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It’s been a while since I added to our series of posts looking at how major brands use social, so I thought it about time to pass judgment on another unsuspecting marketing team.
On this occasion the brand in question is fashion retailer Nordstrom which it turns out has a rather good social strategy, particularly when it comes to Pinterest.
Nordstrom has attracted some 2.4m ‘likes’ to its Facebook page, which has a particularly attractive header image.
It posts several updates per day with a surprisingly relentless focus on directing traffic to its ecommerce store.
The standard format is to post an attractive product image with a line of text and a hyperlink to a category page on Nordstrom.com.
Dating back to the beginning of this year there have only been a handful of posts that weren’t product focused, such as one that commemorated Martin Luther King Jr. day.
While Nordstrom isn’t the only retailer that mainly posts details of its own ecommerce store, it is in a minority of brands that employ this tactic.
In general brands tend to post a mixture of interesting, sharable content such as images, new stories, videos or memes to drive conversations and interactions with their fans.
Links to ecommerce stores are part of that overall mix, but it’s normally more of a soft sales approach than Nordstrom’s laser focus on using Facebook to drive traffic.
That said, Nordstrom still achieves fairly high levels of interaction, with most posts achieving several thousand ‘likes’ and upwards of 100 comments.
One post that asked which TOMS the shop should stock achieved more than 50,000 interactions, however on this occasion it didn’t include a link to Nordstrom.com.
Nordstrom is also excellent at responding to queries and comments left on its Facebook page, offering product advice or just engaging in conversation.
I even noticed a few instances where the social team responded in Spanish which is certainly to be applauded.
Nordstrom posts several marketing tweets a day, a vast majority of which contain links back to its ecommerce store.
The Twitter feed also reposts all the Facebook content though thankfully there’s enough unique content for it to avoid becoming repetitive.
Nordstrom also makes good use of the Twitter image preview window so that its pictures automatically appear in their followers’ feeds. I’ve not yet seen any stats on how this impacts engagement levels, but it’s certainly a good way of grabbing a bit more screen space.
But while Nordstrom’s promotional tweets are fairly ordinary, it is excellent at responding to @mentions and engaging in conversations with other users.
It responds to upwards of 50 tweets per day ranging from product queries, to complaints, to casual brand mentions.
Clearly Nordstrom has bought into the benefits of having an active social customer service channel, which can greatly improve the customer experience and brand loyalty.
Other examples of brands with excellent customer service Twitter feeds are ASOS and Microsoft, however they have both taken the step to set up separate feeds for marketing and customer service, whereas Nordstrom deals with everything through its main account.
Nordstrom is one of Pinterest’s greatest success stories, with the retailer even using the social network to inform which products it displays in-store.
The fashion store has a whopping 4.4m Pinterest followers making it among the most popular brands on the network. In order to maintain interest it is extremely active with more than 13,000 items pinned across 64 boards.
It would be impossible to analyse each individual board, but suffice to say that each is an attractive assortment of products ideas on subjects ranging from ‘Beauty Spot', to 'Shiny Things', to 'Well Said'.
One of the boards is named ‘Top Pins’ and includes the most popular customer-driven pins from Nordstrom.com. This is a really clever idea as it presumably helps to complete a self-fulfilling circle of sharing, as people are naturally more likely to repin images that they know are already popular.
As one would probably expect, a vast majority of the pins link back to Nordstrom’s ecommerce store so Pinterest is likely to be a huge traffic source for the retailer. There are a few pins that link to third-party blogs but these a very much in the minority.
As mentioned, Nordstrom is even using Pinterest to help decide which products it merchandises in its brick-and-mortar stores.
Products that receive the most pins are then displayed in-store with a red ‘P’ tag, which draws a link between the offline and online worlds.
Nordstrom also debuted its holiday catalogue on Pinterest late last year, giving its community a chance to view new products ahead of anyone else.
This level of coordination between Pinterest and the real world is beyond anything I've noticed from other fashion retailers.
We’ve seen that Nordstrom maintains an active presence across Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest, however it draws the line at Google+.
Very few brands update their Google+ account on a regular basis as the returns aren’t there in terms of engagement or traffic, so it’s no surprise that Nordstrom only posts a handful of updates each month.
These are largely repurposed from other networks yet generally receive fewer than 50 interactions compared to thousands on Facebook.