Way back in 2008 Zappos was recognized as an emerging social media marketing leader. Early on, they made a strong commitment to social while other brands were essentially waiting in the wings. As new channels like Pinterest emerged, the company embraced them without hesitation.
Zappos management fully grasped the notion that marketing has always been about going where your target lives. And today, as then, your target audience is online – and spending substantial time on particular networks. You just need to discover which ones.
If you enter the words ‘Zappos social media’ in Google, you’ll get pages of links with headlines such as ‘Why Zappos is a social media superstar’. One of the most important steps that the company took (and one that we blogged about years ago) was the requirement for EVERY employee to be on social media. We still believe this is an excellent idea – even for b2b brands.
Too many companies make do with a single social media person, or a small social media department. It was seen as a necessary step to handle something that no one at the top of the company fully embraced. But recently, VentureBeat did a survey where they discovered that 17% of employees are now required to use personal social media accounts for work. While this will certainly increase exposure, it’s not the best way to go about it.
The smarter solution is to ‘break the silo’ and have as many employees as possible contribute to existing social pages for your brand. These include your LinkedIn company page, your branded YouTube and Pinterest pages, and of course the brand’s Facebook page. For Twitter, each employee should have an account that’s dedicated to your business. Other networks that may work for your business include Tumblr, Biz Sugar, Digg and StumbleUpon.
There are two primary reasons this approach is better. First, you get a far greater level of exposure for your brand, including mentions and shares. Second, different people within your organization have different types of expertise about how your company works, and why that’s important to customers. Why not let them share that information on a regular basis? You may even find that customer service will improve when you have more people responding on social networks.
When you ask companies why they don’t take this approach, the answer is typically either ‘People don’t have time for it.’ or ‘It’s too risky.’ What Zappos proved early on is that neither of those is likely to be true. If people are good enough to work for your brand, aren’t they qualified to post on social media about it?
In a content-driven marketing world, more content is almost always better than less. And one easy step to more personable content is to expand those providing it.