Year in review: Lessons from two social marketing hits


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Making sense of conflicting predictions

With over a billion Facebook users worldwide, everyone’s life has been touched in some way by social media. The question, however, is how brands can best leverage this medium. With Gartner predicting that half of all web sales will come from social and mobile by 2015, we must learn how to judge the value of social media. Everything from final sale attribution, to number of touch points, to social’s influence on various aspects of the marketing and sales funnel, plays a role in companies benefiting from and measuring the results of social media.

We’ve started the legwork for you, combing through the best social marketing stories from 2012 and analyzing what sets the winners apart from the losers. Read on for two key lessons from social marketing hits, and download our white paper Top Social Engagement Lessons from JetBlue, Zappos,, and Kirkland’s for in depth reviews and takeaways from 5 of your favorite brands.

Success generating revenue with social endorsement: Zappos

As a digitally focused company, Zappos found itself poised to take advantage of social media, and it has successfully leveraged the social space in a way many companies have not: to drive direct revenue.

Using social evangelism to drive revenue

Zappos engages in Social Activation by allowing customers to easily share their purchases across Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, which results in tangible monetary benefits. For each ‘Share’, Zappos earns $33.66 on Twitter, $2.08 on Facebook, and $0.75 on Pinterest in incremental revenue. The brilliance of facilitating and promot­ing social endorsement comes from the fact that this revenue does not actually rely on Zappos’ so­cial media presence, but rather it relies on the social graphs of their customers. When a customer ‘Shares’ a Zappos purchase, they post it to their own social network rather than a Zappos-owned presence, by­passing the need for a strong social following on Zappos’ part.

Image 1: Zappos provides a CTA and full options for consumer sharing of purchases

The lesson: Facilitate customer activation to drive sales through social

While a strong social presence is essen­tial for overall success, what sets Zappos apart from other companies successful in social engagement is their ability to leverage consumers to sell products for them. Gartner believes that 50% of all web sales will soon come from social and mobile, and if the $33.66 Zappos earns for every pur­chase shared on Twitter is any indication of influ­ence potential, they’re right on track.

Success integrating social onsite to increase paying customer base:

Go to and click “Log in”. If you’re hesitant to create yet another account, don’t worry: Fab allows you to log in using your existing Facebook account. Where sets itself apart is in the integration of Facebook into the core design of their website, effectively driv­ing website traffic through social media.

Creating a website with social built in

In addition to eliminating the need for a traditional login, has done everything from facilitating and incentivizing social endorsement to actually creating a live “newsfeed” on the site using Facebook Open Graph. This Newsfeed populates in real-time with user activity like purchases and ‘favorited’ items on Facebook, taking advantage of consumers’ influence over each other and allowing users to browse and buy this socially shared content directly from Facebook or their website.

Image 2: Sample of the live user-populated newsfeed built into

Using these tactics, in just four months Fab was able to double its referral traffic from Facebook and ex­pand its membership from 1.8 to 3.2 million users, with 50% of these new members joining as a result of Facebook. Even more impress­ive is that these socially involved members generate twice the lifetime value of members who do not en­gage with Fab using Facebook, combining the short-term benefits of an increase in paying customers with long-term benefits of higher lifetime value.

The lesson: Incorporate social media into your website proves that the value of social marketing expands beyond the platforms themselves. Creating an engaging social experience across both social and traditionally non-social channels will play an ever-more important role for marketers. The more social value Fab creates – such as adding recommendations based on friend’s purchases in the live stream – the more users will purchase their products and share with their social graphs.

Success requires shifting your strategy

Zappos and succeed with social marketing because they don’t treat it as a separate “social” initiative. Both companies built social media into their e-commerce solutions, combining on-site and off-site social marketing tactics to maximize their results through increasing awareness and engaging in customer service on Facebook, Twitter, and other social channels, while integrating user-generated social purchases into their e-commerce framework. Socially engaging consumers wherever they spend their time, either in the newsfeed or on your website, will be the key for success in the coming years.

For a comprehensive review of these two case studies, along with lessons from three additional brands, download Top Social Engagement Lessons from JetBlue, Zappos,, and Kirkland’s.

With the year rapidly coming to a close, how do you plan to alter your social marketing strategy? What worked or didn’t work for you this year? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.

Errol Apostolopoulos
Moontoast's Social Activation Engine is a SaaS and cloud-based social marketing, social commerce and social analytics platform. As VP Product, Errol leads product strategy and management for Moontoast's innovative social technology platform. Previously, Errol was Head of Innovation at Optaros, where he provided Mobile & Social Commerce solutions for top retailers. Prior to Optaros, Errol founded, led and successfully sold an angel-backed venture delivering original social content programming via TV, web and physical entertainment venues. Previously, Errol was GM of Razorfish Boston.


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