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Zappos : Social Media Marketing Example #26

Brian Chappell.

Zappos is one of those companies that gets thrown around whenever social media case studies come up. If you have followed the industry over the last 2 years you have undoubtedly seen them come up in PowerPoint presentations and various speeches on the topic of ‘who's doing it right’ in social media. And, for good reason.  Zappos has really embraced social internally, and it shows.

Let's take a look at what Zappos has done over the past couple years in our last social media example, number 26.

Zappos Twitter Presence

Zappos was one of the first companies to embrace a Twitter aggregation page: http://twitter.zappos.com/. Essentially they created a page on their site that pulls in all the mentions of the company. This is a great way to show the authority of a brand. If there are lots of people discussing your brand then that tends to convey a strong level of legitimacy.

This is also a great way to cross promote the various Twitter accounts the company has, such as the Zappos CEO account which has well over 1 million followers.

Zappos as a company is an early adopter of technologies. It is one of the first companies to embrace Twitter like this and create an aggregation page that has garnered over 1,000 different mentions/links on various industry sites and blogs when looking directly at the link count for the twitter.zappos.com sub domain. This was a very smart move on their part and has paid dividends with an increase in links.

Link Acquisition 

More often than not when companies discuss social media, SEO is not top of mind. But, this isn’t always the case as some agencies and consultants in the industry understand the power and importance of holistic social efforts, and Zappos is a perfect example of a company that thinks holistically.

Zappos.com’s link graph is a perfect example conveying the power of a true social mentality. Since June 2007, when Zappos joined Twitter, they have pushed their employees to embrace new media technologies and become active on those platforms. It is not a coincidence that Zappos has turned its link acquisition into overdrive since doing so. See the chart below which was pulled from MajesticSEO:

This sort of link worth will help their bottom line substantially. I am sure Zappos already ranked pretty well in the search engines, but this sort of link development can only help the entire site garner more search traffic and subsequent sales.

 

Zappos Facebook

If you peruse over to the Zappos Facebook account you will see once again, a company who understands social. Engagement of their followers is very high, with daily status updates on the page with either questions or sharing of internal Zappos activities. Talk about a great way to make a company seem human, eh?

Their Facebook Fan Page has acquired roughly 28,000 fans to date.  This may be fewer than expected for a company that has over a million followers on Twitter; however, I would argue that these fans are very engaged as evidenced by the 63 comments incurred on the Jan 7 status update.

For the most part Zappos is doing a good job of engaging its users via their Facebook account. However, there is still room to grow with their account - something just seems missing from it overall. One area I feel could use more work is growing readership and subscribers via contests. I noticed a few contests they ran that were shared in status updates, but in large part they felt devoid of any social mechanism that would really cause them to be successful.

 

Zappos YouTube

 

 

As you can see above there is a lot of activity on the YouTube channel page for Zappos. This is in large part due to the sheer amount of upload activity going on. Since Zappos encourages their employees to be social, there is never a shortage of content. Although it might seem that Zappos is doing a good job on YouTube, I feel like there is some room for improvement.

Perhaps running more targeted campaigns and looking into channel sponsorships could help. At Ignite, we've found that YouTube can create great ROI, it’s just a matter of finding the right hook and empowering your customers to get creative.

 

On Site Page Sharing

 

Frequently a user will find something online that they want as a gift. However, they forget to tell their significant other that they want the item. If you use Amazon you can simply save the item to your wish list, or in this case, you can share the page with a friend using Zappos' share feature integrated on every page.

Zappos has implemented this pretty well throughout their site. If you click on the ‘add from address book’ above you can pull in contacts from various services such as your Google, Yahoo or MSN account, which makes it easy to find the person you are interested in sharing the page with.

 Register on Zappos Contest – Free Schwag

The above example shows how Zappos is using a contest to increase email and user signups with the site. I pulled this in as an example to show how they could beef it up to make it more social. I understand that there are probably more benefits and greater value to have one more registered site user than a Facebook fan for example, but I still feel there are ways they could make this contest more social.

It would be interesting if they added another section of this form that allowed users to share the form with other users in exchange for additional chances of winning the prize (e.g., each email they send increases their odds by 1).

We have done this in the past for some of our clients at Ignite, and it has proven to be an effective way to get more subscribers, fans etc. Think of it partly as selling your friends for more chances to win. You would be surprised the effect this can have at spreading contest such as this.

Blog About This Item

 

Ecommerce sites that have the scale and traffic levels of a Zappos.com can really benefit from loading grabable widgets on product pages such as the example above. In this example the user can grab a badge saying they like the product http://www.zappos.com/5th-avenue-lx-champion-grey-suede , and place it on their site. This sort of sharing/fanning integration isn’t going to produce a ton of interest, but when you are working on the scale that Zappos is, this can prove to be a very viable way to build links and brand awareness.

I have a feeling you will see more e-commerce shops like Zappos in the future arming their customers with badges to show their appreciation.

Summary

One of the major problems you typically hear about companies like Zappos and what they are doing, is that it doesn't relate to you as a company. It is easy to see the amount of work and effort it takes to pull off the social efforts that they have employed. The key to really pulling this off, and what Zappos has done such a good job of, is training social tactics at the employee level like their Twitter aggregation page and their employee Facebook activity and YouTube uploads. Don't simply rely on your marketing team to pull this off, you need to integrate it into a corporate level strategy.

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Comments

6 thoughts on “Zappos : Social Media Marketing Example #26

  1. Lyndon Williams

    This is a textbook case study. Well done.

    I only have a few questions to ask:

    1.) Has Zappo's done any ATL advertising? [Print / TV]
    2.) Have they also held any events?
    3.) What sort of PR are they doing?
    4.) Who are their agencies and what sorts of [estimated] budget distributions are there / have there been?

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