Social Media Marketing Strategies - Case Study - Nordstrom on Pinterest

by David Brown
SEO and Content Marketing Consultant

"In the digital age, brands are no longer mere corporate assets to be leveraged, but communities of belief and purpose." - Greg Satell    
A Visual Trend Story in Pictures
Nordstrom on Pinterest is prime example of how to establish a fashion specialty brand on the Pinterest platform and create a visual community there by inspiring customers with a "visual trend story". By using the Pinterest Boards or folders as a target interest, they created the platform for customers to share the products that they like the most, are most relevant, and that they are inspired by. There are boards for each season, and major holidays including a "Top Gift List". Most all of the major areas of interest are shown as categories (boards) where customers can actively view, pin, share, and be inspired to buy certain products, or add them to a wish list on their own Pinterest boards. The most popular board is "Top Pins" with over 484 pins and 162,000 followers! 
It is a customer driven community, with over 65 boards, 12,000 pins and 4, 425, 214 followers as of the date of this blog. This is an amazing social media marketing success story from a brand that had positioned itself early on Pinterest with their customer-centered approach.

Of course the target audience for Nordstrom are women who love their culture and quality of fashion clothing. 
According to  Bryan Galipeau, Nordstrom’s social media manager, “Our goal is to inspire customers—in the way they shop, share and Pin. One of the things we love most about Pinterest is that customers can get inspired and take an action on their own terms. In many ways, it’s the world’s biggest wish list.”
A Moving Target  - Audience Driven Marketing 
The engagement and participation of Pinterest followers allows Nordstrom to leverage its customer-driven content strategy into digital marketing where marketing stats and insights are immediate and measurable as compared to a print catalog. The analytics that are used allows Nordstrom to see which products are getting the most engagement, and this allows them to make rapid adjustments in product development or design based on near real time feedback. The board that shows the most engagement with certain product lines is titled "Top Pins" . As with all pins each one shows how often is was shared, and how many people like it (with a heart symbol). 
The Nordstrom web site is most likely the main source of the pins as every product has a Pin button nearby to allow the social media engagement of sharing and pinning that product on the customers own board, which is seen by that customer's followers. 
Nordstrom adds pins to its own boards based on their Pinterest data.

A Model for Small Retail Business 
How can small business retailers apply this type of social media marketing to their own business?

First, a business owner's passion for their products needs to be shared and inspired in their customers, to the point that an online community can start to be formed that is actively engaged to whatever extent, in following, viewing, sharing, and participating in a site such as Pinterest. Criteria that may be more relevant for the major audience in Pinterest would be retail businesses that appeal to women, since over 80% of Pinterest followers are women, at least in the United States.

If there is already a Facebook community, then it is a natural means to share new pins or boards on Facebook to attract and convert Facebook fans to also be Pinterest followers.

Many small business owners have time constraints in trying to develop and implement a social media marketing plan. If that is the case, then they need to consider hiring a consultant to help them make the right choices for their goals and their budget.

David Brown
Internet Marketing Consultant
Social Media Marketing
since 1999