When it comes to indie and vintage inspired clothing, everyone knows that ModCloth is one of the best spots on the web to fill virtual shopping carts. ModCloth’s style and class are undeniable. One other aspect that is undeniable about ModCloth is their impressive social media presence. With around 500,000 fans on Facebook and nearly 80,000 on Twitter, the Pittsburgh founded online retailer is doing a lot of things right.
We recently had a chance to catch up with ModCloth’s Social Media Manager, Natasha Kahn and Marketing Writing Manager, Natalie Brova to talk about how their savvy use of social media and how they’re keeping their Pinterest fresh and unique.
How valuable do you feel social media is to a business like ModCloth?
Natasha Khan: We are lucky to have a super engaged community that loves to interact with our content and contests. It also helps that our core demographic (18-24 year olds) uses social media extensively. Social is a significant source of brand awareness, brand equity, traffic, and revenue for our business.
ModCloth has an impressive group of followers on nearly every social network. Can you tell us a little bit about your overall social media strategy and how you keep your social media fresh, exciting, and engaging?
NK: Our elements of our social media strategy include: sentiment monitoring, customer service, increasing engagement, increasing traffic and revenue, and governance. These five verticals are the foundation of our overall social media efforts.
- Sentiment monitoring allows us to analyze and track company sentiment , along with reporting to individual departments what is top of mind for our customers.
- Customer service is a natural element of social networks. It our objective to maintain customer service excellence on social channels, which increases brand loyalty.
- Engagement is overall interaction with our content on any social network. We are constantly evaluating which promotional events and editorial content is resonating with our customer.
- Traffic and revenue are also important metrics. We don’t just want followers, we want followers that love our brand and want to come to our site. So outside of the obvious business benefit, we also look at revenue per follower to see the general health of our fan base.
- Often overlooked, social media governance is an essential part of the social media strategy. Organizations will have to change their current structures to allow for collaborative social media processes. Our team has a close relationship with PR, Customer Service, and the Recruiting Team, just to name a few.
What kind of maintenance/time do you devote to it? Meaning, do you have a person or team devoted to maintaining your social media presence?
NK: Our major social sites are managed by the Social Media Team, but there are dotted lines to several teams. In all, we have several teams contributing to Social.
Natalie Brova: We also have a small team of writers devoted to social media content. We work very closely with the Social Media Team to develop strategy, contests, and monitor the platforms. Direct customer interaction is not only invaluable; it’s fun, rewarding, and allows our Creative Team to receive almost-immediate feedback!
What drove you to Pinterest?
NK: Our customers drove us to Pinterest. Soon after Pinterest’s initial launch, we saw it creeping up as a referral source within our analytics. We knew that our customers were there, and that was confirmed after we spoke to their founders and learned about their demographics.
Has your experience with Pinterest, or any social media for that matter, changed the way that you look at your business or how you market your products?
NK: Pinterest is leading the way in visual discovery. Even now, Google Plus and Facebook Timeline are prioritizing photography and imagery. Moving forward, we are streamlining our content creation processes to better accommodate this demand for visual content.
Natalie Brova: Social media has absolutely influenced the way we market products! One invaluable thing it’s provided us with is instant feedback. Thanks to that, we’ve been able to recognize when certain things really resonate with our customers. One example is that we noticed that tweets written in a more conversational manner, such as the way a gal would talk to her friends yielded great results. So, we put that knowledge to use on various platforms, including traditional marketing mediums, such as newsletters.
Since Pinterest is the new kid on the block, is there anything you’ve done or anyone you’ve looked to to help you get started?
NK: Pinterest’s blog is a great resource for best practices and advice on how to grow your account.
NB: From a content generation perspective, we’re always careful not to look too much to others, because maintaining our authenticity is key. Happily, after browsing Pinterest a bit, it was easy to see that the things we enjoy on other platforms — recipes, fashion, DIY projects — were also popular there!
We see Pinterest as a great opportunity for businesses to showcase their culture and lifestyle. We love what you are doing with your “Behind the Stylebook” board; can you tell us your strategy and thought process behind this board?
NK: Every stylebook at ModCloth starts with an inspiration board of images that we want to inspire a theme. These images can be from culture, travel, art, and fashion. The process of creating a stylebook is a visual story, and Pinterest was the ideal platform to share that story.
Pinterest is a place full of great inspiration. Does ModCloth use Pinterest for inspiration when buying new inventory? Do you look to your followers for inspiration?
NK: Internally, we share our “Most Shared Product on Pinterest” on a weekly basis. We love seeing what is resonating with our customers!
NB: Our followers and fans are an endless source of inspiration for us. One of the greatest ways we’ve been influenced by our Pinterest followers was through our “Something ModCloth, Something You” contest. Pinboards make great wedding inspiration boards, so we asked our followers to create boards with 20 matrimonial items. The winner’s board is serving as our inspiration for a spring 2012 wedding campaign!
I can imagine that growing awareness for your brand and the community aspect that is involved with ModCloth is the main goal, but is there a certain way that ModCloth defines success when it comes to social media? Will you spend more time on one network than the other because you find it more successful than another?
NK: Knowing how to prioritize your time across so many social platforms is definitely critical for success. We prioritize sites where our core demographic is most active, such as Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest. Social media success is being best in class when it comes to customer service, engagement, and bringing traffic back to our site.
Pinterest allows boards to have more than one contributor, is this what you are doing with your “Guest Pinner Gallery” board? What kind of interaction are you seeing, and how do you find this to be beneficial or useful for ModCloth?
NK: Guest Pinner Gallery is a tool that allows us to partner with interesting and influential people on Pinterest. We’ve already seen great success and positive feedback from our previous events, and look forward to doing more in the future.
Thanks to both Natasha and Natalie for taking the time to answer our questions. Next time you need a little vintage inspiration, make sure you check out Modcloth.