Posted: March 30th, 2022
Some of the most successful social media campaigns have been under the radar, like that of Goodwill of the Great Plains (Bitter, n.d.). Others are broader and international in scope, like that of Amazon. A global brand with localized needs, Amazon is an ideal company to analyze because of the success of their national and global campaigns. Yet at the same time, Amazon is not known for their social media prowess. Lacking in creativity, the Amazon media campaign reveals several gaps that can be addressed through more thoughtful leverage of the power of social.
Obviously if metrics alone were the measure of a solid social media campaign, Amazon would have no problems at all. On Facebook, total fans of the Amazon page have increased exponentially (“A deep dive into the social mediahabits and performance of Amazon,” n.d.). The same is true for Twitter, albeit with far more moderate growth (“A deep dive into the social mediahabits and performance of Amazon,” n.d.). Where Amazon really suffers is using visual social, like Instagram. Metrics show Amazon is floundering there, barely paying attention to the need for active engagement across multiple platforms (A deep dive into the social mediahabits and performance of Amazon,” n.d.). This report will reveal gaps in Amazon’s overall social media strategy with the goal of offering strategic recommendations for how to improve its presence.
National and Global Campaigns: What’s the Difference?
Amazon’s reach is so thoroughly global, their brand so entrenched in the public consciousness, it seems that the behemoth barely needs any social media presence at all. Yet nothing could be farther from the truth. Consumers expect to be actively engaged, even entertained, by companies. Clever social media campaigns create content on the fly, generating hashtags that lead to viral marketing. Essentially, the customers do the work for the company when it comes to a good social media campaign and social marketing strategy. Amazon’s biggest strength—its global supply chain and brand recognition—can also become its greatest weakness when it comes to social. As social network analysts like Scott (2017) and Serrat (2017) point out, the global reach of a network is not a measure of its embeddedness. Local messages are critical for reaching subcultures and market segments: the consumers that actually use OneClick. For Amazon to differentiate between its global and its national campaigns, it would need to hire specialized staff that could create culturally relevant content. Hashtags in local languages, imagery that can be shared on Instagram and other visual social platforms, and stunning blog content would also help embed Amazon in local social currency.
This is not to say that a global campaign is unimportant. Amazon’s success is with global strategies that leverage not just social networking and social media like Facebook, but which work with Google to influence algorithms. Amazon solidifies the filter bubbles Google create. Amazon’s presence as a curator of digital content is its key to a successful global campaign. Although sinister, this global campaign precludes the need to pay attention to Instagram and other platforms that other companies do need to worry about much more in the short run. Working locally, though, Amazon would do well to increase conversational content it creates and monitors on Facebook and Twitter. Not just relying on ad placement and tracking of personal data, Amazon should be creating a cohesive story about some of the products and services it offers.
Increasing Business Value and Profitability
Amazon hardly needs to worry about increasing its value and profitability. However, it might want to consider some threats to its current global dominance, and especially consider how it will better penetrate new markets in BRIC nations, especially China and India. Its overall failure in China can be traced to ineffective social networking and social media. Chinese aesthetics, consumer preferences, and tastes were ignored when Amazon tried to bully their way into the market. As a result, it has been forced to focus its attentions elsewhere, where its efforts might lead to more lucrative outcomes.
To increase the value of Amazon’s social media campaigns, it needs to think more like a local consumer in different markets. Using social media means embedding content in different areas, developing new narratives and encouraging consumers to engage with the brand. Promoting Amazon Prime on Facebook, for instance, should be something that consumers do instinctively and not because they saw an ad that they click on and subsequently share. When Amazon wishes to measure the profitability of its social marketing campaigns, it could concentrate on several key metrics of performance. Hitz (2017) notes that social media plays a role “at every point in the buyer’s journey,” something that Amazon knows especially well through its own sophisticated method of measuring and monitoring shopper behavior on their websites (p. 1). Maximizing value in the social media marketing means organizing and optimizing content, distributing it through the right channels at exactly the right time.
Risk of Failure
Effective use of metrics can help mitigate the risk of failure. As Hitz (2017) points out, “you shouldn’t have to go metric hunting from tab-to-tab to analyze and report on your profiles and those of your competitors,” (p. 1). While everyone wants to see deliverables, ultimately the social media strategy falls within the province of the creative marketing team. Too much time spent on metrics lowers productivity, reduces overall effectiveness, and reduces value of the campaign as a whole. Relying too much on metrics also “lowers return rates for audience growth, engagement, traffic, and conversion,” (Hitz, 2017, p. 1). What really matters with social media campaigns are conversions: transforming hastags into hits, hits into buys or downloads.
On the other hand, the senior management team is waiting for metrics. They need results, and those results are best communicated in numbers. Therefore, putting together helpful charts that depict growth and social network optimization will help alleviate fears. Serrat (2017) also points out that the “defining feature of social network analysis is its focus on the structure of relationships, ranging from casual acquaintance to close bonds,” (p. 39). Therefore, communicating how each platform connects with the other, and how each will eventually lead to inbound clients will help allay fears.
The following recommendations will help Amazon develop a more effective national and global social media campaign:
· Leverage the power of visual media by reaching out more to Pinterest, Instagram, and Snapchat users.
· Observe dark social and other stealth sharing habits, based on link copying and other measures (Hitz, 2017)
· Create novel and targeted content for specific consumers in local languages, or using imagery and tone that reflects the target audience.
· Schedule the social media for optimal times.
· Hire full-time content managers who can generate regular topical content that goes beyond mere product reviews.
· Synchronize the product review content with social media content to create actively engaged consumers.
“A deep dive into the social mediahabits and performance of Amazon,” (n.d.). https://unmetric.com/brands/amazon
Bitter, M. (n.d.). Goodwill of the great plains.
Hitz, L. (2017). How to fill the gaps in your 2017 social marketing plan. Simply Measured. https://simplymeasured.com/blog/how-to-fill-the-gaps-in-your-2017-social-marketing-plan/#sm.00000w8hs7br3xeimuxp608amfrv4
Scott, J. (2017). Social Network Analysis. London: Sage.
Serrat, O. (2017). Social network analysis. Knowledge Solutions. 39-43.
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