#MagnoliaMakeover: Instagram winners with social marketing

MichelleBrady    November 7, 2016

Magnolia…a few years ago it was just a flower, now it’s a trending brand that has reached far beyond its Texan origin. The creators of this brand, Joanna and Chip Gaines have social media followers from around the world. Tourists book stays at their Magnolia House rental property and visit their business headquarters named the Silos, in Waco, Texas. It’s now a tourist destination with a bakery, garden shop and retail store. The fourth season of their HGTV home improvement reality show, Fixer Upper, premieres this month. Each show profiles the home renovation process from purchase to completion in a one-hour segment. Joanna designs home improvements and decorates. Her husband and partner, Chip, constructs the renovations and the featured homeowners are presented with their on-budget dream home at the end of each episode. The hype for this show has been marketed with a quarterly journal publication and a newly released book about the couple’s story. Magnolia has complimented their brand with traditional marketing mediums and qualified it with social media. The book has just reached #1 on the New York Time best seller list,1 and this achievement is promoted on their website. Magnolia has also introduced a furniture, paint, rug and accessory line available nationally in the US and at three Canadian retailers. An online “Market” shop with all of their products is featured on their website. Magnolia has embraced social media to further increase its brand awareness. The company also benefits from Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter activity and has millions of followers. Magnolia has truly saturated the home design, renovation and décor market through both traditional and social media marketing.

Magnolia recognizes that “home is meant to be a place where we’re inspired.”2 Feedback from followers, about each new blog post, demonstrates an inspired and engaged audience. Answers to questions are also provided here. This validates the idea that “online conversations are the new marketplace.”3 By creating this social marketplace, Magnolia has also been able to benefit from an increase in brand awareness. Wooden boards used in many of their renovations have trended as #shiplap. Other design shows have adapted the term #demoday pioneered by Magnolia. And, fans on Pinterest blog about how to get the “Fixer Upper look”. If you aren’t moving to the Waco area, and won’t be featured on the TV show, the next best thing is to get Joanna’s design advice. Last year Magnolia introduced a contest (which has since become a monthly feature) to celebrate their milestone of reaching 1MM Instagram subscribers.4

How it works

Contestants enter the contest by posting an Instagram photo and description for their room (in need of an update) with tag #magnoliamakeover. The winner is notified on Instagram then their room is featured on Joanna Gaines’ At Home Blog. This contest uses social media to continuously engage the audience through Instagram and the website blog, and it benefits a much larger audience than just the winner. The winner receives a detailed design plan along with Magnolia products to complete the transformation. But, because the contest results are featured on social media, millions of subscribers get useful content as well. Many of the blog readers will identify with the featured space (by having a similar space in their own homes), and be able to employ the design advice/plans using shared how-to instructions. The incorporated products are all available for purchase online. Every recommended paint, furniture, and décor piece is itemized and linked to the online store for shopping convenience.

Content marketing is a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action.5

Magnolia’s social contest and blog ultimately provide a means to promote online sales but also satisfy the audience (by providing relevant and engaging content) in doing so.

Lessons for Others

If customers are engaged with a brand they are more receptive to additional forms of social media marketing from that brand.

Traditional contest campaigns can be more successful if they benefit a greater audience than just the winner. Useful content can play a key role in making this happen in a social media environment.

Creating product links (to an online store) within social marketing content can direct traffic to purchase products and thereby increase online sales. Sponsored ads within blogs or used in partnership with other media might be considered.

Traditional marketing efforts are still relevant but when used simultaneously with social media marketing they can be more impactful with the audience and effective in delivering the same message.

A business needs “a plan to figure out how to deliver interesting content on a consistent basis so that you may attract and retain the attention of your target audience. That is your content strategy.” 6

Organization: Magnolia Market, LLC
Industry: Online Retail, Real Estate, Renovation
Name of Organization Contact: N/A

Authored by: MBrady

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site, please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Program Director, Social Media for Business Performance.


  1. New York Times Best Sellers List. November 2016. Hardcover, Non-Fiction {website] retrieved on Nov 7, 2016 from http://www.nytimes.com/books/best-sellers/?_r=0
  2. Gaines, Joanna. (March 31, 2014). Re. Lifestyle Uncategorized; At the Roots: Joanna Unpacks Her Style [Blog entry] retrieved Nov 7, 2016 from https://magnoliamarket.com/13255085-at-the-roots-joanna-unpacks-her-style/
  3. Redsicker, Patricia. (May 9, 2011). Content Marketing Institute. Re. First Things First – Content Strategy Before Social Strategy [online article] retrieved Nov 5, 2016 from http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2011/05/content-strategy-before-social-strategy/
  4. Magnolia Website (November 17, 2015). Re. At Home, Renovations. Jo’s #MAGNOLIAMAKEOVER giveaway! [blog] retrieved from website on November 5, 2016 from https://magnoliamarket.com/magnolia-makeover-subscriber-giveaway/
  5. Content Marketing Institute (2016) Re. What is Content Marketing? Useful content should be at the core of your marketing. [website] retrieved on Nov 5, 2016 from http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/what-is-content-marketing/
  6. Redsicker, Patricia. (May 9, 2011). Content Marketing Institute. Re. First Things First – Content Strategy Before Social Strategy [online article] retrieved Nov 5, 2016 from http://contentmarketinginstitute.com/2011/05/content-strategy-before-social-strategy/

Gaines, Joanna. (October 14, 2016) Re. At Home: Renovations, October Magnolia Makeover [website blog entry] retrieved on November 7, 2016 from https://magnoliamarket.com/october-magnolia-makeover/

HGTV, 2016. Fixer Upper [TV show] reference link: http://www.hgtv.ca/fixerupper/

YouTube. CommercialTunage, June 28, 2015. Re. Fixer Upper Commercial. Retrieved on November 7, 2016 from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KZMQU_AesS4&list=PLh2SWdLDfbYzPlazSXwCiZLEl928BD1Ww