Only a select group of marketers have mastered social media. Zappos.com effectively uses it to drive user interactions and sales. The Web-based retailer is very savvy in its use of microblogs like Twitter and profile-based forums like Facebook, its efforts with we will examine here.
With all social media forums, direct marketers can engage with users in a more direct fashion. The hope is that this dialog will create a deep brand affinity and a group of brand evangelists. Zappos has found an appropriate and effective channel to engage with users without brashly marketing. At checkout, consumers are asked how they would like to share their purchase information with their Facebook friends. Choices range from “I just bought something cool at Zappos” to the highly specific “I just bought [product] at Zappos.”
This gives users the choice of what information is shared with their friends and how it is shared. Also, this social media connection works because it is only a subtle digression from their normal online behavior. Facebook is already where consumers go to tout their likes, dislikes and a wide array of other personal facts. It does not feel like an outright promotion because it is personalized. If Zappos asked customers to place a branded badge on their respective profiles, I doubt anyone would agree. In this way, the marketing message becomes secondary to sharing another personal detail.
The timeliness of the offer also works well because Zappos has its consumers’ attention at the bottom of the conversion funnel. The credibility for Zappos is priceless. This execution enables the company to aggregate individual, satisfied consumers into a broad group of brand fans.
Social media gives users control over the conversation. Backlash arises when companies try to defer or control the conversation. Zappos leads the social space because it has learned how to facilitate and participate in the conversation.
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