Industry: Online retail
Zappos and Social Media
Zappos, one of the largest online shoe retailers has found success in pushing traditional boundaries when it comes to employee involvement in social media contributions. Staff members are ideal advocates as they have a familiarity of the company, vision and values. The online shoe giant recognizes the value of having their staff as advocates and encourages, educates and provides opportunity for their staff to speak about Zappos through social media.
Zappo’s CEO Tony Hsieh has curated a curriculum for all employees with a focus on social media, topics include public speaking and Twitter use. “The vision is that three years from now, almost all our hires will be entry-level people,” Hsieh says. “We’ll provide them with training and mentorship, so that within five to seven years, they can become senior leaders within the company.” Educating staff how to effectively promote a company is key to managing brand image and equipping staff to be positive ambassadors. Hsieh speaks from experience and currently boosts 2.78 million followers on Twitter.
Hsieh has encourage his employees to consistently upload social media content. Some content is relevant to the products sold, but mostly it involves the culture of Zappos. For example, the collection of videos labeled “”Inside the Photo Studio”, profiles different members of their team and gives a peek at their personality and daily job tasks. These videos are posted on Youtube, Zappo’s blog and on Facebook.
Employee participation is evident on Twitter, where staff members are encouraged to tweet and express themselves. An account @InsideZappos has been created to facilitate and instigate employees to be active in the social media dialogue. An official hash tag #insidezappos speaks to their fun culture and the level of social media integration.
Jenn Lim created the Zappos Culture Book, which champions the thought that happier employees = happier customers = profitable/sustainable business (and most importantly, meaningful lives. Zappos embraced this happiness model, and engaged employees to drive a high-performing business. Social media engagement is one layer of how Zappos involves employees in the Delivering Happiness business model to increase productivity and profitability. Delivering Happiness has grown to become a separate company, which coaches others to use happiness as a business model.
Lessons: Zappos has utilized social media to benefit employees and produce a genuine image to the public. They are one of the largest online retailers and have been able to maintain their growth by encouraging employee involvement in social media as a key strategy of Delivering Happiness. Their approach has been well thought out on all levels and includes education, encouragement and opportunity.
Submitted By: Stephanie Lau/ Student, Social Media for Business Performance,University of Waterloo