Companies use social media to boost e-Commerce sales

Companies + social media marketing = boost for e-Commerce sales

Online retailers, computer companies, and other more traditional “brick & mortar” type companies are leveraging social media to boost e-Commerce sales.  While other companies appear ready to consider a marketing option that includes at least some aspect of social media, Starbucks, Dell, and JetBlue are not waiting on the sidelines, they are leading the way and have enjoyed increased sales as a result.

In a prior Examiner article, Do you need a social media champion?, I shared the observation, “Marketing firms, ad agencies, large companies, entrepreneurs, small businesses, sales people, start-up companies, consulting firms, internet marketing firms, job seekers, software developers, technology pioneers, hiring managers, curiosity seekers, and everything in between, are taking a much closer look at social media to understand exactly what it is, and what, if any benefits, it has to offer.”

Starbucks, Dell, and JetBlue got results using innovative ways to provide value for customers using social media.  Social Media Success Stories on SlideShare mentions Starbucks, Dell, and many other companies who have found success with web 2.0 marketing. The author mentions that, “new technologies evolve daily resulting in new opportunities.  Cutting edge campaigns can look “old fashioned” within months.  The focus of these campaigns is usually not on direct sales, but rather on brand building and initiation of conversation among potential consumers.”

The Starbucks success story

Starbucks jumped into the social media arena with My Starbucks Idea – Starbucks’ own version of a social network where customers are asked to share their ideas on anything related to Starbucks. Starbucks also started a blog entitled “Ideas in Action”.  This allows them to reach many more customers across a wide social media landscape, recognizing that not all consumers use the same social networking sites.

Starbucks increased its online brand presence with these additions:

Starbucks on Twitter
Starbucks on Facebook
Starbucks on YouTube

In a blog post, Starbucks’ Formula to Social Media Success, marketing consultant Ayelet Noff analyzes Starbucks highly-visible social media footprint across the web, the secret for its success.

“Overall Starbucks’s social media strategy integrates many different elements into the mix and combined together, these elements create a social media plan that works beautifully to create millions of fans for the brand and keep them involved in the brand’s doings. The brand has created a digital dialogue with its customers, enabling people to give their feedback and receive a response back from Starbucks addressing their concerns/comments. Starbucks is showing its customers and potential customers – “hey, we care about what YOU have to say.”

“I am certain that if each one of these elements was done alone then the strategy would not have been as successful and complete as it is when done like this in integration with the rest of the elements on board.”

Starbucks has over 705,000 followers on twitter and over 5,428,000 fans on Facebook. I guess you could say that they’re doing something right on the Web.” – Ayelet Noff, aka Blonde 20, 1/11/10

A post by Clark Fredricksen offered this insight.

“While the classic mantra on social media may be all about “conversation” and no up sell, the reality is that a mix of promotion and interaction can yield results, as companies like Dell, JetBlue, and Starbucks show.”

“More to the point: Consumers — even those on social networks — really aren’t that offended if you give them a good deal. As we wrote in a recent newsletter article, “those polled for the ‘2009 Cone Consumer New Media Study’ were interested in brands that would keep them informed, provide product information and give incentives—and generally use new media to help solve consumers’ problems.”     – Tracking Twitter Success at Dell posted by: Clark Fredricksen – December 11, 2009


JetBlue made good use of the fan option on Facebook to spearhead an All-You-Can-Jet Fan Sweepstakes promotion, where being a fan on Facebook might qualify you for free round-trip tickets, a vacation for you and three friends, or even unlimited free travel on JetBlue for a year.


Dell offered both coupon discount promotions on Twitter, and good customer service by “listening” to customer complaints and offered free shipping, in one instance to address a problem.

Dell Inc., relying on social- networking sites to drum up sales of personal computers, said its promotions on Twitter have helped generate more than $6.5 million in orders for PCs, accessories and software.” – By Connie Guglielmo, December 8, 2009

Take the time to learn social media marketing or not?

A post by Amanda Brooke puts it this way –

“Internet research has shown that social media communities, blogs and social networking can have as much or more of an impact and effect than TV, radio or print media.”

“Online businesses that use social media to build their brand, and to assist in customer service, will rise to the top much faster than those who don’t.”

“By working on your brand recognition on the most popular social media sites such as Twitter, MySpace, Facebook and YouTube, you can reach a much, much broader audience than traditional marketing methods.”

“Take the time to learn about Social media marketing!”

