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6 Ways Zappos Uses Twitter To Increase Sales

The recent sale of Zappos (an online shoe retailer) for $1.2 Billion to Amazon made the headlines. The company is well known for its extensive use of social media including Twitter, so I thought it was worth taking a closer look to see what are some of their strategies and tactics with their use of Social Media, especially Twitter .

Online shoe retailer Zappos does shoes and social media remarkably well. Scores of bloggers, lots of video blogging and it’s nearly 400 employees on Twitter help keep the company’s profile high and humanize the folks behind the shoe sales.  Now it shouldn’t be surprising that a CEO who sold LinkExchange to Microsoft for $270 Million should grasp the importance of “driving web traffic” through well-placed “self-linking” in public conversations. A web page like twitter.zappos.com is worthy of study as the “secret sauce”:

Perhaps one of the most superb business uses of Twitter is exemplified by Zappos, the Amazonian style e-commerce company stocking over 3 million shoes, handbags, clothing item and accessories from over 1100 brands. The 24-year old CEO Tony Hsieh, not only twitters himself (with some 1,571,987 followers),

Note: He has also encouraged its Zappos’ employees to twitter, as can be seen on their twitter.zappos.com web page.


What’s more stereotypically trivial than shoe shopping? (Don’t tell my girlfriend that)  using Twitter, of course! ..she would call “that” trivial!

“Twitter is symbolic of rapid, short, synchronous and public conversations says readwriteweb.com.

Zappos has bitten off a big chunk of that paradigm.The most remarkable of all the social media efforts underway at Zappos is the company’s use of Twitter.

6 Ways Zappos uses Twitter (to devasting effect)

  • Zappos has a dedicated page for Twitter on its site that’s linked to from every other page on the site with the words What are Zappos employees doing right now? There you’ll find all of the Twittering Zappos employees’ most recent messages. Employees tweet about what they are doing at work and about interesting resources on and off the Zappos site.
  • Words throughout the page link back to search results pages in the Zappos catalog. (also called well-placed “self-linking” in public conversations). Could this really drive sales?
  • There’s also an employee leaderboard that shows who’s on Twitter and how many followers they have. Tony the CEO has five times as many followers as anyone else, perhaps because there’s a link on every page encouraging people to follow him and perhaps because CEOs are always the most interesting people at any company (sarcasm). Notably, Tony has taken the time to follow even more people than are following him – he’s got 2800+ followers and 3200+ friends.
  • Tony’s also penned a prominently placed introduction to using Twitter. Check out the intro paragraph: “Remember back when sending SMS text messages on your cell phone was a new thing, and it seemed kind of strange to use your cell phone to do that? And today, you probably wonder how you ever lived without text messaging.Well, Twitter is the same way. It’s going to seem a little weird at first, but I promise you if you can talk your friends into joining it and you all use it for 2 weeks, it will change your life. You will wonder how you ever lived without it.”
  • Transparent Brand Tracking, additionally, there’s a page that aggregates all the public mentions of Zappos from Twitter users at large. This is a great example of openness and transparency – something the company would probably be less inclined to do had they not already developed a wildly loyal customer base thanks to their famous customer service.Who wouldn’t like to have messages like this on their website, though, without exercising any control over what appears there?


  • Celebrating your super fans Zappos has set up special Twitter tracking pages for some of its favorite outside fans. Check out this page for the super charming WineLibrary.TV founder Gary Vaynerchuk, and this page for author and social media consultant Tara Hunt. That’s a great little way to say thanks to Twitter savvy brand super fans.

8 Key Outcomes This Twitter Activity Enables:

  • It drives inbound links,
  • Its employees create a good deal of internal web links
  • Raises Google Page Rank.
  • Enables a customer service forum,
  • Accelerates public relations,
  • Promotes branding
  • Provides a search engine attraction platform, creating magnets for search engine activity

So how are you using Twitter to increase sales?

Now it shouldn’t be surprising that a CEO who sold LinkExchange to Microsoft for $270 Mn should grasp the importance of driving web traffic through well-placed self-linking in public conversations. A web page like twitter.zappos.com is worthy of study as the “secret sauce”: It drives inbound links, its employees create a good deal of internal web links — all magnets for search engine activity, in particular, raising Google Page Rank.

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