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Being Social Media


I’m happy to see that according to the 2011 Social Media Examiner Report,

marketers place a high value on social media. In fact, 90% of marketers surveyed said social media is important for their business.

Other top line findings include:

Online Retailers did, however, point to a number of benefits (to using social media), such as building brand awareness and improving customer service:

  • 90% said search-engine marketing was the most effective source used to acquire customers last year, and they see social marketing strategies as experimental and needing further exploration.
  • 82% said they’re pursuing social networking simply to learn more about what it can do.
  • 62% said their return on investment was either unaffected by social media or that the benefits remain unclear.
  • 61% said they see the primary ROI from social marketing as “listening to and better understanding our customers.”
  • 52% said they’re participating because they don’t want to be left behind.
  • 45% cited the tremendous buzz about social networking as reason to participate.
  • 37% said they’re participating because it’s inexpensive to do so.


So when I was asked to think of industries successfully using social media I immediately thought of online retailer Zappos The company sells shoes, clothing and accessories online.

Since joining Twitter a few years ago, I immediately learned of Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh (pronounced Shay)!/zappos.

For those of you who don’t know the story, Tony (then 24 years old) sold the company (he cofounded) Link Exchange to Microsoft for $265MM USD.

Tony joined Zappos as an advisor and investor then CEO. He brought the company from close to no sales to about a billion dollars in gross merchandise sales annually [Source:].

Toward the end of 1999 Zappos was acquired by for about $1.2 billion USD. Tony is still the CEO.

It is no doubt the company is steeped in social media. On its Facebook welcome tab it says, “Let’s be in a like-like relationship.” The page encourages fans and has open dialogue with customers.

After a fan “likes” Zappos on Facebook, they are asked to join an email list. And so the relationship continues. Each offer disocunts, news about new products, exclusive content and videos.

To further enhance to social experience there are custom widgets that fans display their comments and accolades to name a few.

In an interview by Cliff Michaels,

“Tony has not only created a paradigm shift in corporate culture, he’s delivering happiness to thousands of employees and millions of online loyalists through “fun, change, and a little weirdness.”

As Tony says, “Your culture is your brand. Customer service shouldn’t just be a department, it should be the entire company.” [Source:]

So has social media efforts been successful? You tell me.



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