DSW Builds Shoe-lover Community with Social Media

Aug 16, 2012 6:02 PM  By

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Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant
Multichannel Merchant
O+F Operations and Fulfillment

When it comes to using social media as a selling tool, Designer Shoe Warehouse gets it. Social media is not an avenue for selling product, but a place to build a community.

During her session at eTail Boston on Tuesday, DSW senior vice president Kelly Cook gave examples of why the shoe-seller’s Facebook page is a very active hangout for almost 700,000 fans.

She also explained why building a community of loyal followers has lead to future earnings for DSW.

“(The DSW Facebook page) is a shoe-lover community and hangout,” Cook said. “We don’t bring up politics and current events, it’s purely about the love of shoes.”

DSW does not have a Facebook commerce storefront, not does it need one. Though DSW does have contests and promotions to drive traffic from Facebook to DSW.com, its Facebook fans link back to the site to show off shoes they love, and post videos and pictures of their in-store finds.

And DSW’s Facebook fans police themselves, Cook said. If an inappropriate (spam) post is added to the page, Facebook fans will “chase that person away.”

One contest DSW recently ran on Facebook coincided with the opening of its first store in New York City, on 34th Street. In honor of the street address, DSW gave away a pair of shoes for 34 days.

“It cost us maybe $1,500 and generated a lot of buzz,” Cook said. “Every time our fans talk about us (in Facebook, DSW.com gets) a hit.”

Another thing DSW recently started doing is changing how it posted photos of its employees on its Facebook page. Cook said the pictures had been from the waist up. Now they post photos of what DSW employees are wearing on their feet.

That also spawned into a contest. If a follower posts a photo of herself wearing the same shoes as a featured employee, she can win a prize.

Twitter has also been a big community and traffic-driver for DSW.

On Fridays, DSW uses its Twitter feed for its Free Shoes Friday contest. Every Friday at noon Eastern Time, @DSWShowLovers tweets a trivia question to its fans. The first 10 followers who answer it correctly – and include their loyalty club number – win a free pair of shoes.

Twitter is also a place where Cook said DSW learned to listen to its followers.

Because of the time the Free Shoes Friday contest started, west coast followers complained it was too early for them to participate. So DSW moved the start time back to noon to allow those on the west coast a chance to participate.