Nordstrom, Ikea among top retailers on social media

As social media becomes more mobile, retailers are learning to better harness its power to engage with shoppers wherever they are.

Social analytics provider Quintly recently released research on how 14 major retailers are using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to get an idea of who's driving the most engagement and just what they're doing right.

Nordstrom, IKEA USA and home decor chain West Elm all stood out for their performance on Facebook. Each kept their posts short—two to 12 words for Nordstrom and less than 20 for West Elm. They all prioritized visual content, with all of Nordstrom's posts featuring photos or videos and more than a quarter of IKEA's containing one or the other.

One aspect that stood out for all three brands was the importance of including links. West Elm included custom links in each post and IKEA included them in 72 percent of its posts—mostly due to Facebook's news feed algorithm, which gives better visibility to content with links.

When it comes to Twitter engagement, Target Style, Macy's and Kohl's rank as the top three. Most brands leveraged Twitter primarily for customer interaction, tweeting three to five times each day and making a point to reply to customer posts regularly. The Target Style account, while having fewer followers than other brand accounts, replies to an average of five users each day, yielding twice the engagement rates of its parent Target account and other top brands such as Macy's, Kohl's and Sephora.

Of course, hashtags also figured prominently for many top brands. Macy's included hashtags in many of its tweets, along with links, images and mentions, while Kohl's regularly made use of seasonal hashtags, like #spring and #easter, to better reach users on the network who may not be followers already.

Finally, Target, Kohl's and IKEA ranked as the top brands on Instagram. Each refrained from overdoing it on filters and stuck primarily to images rather than videos. Post rates were much lower than other networks—just once or twice a day—but a focus on quality and colorful content drove high engagement rates for each one. While neither Target nor IKEA put any particular hashtag strategy to use, Kohl's used them to bundle offers, essentially creating catalogs. Its #UnlockSpring campaign, for example, pulled together images of its spring dresses.

There were overall trends that applied to every social network as well. Replying to posts proved key for driving engagement, which is no great revelation. But, as top brands proved, engagement doesn't simply mean trying to address every user directly by making a point to reply politely and consistently to a few customers every day. Interacting with big events like the Oscars or Golden Globes can also be extremely helpful on every platform. West Elm and Macy's both saw sizable spikes in engagement involving major events, thus increasing their influences on Facebook and Twitter.

Retailers are increasingly looking to social media to not only interact with shoppers, but to increase conversion rates. Social media continues to play a growing role in mobile commerce, while some platforms are even beginning to design the shopping experience with social apps in mind.

For more:
-See this Quintly blog post

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