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featured Reach vs Impressions Twitter Analysis Youtube Analytics Instagram Strategy Research & Trends

Big Retailers - Big Engagement? Social Media Strategies of Ikea Kohl’s & Co.

by Julian Gottke on January 14, 2015

After we received great feedback on our last blogpost on NYT and their Instagram strategy, we wanted to enhance our understanding of more companies and their strategies in the social media landscape.

The following analysis is digging deeper into the social media strategies of big retailers such as Target, Nordstrom, Macy’s, IKEA and Kohl’s. We looked into the content they are posting, the specific posting times and how they try to reach their target customers exactly. The findings are interesting for every marketer, as engagement rates prove an effective utilisation of social media. Fourteen retailers were analyzed and the top three, ranked by the highest engagement rate, are discussed here.

Facebook Top 3: Nordstrom, IKEA USA, West Elm


  •      Post Type Distribution: 97% photos, 3% videos
  •      96.58% like interaction, rest shares and comments
  •      Amazon, for example, has just 41% likes and higher amount of shares and comments
  •      One of the lowest percentages of shares on average of the analyzed 26 retailers
  •      Replying to almost all user inquiries within the first 2 hours of posting
  •      Posts here are noticeably short (2-12 words), with shortened bit.ly links
  •      7155 link clicks on average on the last 20 posts
  •      19 pictures and 1 video
  •      Video engagement here is lower than the average
  •      No big differences in interaction based on day of the week

West Elm

  •      Longer posts than Nordstrom but still short with a word count up to 20 words
  •      Custom links included in every post
  •      Huge engagement spikes (57 likes 2 comments on a photo on 22nd February, 6000 likes, 102 comments one day later)
  •      Post time never before 7pm (GMT-5)
  •     Highest engagement on wednesdays


  •      Post Type Distribution: 72% links, 12% photos and 15% videos
  •      Likes and link clicks are depending on the specific post, resulting in peaks
  •      Links are not always implemented in the post with bit.ly links
    • According to Facebook, including a link has a positive influence on the visibility in the user’s newsfeed
  •      Interaction per day very similar but lower on thursdays

Twitter Top 3: Target Style, Target, Macy's

Target Style:

  •      Low amount of followers compared to the competition
    • But double the engagement rates as its “Big Brother” Target and huge players like Macy’s, Kohl’s and Sephora
  •      2700 retweets with 300 tweets is an awesome ratio, on average roughly 5 tweets per day
  •      Most tweets with colorful and high contrast pictures
  •      Replying to users five times a day on average
  •      Interaction seems to be event dependent
    • Peaks in certain weeks, which were the Oscars and Golden Globes in this case


  •      Scrolling through their timeline gives the impression that they mainly use Twitter for interacting and responding with their followers
  •      Tweeting 3.5 times on average, responding to roughly half of their mentions
  •      Events help achieving great peaks in engagement
    • The company tries to utilize these events using hashtags as often as possible
  •      Most shared tweets always contain hashtags, links, pictures and often @-mentions


  •      Huge interaction with customers, nice tone while talking to them
    • Nevertheless Kohl’s does not respond to all mentions
  • Every tweet contains a picture, mostly colorful, sometimes low-contrast
  • Using seasonal hashtags such #spring or #easter to reach like-minded people

Instagram Top 3: Target, IKEA USA, Nordstrom


  •      65 posts in two months, one post per day on average
  •      10k likes on an average picture, posted content is very colorful
  •      Target is not using hashtags very regularly
  •      No videos, No filters
  •      Consistent interaction rate


  •      Comparatively high frequency of posts with 2 per day
  •      Using #Kohls trying to bundle offers
  •      Seasonal hashtags as on Twitter #UnlockSpring
    • Started a campaign #unlockspring, which shows spring dresses in a catalogue
  •      100% pictures


  •      Ikea uses Instagram for posting off-topic content
  •      Mainly bright pictures, no filters are used
  •      High engagement rates around 6pm
  •      Do not seem to have a hashtag strategy such as Kohls

In a nutshell, we can say that all of these retailers are interacting in trending topics such as #Oscars or #GoldenGlobes to amplify their reach utilizing the buzz of specific events as part of their social media strategies. As seen in the dashboard we used for this analysis, the peaks at certain dates show that this is working well. As well as that, common hashtags such as #ootd are used frequently, trying to reach people who are not (yet) part of the follower-base. As seen on Kohl’s Instagram channel it is possible to use hashtags not just for trying to amplify reach, but also for bundling posts in one overview, creating a catalogue for clients. 

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