited to the Facebook event.

On Lose an Hour, Gain a Doughnut Day, which corresponded with Daylight Savings Time, 2,004 people were engaged in the Facebook event. And more than 30,000 people were engaged in an event on the social platform on Dec. 12, 2012, what the brand dubbed the “Day of the Dozens.”

Krispy Kreme will measure the overall success of the 76th birthday against last year’s 75th birthday promotion, she said. Metrics used to measure return on investment for the event include volume of traffic on the site, time on Krispy Kreme’s mobile pages, and, of course sales in stores.

“We look at it as a way of recharging our fans,” O’Brien said of the social media events strategy. “I personally call it a homecoming for our fans. You have so much coming through your feed,” and this sets the company apart.

Krispy Kreme Doughnuts Inc. has 241 locations in the United States.

Contact Erin Dostal at erin.dostal@penton.com.
Follow her on Twitter: @ErinDostal