How Amazon Uses Twitter to Drive Website Traffic: Bad Jokes Ahead

Thinking about all of the great retailers online, there is perhaps no bigger name in the industry than Amazon. They have created an incredible sales system that is centered around a website that is second to none, with an inventory that includes …everything from A → Z!

With so much going on from their website alone you’d think they’d slack off on Twitter. Look through it careful and you’ll plainly see that they do not. Amazon use a very unique approach to customer acquisition on Twitter which:

  • Keeps their followers engaged.
  • Uses a wide variety of content.
  • Creates customer-acquiring contests.
  • Uses multiple accounts.
  • Participates in trends.

Everything that Amazon does to get clicks to their landing pages is out there for us to look at. Let’s take the time them to learn from them so we can apply it to our own Twitter marketing, and customer acquisition efforts.

How Amazon Uses Twitter to Acquire Customers

Content style: Keeping it light and breezy

Before you get too caught up in terms like customer acquisition, click through rates, and return on investment, you need to first see Twitter for what it is: Social. There is still a ‘social’ in ‘social media,’ after all.

Amazon has taken the social aspect of Twitter and really ran with it. Their conversational tone and informal content presentation style have made sure that their followers know that they’re part of a conversation. Amazon’s followers don’t feel like they’re being advertised to:

Are they actually being advertised to though? Of course! Click that link to see that this silly joke is a direct customer acquisition tactic that’s masked by their conversational, almost too silly, style.

Even dogs in costumes are a topic they’ll touch on, and sell with, when the opportunity comes. It’s just a fun account, and having some fun should be a goal of any Twitter marketing plan.

How They Acquire Customers via Contests and Hashtags

Running a Twitter contest is a right of passage for anyone trying to acquire customers via Twitter. While there are many ways to get this right, and wrong, Amazon is currently running one which helps them:

  • Spread their Twitter account around
  • Tell a story
  • Get people on their website

Here’s the one that they’re making a big push for right now for Halloween:

Yes, it’s goofy. Yes, they make a pretty bad pun. But look at what they’re really doing with this one tweet for their contest:

  • They remind their followers once again of the paid ‘Amazon Prime’ service.
  • They create a hashtag for anyone to click on to see not only more about this contest, but more about Amazon Prime in general.
  • They prompt their followers to create user-generated content as another one of their promotional tools.

And that user-generated content isn’t just a theory. It’s in practice already as fans send in pictures which Amazon then uses:

Every time one of their followers tweet out this user generated content related to their hashtag they have another chance to draw in new customers from the followers of that user. This is the great strength of user generated content. Contests which incorporate user generated content may just be your best bet at truly creating a contest which goes somewhere, and goes a long way to helping you find new customers.

Clever Use of Media

We all need images, videos and GIFs to survive on Twitter. Amazon use some of the user-generated content discussed above, but the vast majority of it is produced in-house by their team.

When they do create content, it is always with a distinct goal in mind, and that goal is always to drive traffic to a very focused landing page on their website. Here are two examples:

Click on either of those links and you’ll be sent to a custom landing page packed full of products that are 100% relevant to the media used in the tweet. This is the type of content which can catch your eye as you scroll through your Timeline, and get you to stop on the most perfect link that you’re clearly interested in.

The other interesting thing they do with content is keep it varied. They seem to have every type of content which Twitter allows at some point. Be it plain images:

Live Periscope events:

Pre-shot video:

Looping Vine video:

Not to mention their interesting ‘can you find it’ images:

This wide variety of content keeps them from becoming stale, and makes their Timeline something very interesting to scroll through. This wide variety of content keeping interest high makes their links all the more clickable, and their content all the better at driving customers that will convert.

If you don’t personally have a team that can create this wide of variety of content, don’t worry. You can always tweet out the videos, GIFs, Vines, and images you find online. I, for one, would like to see them start using GIFs on Twitter.

