What's wildly successful, unbelievably adorable, and huge on social media? If you said, "cat videos," or "Ryan Gosling," you're absolutely correct, but I'm also talking about ModCloth. I've given kudos to the San Francisco-based indie online retailer before for their catchy promotions, (can we say obsessed?), however, their success doesn't stop there. For the last two consecutive years, ModCloth has experienced an annual growth rate of 600%, and they credit this rapid growth to their customer engagement and interactivity via the ModCloth blog and social networks. With more than 400,000 Facebook 'likes', 64,500 followers on Twitter, and a stream of guest bloggers galore (including Zooey Deschanel), Modcloth is obviously doing something right. So how exactly does ModCloth take the social media cake? Let's dig in…
Everyone loves a contest and ModCloth is queen when it comes to giving things away, especially just for the sake of engagement. A slew of different contests pop up on a regular basis via ModCloth's Facebook page, blog or Twitter account. My personal favorite, which I've mentioned before, is called: "Name it & Win it,” where customers get three chances to name a new featured product. If your 'quirky' product name is chosen, you win said product, and get a feel-good creative kick for being one with the 'punny' ModCloth writers.
Twitter fans also get treated each week with ModCloth's Twitter-specific contest called "I Spy Thursday," in which a close-up photo of a product from the site is posted on Twitter. The 5th tweet to name the product correctly, wins a $25 gift card. There's also a "Book of the Month" giveaway simply for participating in a blog discussion, giveaways for creating a ModCloth wish list, submitting a photo, and the list goes on.
Most recently, ModCloth held a "Make the Cut" contest, in which they asked customers to submit their own fashion designs. The seven winners, decided by Facebook fans, receive $500 in cash; a sample of their design, and their product will then be sold on ModCloth's site. If that isn't customer engagement (and awesome!), I don't know what is!
Why it works: People love to play games, win free things and get involved. If you give your fans a chance to do all three, they'll be loyal, loving, and (hopefully) purchasing customers. Creating contests that bring people back to your site, encourage participation in multiple ways on multiple platforms, also opens up the chance to market to potential customers from a variety of playing fields.
That's What I Want
With a core demographic of 18-30 year-old fashion-forward women, ModCloth does a stellar job of involving their customers in the retail-buying scheme of things. One of ModCloth's most engaging campaigns, "Be the Buyer," allows customers to rate clothing they'd like to see sold on the site, make commentary as to why they like/dislike the product, and if their product is chosen, they get an email notifying them that it's available for purchase. ModCloth also takes "Be the Buyer" commentary into consideration and makes improvements to the products based off of the feedback.
Getting to know your customers provides you with invaluable information that not only hones in on the core of your customer, but also allows you to understand how to actually approach/market to them. So, how do you get to know your customers? By asking! And what better place to do so than on social media. ModCloth's 'Social Butterflies' are a social media team entirely dedicated to sending out enticing tweets, asking engaging questions on Facebook, and simply sharing their favorite finds with fans.
Why it works: Listening to your customers is one of, if not, the most important thing a company can do. Customers will tell you what they want, and giving them the opportunity to do so, as well as implementing their feedback into foreseeable action, will resonate with them.
Now I admit, this may seem like one big ModCloth love-fest (did I mention they also have a pug mascot named Winston? Squeal!), but you have to give props to the started-in-a-dorm-room, rapidly growing company for knowing its audience so well, and how to properly engage them. With all of ModCloth's stunning success, they not only take the social media cake, they get to eat it ... in cute dresses, too.
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Posted by: Colleen Corkery
Colleen Corkery is the Lifecycle Marketing Coordinator at VerticalResponse. She writes and reaps about all email-related things. Connect with her on Twitter at @youcollme.