Tag Archives: Twitter

Zappos Between the Tweets: Breaking Down How Zappos Uses Twitter

A veteran direct marketer was commenting on a LinkedIn forum that she wasn’t really bought into the value of having a ton of followers on Twitter – it’s costly, time consuming and “isn’t direct marketing just more efficient?” The ROI vs “engagement” and “conversations” argument went back and forth and ultimately others in the forum pointed to Zappos as an example of marketers who leverage social media to indirectly drive revenues.

Indeed, Zappos.com CEO Tony Hseih has amassed an impressive 650,000 followers. While a lot of Zappos rabid following is a reflection of the company itself (The Nightline video overview of Zappos nicely summarizes the “great customer service” and “fun” philosophy), you don’t get hundreds of thousands of followers without providing some reason to be loyal.

So what can a marketer looking to go social learn from Zappos? Sifting through 169 Tweets over the last three months (March 1st – May 25th), a few things stand out:

Tweet Frequency: Keep it Steady, but Don’t Overwhelm

  • Tony averages just under 2 tweets per day
  • Over the 86 days, he Tweeted on all but five days (and two of those were well-deserved Easter and Memorial Day holidays)
  • Only 9% of the time did Tony Tweet more than three times during a day and his max number of tweets in any one day was five (which he hasn’t repeated since March)

Tweet Content: Keep True to the Brand and Stay Away from the Hard-Sell

  • 54% of the Tweets were humorous, often reflections on the absurdities of travel and/or meetings
  • 10% of the Tweets offered inspirational quotes, more often funny than not
  • 25% of the Tweets were about interaction with the brand, either soliciting feedback, sharing insider info
  • 11% were random things that Tony shared, whether viewing a movie, a book, an article or a picture
  • 0% of the Tweets were about a specific product
  • 0% of the Tweets were about sales

In addition to humor, much of the insider information is really showing the extension of the Zappos culture, whether it be their rap video about the Zappos golf cart, a video to solicit Ellen DeGeneres to visit their office, or pictures of the Zappos team getting their heads shaved (an annual event). The posts humanize the company as being made up of individuals; the Tweets aren’t being out-sourced to a PR agency, just like Zappos makes it a point of strength that they don’t out-source customer support (it’s the foundation of their brand).

Engaging Customers: Planting the Seed, Subtly

While the ROI hungry may bemoan the lack of the phrases “on sale” or “buy now” in the Zappos Tweets, the company is actually subtly leveraging the Twitter followers to further engage in the brand (75% of sales come from repeat buyers) in a multitude of ways:

  • Cross-promoting a sister site: “Excited about the relaunch/redesign of 6pm.com (our sister web site, lots of discounts)! – http://www.6pm.com
  • Getting users to check out their extension into selling clothes in addition to shoes: “Fill blanks & tweet out by 11:27 AM Pacific “My favorite CLOTHING brand @Zappos sells is _ because _.” I’ll pick 3 winners ($150 Zappos GC)!”
  • Getting users to explore and give feedback on a site seach/buy redesign: “Headed to a meeting to discuss the future of fun experimental web site http://explore.zappos.com
  • Sharing with users what’s selling in real-time: “Cool… See what people are buying from Zappos in real-time! (Warning: may induce hypnosis) – http://bit.ly/zapposmap
  • Cross-promoting Zappos on Celebrity Apprentice: “At Celebrity Apprentice viewing upstairs at Hot Rod Grille in Henderson. Stop by if you’re around, it’s a @Zappos task episode! NBC 9-11 PM”
  • Showing web/tech stars like Guy Kawasaki opening up Zappos boxes and getting non-shoe items at SXSW: “Thx @magnify @briansolis @StephAgresta for putting together the Zappos BoxBreak vids (thought Shira’s was funny)! – http://bit.ly/zboxbreak
  • And providing various ways to meet up directly: Tweetups, registering for the local Las-Vegas area marathon and even the company picnic.

In the end, the Zappos story is not necessarily that they are great at using Twitter, but that Zappos has a unique brand philosophy of driving loyalty that is augmented by Tweets that are true to that message. For them, the ability to spark loyalty amongst their customers (through sending users to competitive sites if they don’t have something in stock, a 365 day return policy and yes, engaging Tweets from a brand with personality) will turn into happy customers that will shop with them again and again. It’s not a short-term return, but a long-term relationship that drives Zappos, which comes through loud and clear in nearly every Tweet.

As marketers, we have to continue to push our organizations toward the long-term view and invest in social media not as a short-term ROI project, but as a long-term commitment to improving customer lifetime value.

