Most brands still struggle with finding what customers are looking for through social engagement and how to measure performance, but Neiman Marcus has found the sweet spot.

Marketers know social media is essential for success online, but they still face challenges when it comes to executive buy-in, performance measurement and how to know exactly what customers want. Some brands like Neiman Marcus are not scared off by these stumbling blocks and have created agile strategies in response to target audiences’ behavior. 

The luxury retail company recently launched a campaign for the exclusive release of the Rebecca Minkoff Elle handbag in red on Pinterest that serves as an example for how marketers should use social media content to overcome those challenges.

Measurement is getting in the way of social marketing success

55 percent of brands can’t get past the social media experimentation zone because they are unclear about the outcome of their efforts.

Pivot Conference data found that approximately 55 percent of brands can’t get past the social media experimentation zone because they are unclear about the outcomes of their efforts. Another 40 percent cite lack of metrics as an obstacle, yet over 60 percent recognize that exclusive content is what consumers want most.

Getting past the experimentation stage with a red-hot offer

Neiman Marcus’ recent release answers all of these challenges, providing Pinterest followers with privileged access to a pre-sale for the anticipated handbag between July 30 and August 12, 2013. This promotion also created a way for the brand to measure segmented referral traffic and conversions.

“I look at this as an interesting opportunity,” Apu Gupta, CEO of Pinterest and Instagram analytics firm Curalate, told ClickZ in an interview. “A user sees content and clicks through to land on a secret page on the Neiman Marcus website. [Consumers] cannot actually search for the page on Neiman Marcus, so [the brand knows] people are arriving on the page via this campaign.”

Monitoring Pinterest purchasing pathways

The success so far has been immense, increasing follower counts by 3,000 and pinning by 20 percent. However, the benefits of running a social channel exclusive promotion might be more long-standing. With the information pulled from content analytics surrounding the campaign, Neiman Marcus can learn about its Pinterest followers and develop additional strategies to drive engagement and sales in the future.

Neiman Marcus’ Pinterest marketing campaign increased follower counts by 3,000 and pinning by 20 percent.

As social marketing and ecommerce become further ingrained, it’s essential that brands track prospects’ pathways to purchase, from the point of discovery to the moment they hit the ‘Confirm’ button to buy. Without this data, they will continue to struggle connecting the dots between branded content shared on Twitter, Facebook or Pinterest and their bottom lines.

Lauren Kaye is a Marketing Editor at Brafton Inc. She studied creative and technical writing at Virginia Tech before pursuing the digital frontier and finding content marketing was the best place to put her passions to work. Lauren also writes creative short fiction, hikes in New England and appreciates a good book recommendation.