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Department store Macy’s is the latest brand to fall under the spotlight in our series of posts looking at how major brands use social media.

Since first embracing social back in 2010 Macy’s has made the channel central to its marketing efforts and has come up with some incredibly innovative campaigns in the past few years.

So, here’s a look at how Macy’s uses Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Google+. This article follows on from similar posts looking at Kroger, McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and Walmart.

And to find out more about the creative process behind social marketing, come to Econsultancy's Punch event where 'Marketing meets Creative in the age of data and insight'. 

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Facebook

Macy’s has managed to attract more than 12 million Facebook fans, which is very healthy number when compared to its more upmarket sister brand Bloomingdales (260,000).

The reason for this is probably in part due to the excellent array of content that Macy’s produces, which includes promotions for various product ranges, seasonal posts (e.g. back to school, Labour Day) and charitable campaigns.

Unlike many other retailers Macy’s avoids coming across as too salesy and instead lets the product images do the work in attracting clicks.

In general the content achieves a decent number of interactions with several thousand ‘likes’ and a few hundred comments, but every occasionally Macy’s posts something particularly inspirational that attracts a huge amount of attention.

For example, one update featuring a pair of leopard print heels received 110,000 ‘likes’, 3,300 comments and more than 14,000 shares.

In terms of frequency, Macy’s tends to post one or two updates per day. This isn’t as active as the like of Walmart which posts up to five times each day, but on the other hand it does allow the social team to respond to a few user comments.

Though most of the comments go unanswered the Macy’s community team do an okay job of responding to a few people on each post, whether it be to deal with a complaint, give product information or thank someone for positive feedback.

As pointed out in my previous post looking at Macy’s social campaigns, it has run a number of interesting Facebook initiatives in the past few years including ‘#MacysGoesRed’ which commemorated the 10th anniversary of American Heart Month in February this year.

All people had to do was share an image that included something red in order to get Macy’s to donate $2 to the American Heart Association up to a limit of $250,000.

The department store is also currently running a campaign involving stylist Clinton Kelly, who is on-hand to give fashion advice through Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

It revolves around the hashtag #HelpMeClinton which allows users to ask Clinton and his team style and fashion questions, though each network is used slightly differently.

On Twitter a team is available to deal with queries throughout the day, while on Facebook Clinton has scheduled one hour each month to answer questions.

There is also a dedicated Facebook tab which hosts video clips of Clinton answering questions and also has related product suggestions that link directly to the Macy’s ecommerce site.

The questions relate to a variety of topics such as fashion, cooking, baby food, booze and even tips on how to hold a wine glass, so Macy’s is able to promote a huge amount of different products.

It’s a really creative campaign that will no doubt involve a huge amount of effort to coordinate the different social channels.

Twitter

Macy’s has adopted the same Twitter strategy as Kroger in that its tweets just mirror the content posted on Facebook.

This obviously makes it easier to manage to two channels but personally I find it a little uninspiring. It also means that the brand misses out on the unique characteristics of each network.

That said, Macy’s does occasionally post unique Twitter content, generally to promote competitions and giveaways. For example it has recently been tweeting links that give people the chance to win tickets to see Taylor Swift and Tim Bergling.

Also, though the content strategy leaves something to be desired Macy’s does a good job of responding to @mentions on Twitter.

By my best estimation the retailer responds to around 40 users each day, including both complaints and positive feedback.

Often top brands have separate a Twitter feed for customer service so that marketing messages remain separate from queries and complaints, so Macy’s is bucking the trend slightly by maintaining a single Twitter feed for both departments.

It’s even more surprising when taking into account the array of other Twitter feeds that Macy’s currently owns.

There’s Macy’s Sales & Deals which does much as you’d expect but has only tweeted 10 times this year, plus separate feeds for tourism and weddings that are equally inactive.

The only other Macy’s feed that tweets on a regular basis is the Macy’s College recruitment account, but that has just 1,800 followers.

Pinterest

Macy’s has a very active Pinterest account and has adopted a rather unique approach, with some of its boards containing almost 1,000 images. In total it has pinned 9,180 images across 33 boards, which averages out at 278 pins.

The boards themselves are largely just collections of products based on a loose theme, such as ‘Follow Your Heart’, ‘Impulse’ and ‘Sparkle & Shine’.

A vast majority of the images are Macy’s products so the result is that many of the boards just look like dull ecommerce pages.

The most interesting boards are certainly those that bring in pins from third-party sites, such as the ‘Fall’ collection.

By making use of content from around the web the boards have more variety and are far more engaging than those that just show off Macy’s products.

It’s also worth noting the various competitions and cross-channel campaigns that Macy’s has run on Pinterest.

The retailer involved Pinterest in its #MacysGoesRed initiative by asking people to pin a promotional image and has also created an inspiration board as part of its #HelpMeClinton campaign.

Finally, Macy’s is currently running a Martha Stewart ‘Pin it to win it’ contest where entrants could win a $500 gift card.

To take part Pinterest users have to create a board called #MarthaMacys then pin an image featuring a product from the retailer’s new Martha Stewart collection.

The final step is to enter a few personal details and submit the board’s URL to Macy’s, so as well as gaining some extra exposure on Pinterest the retailer will also collect some useful customer data.

Google+

While compiling this series of posts I’ve come to the realisation that most brands pay very little attention to G+ and seem to be unconvinced of the benefits of maintaining an active page.

Macy’s is no different as although it has a verified account it has posted fewer than 15 updates since November 2011 and doesn’t have a header image.

Its most recent post was a sale promo on June 28, but prior to that it has remained silent for more than a year.

This kind of random posting is almost worst than remaining entirely silent as it looks sloppy and suggests that nobody is really in charge of the G+ account.

David Moth

Published 9 September, 2013 by David Moth @ Econsultancy

David Moth is Editor and Head of Social at Econsultancy. You can follow him on Twitter or connect via Google+ and LinkedIn

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Comments (4)

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Josh Trenser

I would say we can all learn something interesting from their social media efforts!!! Thanks for telling us about it!!!

almost 3 years ago

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annette white

Really interesting read & some good pointers even for myself as a small independent IT retailer! - Thanks...

almost 3 years ago

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Ed Mandell

Excellent post, really interesting and well written, I particularly liked the fact that you didn't hold back on the critiscms

almost 3 years ago

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Erwan

Great case study! And they still have a room for improvement since they do not even use Google+ while having a 130,000+ fan base. They should at least put some kind of feed from other channels to drive some traffic.

almost 3 years ago

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