Using Twitter to promote my company is _____________.
While most big corporations in the US would say "essential", many companies
would say "out of the question", clamping down on any employee use of social media.
I even know of one company's social media policy that prohibits employees from participating in reality television. Apparently if you are selected to be on season 16 of the Amazing Race, your company's image will be ruined forever. And reality television isn't even social media (last I checked).
What would happen if your organization encouraged EVERYONE, all of your employees, to tweet. What would it look like?
It would look like Zappos. Zappos started off as a website where you could buy shoes. It was remarkable for offering a huge inventory, free shipping, and easy returns - thus breaking down many of the barriers to buying shoes online. Fast forward a couple of years, and Zappos now sells everything - bags, clothing, accessories, etc. So successful was Zappos, that this past July, it sold to Amazon.com for $1.2 billion.
Wanna know something unique about Zappos? Everyone, from the newest employee to the CEO is encouraged to use Twitter. Everyone. Aaaahhhhh... But how? and why?
First - on most Zappos website pages, you will find the words "What are Zappos employees doing right now?" which links to a dedicated page for Twitter. Employees tweet about what they are doing at work and about interesting resources (which they link to) on and off the Zappos site.
Second - Zappos provides a "Beginner's Quick Start Guide and Tutorial to Using Twitter."
Third - the leadership of Zappos leads by example - their CEO Tony Hsieh has 1,572,441 followers, and has taken the time to follow 395,289 people. Links on the Zappos site encourage people to follow the Zappos CEO on Twitter.
Fourth - there’s a page that aggregates all the public mentions of Zappos from Twitter users at large, "Zappos Public Mentions". How's that for corporate openess and transparency?
Finally - Zappos celebrates its most influential tweeters by setting up special Twitter tracking pages for some of its favorite outside fans. For example, one of my favorite social media gurus of all times, Gary Vaynerchuk, has this page of his pro Zappos tweets.
What does all of this Tweeting and Twitter related activity do?
- It causes outsiders to link to Zappos
- It causes Zappos employees to create links to Zappos
- It enables a customer service forum
- It accelerates public relations
- It promotes branding
- It raises the Zappos website Google page rank.
(Thank you Jeff Bulla for inspiring this post.)