How Amazon Extends Its Brand with Facebook

Feb 06, 2012 11:55 PM  By

I recently studied what Amazon.com is doing on Facebook and thought I would share some of highlights from the deep dive. The most obvious take-away is that the nation’s leading online retailer appears to be smartly integrating its Facebook profile into its overall brand building efforts, which puts Amazon ahead of the game when compared to many other merchants.

As part of the review I looked at Amazon’s Facebook reach (number/ growth of followers), engagement (posts, likes, comments), technical optimization (brand name usage, linking, navigation), and reputation. The e-tailer scored well on all of these metrics.

Reach
Amazon’s official Facebook page is ranked No. 11 out of all of the retail and consumer brand pages I investigated as part of my role as a senior analyst at Covario. When last checked, Amazon had 2.5 million visitors – a number that has been growing 5 percent a week according to the Facebook leaderboard published by allfacebook.stats.com.

Optimization
One of the strong traits of Amazon’s Facebook presence is its navigation strategy. Where most retailers provide navigation links to the numerous apps built for fans, Amazon is using that valuable real estate to promote key aspects of its business, as well as recruiting, customer service, and daily deals.

In addition, Amazon includes a link in its navigation to a page that lists all of the retailer’s Facebook properties – everything from the Kindle e-reader to Amazon’s grocery page. That page provides fans with visibility into the full breadth of Amazon’s offerings at a glance. Plus, it’s a great linking strategy for pages within the Facebook domain.

Amazon also employs an outbound linking strategy on Facebook that not only provides SEO benefit but leverages website content. This is a great idea given the constraints most marketers have when it comes to generating content and getting it approved for publishing. Amazon’s career page illustrates this strategy well. The job search and application functionality is embedded in the Facebook platform, while the links to learn more about the company or instructions on the application process send the fan back to Amazon’s website.

Engagement
Amazon has a unique opportunity when it comes to building an engagement strategy on a social platform. With its vast number of products and services, Amazon can post on nearly any topic and connect it back to the brand in some way.

When analyzing its Facebook posts over the last 30 days though I saw that the best post response rates were for those posts that were general survey questions, as opposed to product plugs. The open-ended post, “Finish this sentence: This year I’m looking forward to _______.” received 1,760 comments and over 900 comments fans commented on the question “Did you wish you could play in the snow today?”

By contrast, posts that directly mention a product or promotion received 200 or few comments each. The indication here is that while fans are interested in talking with other fans who share their interest in Amazon, they are ambivalent to the pure marketing messages on Facebook.

Unlike product mentions, service offering mentions are received with more enthusiasm. For example, Amazon’s recent post on its “prime shipping” offering received more than 7,700 likes in support of the shipping option. That’s a strong testimonial.

Reputation
Brand reputation is typically measured by the level of negativity there is surrounding a brand on Facebook, which is relatively low for Amazon. The company has an additional consideration when it comes to brand management and that is the reputation of the other brands with which they are affiliated.

A recent Amazon post offered fans a discount on flowers when ordered through 1-800-Flowers. Of the 97 comments received for this post, more than 20% were negative towards 1-800 Flowers. This goes to show that marketers should look beyond just the pure number of comments they receive, and give strong consideration to the brand sentiment within the comments.

There are some brands where 80% to 90% of the comments to their posts are negative. The question is: Are your fans with you or against you?

Janice Smithers is senior media strategist forCovario’sanalytical insight services.