When we think of the poster child for social media, we think of Zappos. The online department store (yes, it’s beyond shoes) puts all of their employees on Twitter and openly shows off its culture online. Apparently it paid off, because it caught the attention of Jeff Bezos of Amazon, who bought Zappos for $928 million.
I’m not a Zappos customer, but I do applaud them for putting their employees on Twitter. Why? Because if I buy something from them, I know I’m not supporting a dysfunctional company that has one person who actually bothers with Facebook and Twitter and 100 people who are miserable because their boss doesn’t respect them.
While I would actually handle their campaign a bit differently by actually accentuating the fun of buying new clothes and shoes and hiring people who understand this, there is no argument: it is easy to wrap your head around what kind of company Zappos is. When we enter a business and see a bunch of miserable teenagers who don’t care to answer our questions, we assume the owner has no pride in his or her business. When we walk in and see a bunch of people who are passionate about what they do, it tends to rub off on us. We focus on the quality of goods and services versus just the price.
The online space is no different. When we see a company Twitter page, we assume they went to some social media seminar or saw it on CNN and decided to give it a whirl. We don’t assume that a company is ethical or actually has good products. When we see that other employees happily use their Twitter feeds and associates their online identity with the company, we can get a clearer picture about how that company works.
Mark my words: the companies that see the greatest ROI by using social media will be the ones who focus on providing the best service instead of getting the most followers or being seen standing next to Jeremiah Owyang. We don’t care if you are social media famous– we care if we get value by using your goods and services. By listening and valuing our customers whether it’s via social media, the phone, or in person, we can foster sustainable brands that will always survive in the future.