Using multiple accounts to better appeal to specific customers

A trend that more and more corporations are picking up on is the use of multiple accounts. With Amazon offering so much content they knew that some audience segmentation would do a lot to help them reach different groups of people, and connect with them deeply.

I did a count of how many different accounts are directly associated with Amazon, and are verified, and that number was 39. This doesn’t include Twitter accounts for their Amazon TV shows either.

This means they can create content which appeals directly to music fans:

Without annoying their book fans:

Or spamming their video game lovers:

If you don’t have a Kindle, you don’t have to see tweets about the Kindle. If you don’t live in the UK, you don’t have to see tweets about, you know, British things:

When has Superman ever called someone ‘mate’? Do they add those British-isms in when they ship DC Comics over to the UK? Regardless, they make little tweaks to their content to better appeal to the specific audiences attracted by all of these accounts. This helps them find, attract, and drive more specific customer groups and lead to more conversions.

Your company may not need a minimum of 39 different accounts, but it can do some audience segmentation to reach different audiences on a deeper level. This can be content and product segmentation, regional segmentation, or just the development of a support account.

Participating in Trending Hashtags, and ‘National’ Holidays

We’re all clearly obsessed with having some sort of silly national ‘holiday’ to ‘celebrate’ online almost daily, especially on Twitter where fresh content is King, Queen, and the court jester. Since Amazon seems to sell nearly everything, they also have content for nearly everything, and link with that content that drives customers.

They get content out there for #ForceFriday:

Wake up for #NationalCoffeeDay:

Sing along without irony on #NationalOneHitWonderDay:

And they went absolutely crazy about #NationalTacoDay, with 5 tweets about it on the day:

Is this content all really, really silly? Yep. Is it going to show up in the Timeline of those looking through these trending hashtags for silly content. Yep! That’s the whole point of using trending hashtags: To reach people you may not otherwise reach.

Amazon stretches as far as they can to incorporate customer acquisition, via the highly relevant landing pages they link to in each tweet, into their trending tweets. You always have to be cautious when using trending topics in your customer acquisition strategy as you can quickly become spam, or even worse do something which leads to you sending a tweet like this:

Know what the hashtag is about, and know whether or not your should use it for customer acquisition, before you tweet! Goofy ‘national’ holiday are usually safe. Force Friday and Taco Tuesday? Safe. DiGiorno used #WhyIStayed, which was about domestic violence: Not safe at all. Choose the right trends carefully and you’ll gain customers, pick up a few more retweets, and entertain your followers.

Amazon’s Imitable Customer Acquisition Strategy

Amazon exists entirely in an online environment. You can’t find them on Twitter and then take a drive over to their store (yet). Their storefront is online. Their ‘driveway’, or ‘parking lot’, exists in every possible online platform. Twitter is just another one of those platforms, and they must use it to acquire customers as they have no other way of obtaining them besides online.

We saw 5 key strategies they use to drive traffic from Twitter to their website. These tactics include:

  1. Engagement style: They keep things informal, leading to more conversations and shares which attract potential clicks.
  2. Contests and hashtag: They use contests as a way to drive people to their website, and associate these contests with hashtags connected to a larger story.
  3. Media usage: The majority of their eye-catching media is associated with a link to a dedicated landing page.
  4. Multiple accounts: They create accounts which appeal to specific segments of potential customers in a direct way.
  5. Trending topics: They have something for sale that matches every trend. They’re sure to jump in when it’s appropriate with something fun, and link to a landing page with highly-relevant products for sale.

There is no great secret to any of this. All you have to do is see it for what it is, come up with ways that these customer acquisition tactics can apply to your account, and put that plan in action.

Are you thinking about using any of these customer acquisition tactics on Twitter? Comment below, and let’s start perfecting your ideas!

About the Author: Matthew is the writer and social media analyst for the blog. Stop by the blog every week for the latest tactics in social media marketing. He covers everything from Twitter, to YouTube, to SoundCloud and even LinkedIn! For those who like to tweet, join the @Devumi Gorilla right now for some gorilla-sized tweets!

Source: Kissmetrics