Organisation Name: Etsy
Industry: Online retail
Description of how social media is used for business performance:
Founded in 2005 with $50,000 of seed capital, Etsy – an online marketplace enabling independent artists and craftspeople to sell their wares – has crafted it’s own remarkable success story. Their growing community is made up of over 875,000 shops listing more than 13 million items, and has a membership of over 15 million in 150 countries.
While Etsy’s meteoric growth has in large part been credited to word of mouth, their success must also be attributed to their use of social media; maintaining an active presence on today’s most popular networks – Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Tumblr, YouTube and Flickr. With over 1.6 million followers on Twitter (@Etsy), the majority of their tweets reference products and ideas from their shop owners, driving traffic to etsy.com. They also retweet mentions of Etsy, and build relationships by communicating with members directly. In fact a second account (@etsyhelp) is maintained for the sole purpose of providing quick support. Etsy’s Facebook page, which mirrors the content of it’s Twitter feed, has garnered 749,000 likes and Etsy is currently the most popular brand on Pinterest – the fast growing visual bulletin board website. On their own site, every product page connects back to these networks with buttons to Tweet, Like or Pin.
In addition to promoting themselves, Etsy has produced tutorials and handbooks to help shop owners establish their own social media presence; many of their top sellers have Facebook or Twitter pages with hundreds or thousands of likes and followers of their own. Enabling their users to build their own social networks inevitably leads to further building the greater Etsy community.
Lessons for others / results:
Etsy’s active involvement in many popular social networks has helped it develop a growing, engaged online community, contributing to an astounding 42 million unique visitors and 1.4 billion page views monthly and sales of $525.6 million in 2011. Additionally, by helping Etsy shop owners grow their own businesses through social media, they continue to extend their own network.
Submitted by: Darryl Allen, University of Waterloo
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