How Zappos Got Social Media Right (among other things!)
I recently shared my thoughts on Zappos corporate culture and how it can help both business development and recruitment. A success story, pre, during and post recession, Zappos was acquired by Amazon in 2009 for a reported 1.2 billion USD. In 2010 the company received over 38,000 applications for employment and in 2011, expect to hire 2,000 employees. Evidently they’re doing something right!
Zappos credits much of its success from its loyalty and relationship marketing strategy as well as its corporate culture. They believe that happiness at work equates happiness at home and a focus on customer service results in repeat business. As such, the company does not have a social media policy. CEO Tony Hsieh just wants staff to “Be real and use [their] best judgment”. As such, employees are allowed to access their social media accounts at work as long as the customer comes first.
Zappos therefore encourages employees to include company information and opinions on their Facebook, Twitter and personal blogs in addition to their LinkedIn profile. The company even has a Twitter aggregate (http://twitter.zappos.com) of all employee twitter feeds. This serves as an excellent word-of-mouth platform for marketing as well as recruitment.
As Zappos’ culture embraces both a personal and professional outlook, Facebook is a perfect medium to attract potential employees. Their corporate Facebook page is far from corporate as it includes posts highlighting their company culture, photos from employee events, their merchandise catalog and of course, a list of their current job vacancies. If you’re trying to promote your brand as a great place to work, what better way to do so that combining your marketing efforts with recruitment? After all, customers can make great employees.
Zappos’ recruitment strategy is to provide a ‘wow’ service to every candidate and this is partly achieved by thinking of every employee as a mini recruiter. The combined social networks are extensive and the company’s aim is to make an authentic connection with everyone they interact with. They believe in achieving one-on-one relationships through this medium and not just ‘building a network’. They also encourage staff to post videos and links about the company. Not only does this promote the corporate and employer brand, it also serves as a great team building and connecting piece. As the company grows, it allows employees to stay in touch.
Social media for recruitment is the new reality and the numbers speak for themselves. While only 9% of Zappos’ employee applications come from referrals (including employees’ personal social media promotion), 29% of those individuals get hired. This also doesn’t account for the ‘halo effect’, where someone might first see reference to Zappos through individuals’ social media, but subsequently conducts additional research and applies through the website. By having an increased presence on blogs, chat, RSS, social networks, message boards, podcasts and video/photosharing, Zappos has integrated its corporate and employer brand, resulting in increased candidate flow and incomparable corporate culture. After all, any company who can get 38,000 applications in a single year must be doing something right!