– From Your Social Media IQ: Understanding How it Works for eCommerce – Amanda Brook 11/ 03/09

Where will your company find customers? Are you “all in” or watching from the sidelines?

The jury may still out on whether other companies choose to add social media marketing to their traditional marketing campaigns, but for the companies covered in this article, they have enjoyed success not only with increased e-Commerce sales, but have strengthened their online brand presence and created a very highly-visible social media footprint across the web.

“Listening” to their customers, and creating conversations that span several social media sites, allows for communication that strengthens relationships for existing and potential customers. This has become a top priority for Starbucks, and other successful companies, who have learned to navigate the ever evolving world of web 2.0 / social media marketing.

Is your company taking advantage of the opportunity to Learn, Listen, and Engage to Build strong relationships by offering something of value to the social community and potential customers?

You have to go where the customers are and be willing to try marketing in a different way.  If you don’t, your competitors will see the potential, jump in and seize the moment, and utilize social media marketing that will likely take customers away you might have had.

Is your company willing to risk remaining on the sidelines and watch your competition take away e-Commerce sales that may have been yours?

To view this Examiner article and other articles that may be of interest, click here.

Friday shout-outs => Best social media + job search + personal branding sites

ADheadshot500Friday shout-outs => Best social media + job search + personal branding sites

It’s Friday and I thought I would try something new.  For those of you on Twitter, I’m sure you’re familiar with the #FollowFriday concept. This is how you recognize friends, authors, industry leaders, and others, with a Twitter @mention on Friday, as a way to thank them for sharing valuable content and to recommend their work. (a sort of “pay-it-forward”)

Today, I’m highlighting industry leaders who have been great resources for me, and have provided timely social media tips for creating a successful job search strategy.  Whether you are new to social networking, personal branding, actively looking for a job, or seeking a  career change, I’m sure you will find, as I did, that these leaders provide a great service to all their followers by researching and sharing the latest tools, tips, late-breaking news, and industry trends.

Today’s recommendations: Job Searching – Job Search Tips – Alison Doyle

Alison Doyle is a job search expert with many years of experience in human resources, career development, and job searching, with a focus on online job searching, job search technology, social media, and professional networking. She has covered job searching for since 1998.  Alison is the author of Internet Your Way to a New Job: How to Really Find a Job Online (2009) and the Guide to Job Searching (2006). Her time-saving tips will help you jump start your job search and get into gear.

Career Success Radio – Keith Keller and Annemarie Cross

Career Success Radio is a global media network and founder of the career management and development portal – Career Success Mastery Network, an innovative and pioneering concept within the human development and potential arena. Co-hosted by multi award-winning Career Management, Personal Branding and Brand Communications Specialist and Author of ’10 key steps to Ace that Interview’ — Annemarie Cross, as well as International Social Media Strategy Coach and Social Media Specialist — Keith Keller.

Annemarie and Keith amass 17+ years’ career and HR experience and harness their expertise to bring you empowering career-related topics so you can accelerate your level of success whether you are a career changer or an entrepreneur running your own business.
@KeithKeller @AnnemarieCross

Executive Career Brand – Meg Guiseppi

Executive Personal Branding, Resume, Biography, Online Identity & Job Search Strategies for C-Suite, Senior Executives and Rising Stars. Your unique promise of value … differentiated, strategically positioned, and connecting.”I love my work collaborating with savvy top-level executives and entrepreneurs who know where they’re going, but need help branding their unique promise of value in the new world of work and executive job search, and positioning themselves to work their passion.”

Interview Angel – Brent Peterson

The Complete Interview Preparation and Execution Toolkit
Looking for a new job? What will make you stand out from the crowd?
You can significantly improve your odds of getting hired if you have the tools to
properly prepare for and execute the job interview.

Personal Branding Blog – Dan Schawbel

The Personal Branding Blog is your #1 resource for personal branding online.
Topics covered: Career development, recruitment, marketing/branding, public relations, social media, entrepreneurship, search engine optimization (SEO) and relationship networking.

Tim’s Strategy – Tim Tyrell-Smith

Ideas for job search, career, and life.   A menu of resources – tools, tips, career experts, e-books, and Tim’s insight on the psychology of the job search.  Excellent blog posts, and career expert recommendations.

I hope you find this list beneficial.  I look forward repeating the Friday shout-outs again in the near future.

Best of Richmond Social Media Examiner Articles


I have been sharing social media news, views, tools, and tips from my Examiner articles on my blog since June of last year.  I’ve highlighted a few of the more popular ones for the new followers that may have missed them the first time.