Update: Being a numbers guy, couldn’t help explore the click through rates though: After the Tweet: Exploring Twitter Click Through Rate Benchmarking to Measure Engagement

Managing Facebook Fan Pages and Twitter with Sweat and Duct Tape

Yesterday, Mashable posted a nice overview of 25 different tools you can use to manage multiple Twitter accounts, but ideally you want to integrate your social media strategy across both your Twitter account and your Facebook Fan Page. As a marketer, it’s important to get an overview of the conversations happening about your brand across both platforms, as well as guide the conversations with posts to both platforms. In addition, you want the flexibility to send the same message to both audiences, but don’t want Facebook users to get confused with hashtags, retweets and other Twitter-specific lingo.

Of the tools Mashable mentioned, desktop dashboards (like TweetDeck and Seesmic) provide a single view of your Facebook and Twitter accounts, allowing you to read and post across both platforms, but both miss the mark in being able to integrate cleanly with your Facebook Fan Page .

From a reading perspective, the dashboards nicely allow you to categorize the different people you follow (e.g. one column for your email marketing tweets and another for your social marketing tweets), but the integration with Facebook is only for your profile page, not your Facebook Fan Page, a short-coming that I would think could be easily fixed in future releases (if you can integrate your Facebook friends, why not integrate the Wall comments from fan pages?).

Where the dashboards can have value is providing a single platform for you to post messages, although you need a little duct tape to make it work with a Facebook Fan Page and it’s not as clean as you’d like. To get these dashboards to post to your Facebook Fan Page instead of your profile page, you need to add Andy Young’s Selective Twitter application to your Facebook Fan Page (see the steps below). Once you have this installed, you can select which Twitter account you want synched with which Facebook Fan Page.

Then for any post that you want specifically to show up on both Twitter and your Facebook Fan Page, post via Twitter and add “#fb” to the end of it. This will instruct Facebook to read the Tweet, direct it to the right Fan Page, parse away the #fb, and add it to the Fan Page status. For example:

While this is a nifty way to simultaneously post to both Twitter and your Facebook Fan Page, it does have the side-effect of adding #fb to the end of some of your Twitter posts.

The toolset for marketers is rapidly developing to help marketers manage the onslaught of social media-based conversations in an efficient way. Yet the current tools at hand don’t provide a true overview of conversations about your brand nor an efficient and clean method to guide the conversation across multiple platforms. Companies like Vitrue and Radiant6 are working on enterprise tools that cover Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and blogs. In the interim, marketers will do what they always do, experiment with duct tape (fusing Twitter Select and Dashboards together) and sweat (manually reviewing Facebook Fan Page Conversations).

Are you aware of other tools emerging to help marketers manage social media marketing more efficiently?

Setting up Selective Twitter Application for your Facebook Fan Page

  1. Go to your Facebook Fan Page
  2. Click Edit Page
  3. Scroll to More Applications box at the bottom of the page and click on the Edit pencil in upper right hand corner of that box to select Browse More
  4. Search for Selective Twitter, click on it and select Add to Page
  5. This should take you back to your Fan Page and you should then be able to Edit Page again and find Selective Twitter as an application
  6. Choose the Your Fan Pages tab and put in the Twitter Username you want associated with the account, and Save Changes

Update: Two key points when configuring…

  • Selective Twitter might prompt you to put your Twitter ID under the Your Profile tab – be sure to leave that blank and put your Twitter ID under the Your Fan Pages tab
  • Be sure to disable or remove the standard Twitter app as it conflicts with Selective Twitter

How Facebook Avoids Being the Next AOL

Facebook status lines and Twitter’s Tweets are the current behemoths in allowing users to start a conversation with friends, family, colleagues and strangers. On a very simplistic level, they almost act like a contact management system, like Outlook with a broadcasting feature. For all the growth, social sites and Twitter are being co-opted into dashboards (like TweetDeck and seesmic), allowing users to filter, follow and interact with their multiple circles of friends in one place.

Facebook has clearly seen the writing on the wall, working closely with these dashboard providers to ensure they are integrated, and focusing their efforts in leveraging the huge network of users in other ways – namely via Facebook Connect (tying users activity outside of Facebook back into the friend feeds, ensuring you don’t need to leave) and the recent news reported by Eric Eldon at Venture Beat about a new payment system (http://venturebeat.com/2009/05/11/facebook-to-test-virtual-currency-with-developers-in-a-few-weeks/).

If Facebook follows through and launches a payment system using a virtual currency (like credits) that is as easy to integrate into other sites ala Facebook Connect, it not only succeeds in making payments simple and moving towards profitability, but provides Facebook a chance to avoid becoming the next AOL (a company that defines a space but then gets left in the dust once the walls come tumbling down).