The words "social strategy" may leave some of us cold but the connections that fire between client and brand as a result of social engagement will warm and inspire even the coldest keyboard. The benefits of engaging in conversations with your clients are multifold, and those conversations were never more relevant than in 2014. We're using Nordstrom as an example since its social strategy is netting the merchant significant customer traffic. However, the basics and the practice of employing a social strategy are readily applicable to most businesses.

Nordstrom has attracted 2.4 million Facebook “Likes.” The Nordstrom FB page has an simple yet enticing header image. By posting several updates daily, it shamelessly directs traffic to its e-commerce store. Most posts are product-focused, with a line of text and a hyperlink to the category page on the website, and the typical post attracts several thousand “Likes” and more than 100 comments. Nordstrom is faithful in responding to queries and comments, with product advice or simply making conversation.

Nordstrom posts several marketing tweets a day, the vast majority linking back to its e-commerce store. Its Twitter feed efficiently repurposes Facebook content, as well, and makes effective use of the Twitter image preview window so images appear in followers’ feeds—a great way to snag more screen space. Nordstorm responds to Twitter @mentions and converses with users, ranging from product questions to complaints to casual brand mentions. Another brand that is getting considerable Twitter thumbs up is American Airlines, with customer service reps answering questions and taking care of problems via tweets. The company’s Social Media Specialist Stephanie Scott says, “We’re able to take probably about 50 percent of customer issues and turn them around. We can resolve issues and make people happy. The company believes it’s an important new tool for helping people.”

With almost five million Pinterest followers, Nordstrom uses the social network to highlight products displayed in-store. Going one further, the retailer utilizes Pinterest as a decision maker in which products it merchandises in its brick-and-mortar stores. Store products that receive the most pins get a red "P" tag, drawing a link between the offline and online worlds.

If the words "social strategy" still give you a chill, substitute the word "community." It's all about building a conversation and a community with clients.