If you find them helpful, please feel free to share, and comment on them, if you like.

3 sites to help in your job search: the social media ‘power trio’
Are you using the social media ‘power trio’ to help with your job search? Of all the social media sites, the ‘power trio’ of LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook can prove very beneficial for building a wide network to help with a job search.

8 tips for creating a social networking plan for your job search
Social media is the new way that people connect, communicate, and build relationships on the internet.  Those that understand this are finding quicker, better ways to share information, late-breaking news, and reach a much larger audience through the viral nature of social networking.  Here are 8 tips to help in your job search.

Do you need a social media champion?
Whether one chooses to take a closer look at social media in an attempt to understand it and embrace it, or opts to ignore it or dismiss it, social media is here to stay and is now part of our culture.  there is growing evidence to support the idea that a “social media champion” has skills that add value and benefit any organization or individual.  Their insight, knowledge, and the willingness to share the latest tools, tips, recommendations, and to coach and train others, should make them an asset that will become increasingly in demand as people try to navigate through the changing social media landscape.

Using Twitter for career networking
Twitter has fast become the new way to communicate, market, and do searches on the internet, and those have the vision and can “connect the dots”, already know this.  When used professionally, to share valuable content – not mundane daily activities or excessive self-promotion, it can be an awesome tool to expand your network and stay current on “in the moment” late-breaking news, and cutting edge industry information.

Nonprofits embracing social media for fund raising
Nonprofits understand the importance of building quality, lasting relationships for maintaining a base of supporters to embrace their many causes and fund raising campaigns.  Recent articles suggest that nonprofits have been quick to realize the upside potential for social media sites that can quickly get the message out, strengthen brand awareness, and take advantage of the viral nature of social networking to reach a wider base of potential supporters and donors.

Click Richmond Social Media Examiner’s Articles to view the complete list

Social Media and the Job Hunt – a panel discussion

Given the current economy and high unemployment rate, many recruiters, hiring managers, job seekers, networkers, and job placement firms are embracing social networking sites for help.  LinkedIn and Twitter are seen as a great sites to get information quickly about potential new hires, companies, industry trends, job search tools, and late-breaking news.

I attended a very timely, well organized  social media event recently that confirmed once again the expanding role that social networking is playing for recruiters, companies, job seekers, and networkers.

On Tuesday, March 30, SMCEDU-RVA (the Richmond, VA chapter of Social Media Club Education Connection) partnered with Virginia Commonwealth University to host a panel discussion entitled – “Social Media and the Job Hunt.”

The event was moderated by Nhat Pham (@Nhat Pham), of SUCCESSWERKS, and sponsored by RichmondJobNet.  Also present was Sara Dunnigan (@RichmondJobNet), who posts many job openings on a daily basis via Twitter, and provides a huge benefit of all Richmond job seekers.

The panelists included were:

David Nour (@davidnour): Consultant, Professional Speaker, Author of RELATIONSHIP ECONOMICS
Candace Nicolls (@cjsn): Recruiting manager at Ironworks Consulting
Lauren Rinker (@lauren_rinker): Copywriter at Royall and Company

The audience enjoyed hearing about various social media sites – the differences, and value they bring, and some best practices to keep in mind for brand building as it relates to a job search.  Insight was offered for the potential value that a blog can bring to differentiate oneself in today’s job market.

LinkedIn, Twitter, SlideShare, and YouTube were the social networking sites of choice.  All panelists agreed that LinkedIn is probably the most widely used professional network, connecting professionals, job seekers, networkers, companies, recruiters, and hiring managers.  Twitter can be a great resource for gathering valuable content on just about everything, from job seekers, career sites, companies,  events, trends, late-breaking news, views, industry highlights, and recommendations.

Some takeaways were:

* Engage, listen, and interact.  Share content, DON’T sell.  Add value, avoid NEGATIVE comments.
* Go beyond social media — call contacts, follow-up, maintain relationships.
* Be prepared — use social media to research companies, hiring managers PRIOR to interview.
* Keep online presence consistent across social media sites — keep profiles current and accurate.
* Be an asset, a problem solver — help recruiters solve challenges, build relationships, and find ways to differentiate
yourself others.
* Research to learn about companies,  job interviewers, and company personnel — use LinkedIn or Google to find as much
valuable information as possible to help prep for an interview.

For the complete Examiner article, click Social Media and the Job Hunt (SMCEDU-RVA event), for more details.