In this installment of expert interviews, we had the chance to discuss the impact social media has had on the business world with Aaron Magness, the Brand Marketing and Business Development Director of Zappos.com Inc. Aaron has been a part of the Zappos Family since 2008, and is also a member of the Zappos Insights team. Zappos Insights was developed when Tony Hsieh, CEO of Zappos.com Inc, decided to let the rest of the world in on not only “what” they did, but “how” they did business. Together the team developed training programs to mentor companies and individuals on how to achieve the business environment they desire. The Zappos Family prides themselves on their core values, “anything worth doing is worth doing with WOW.” Aaron uses his expertise in marketing, PR, social media and business development to deliver WOW.
Elise Redlin-Cook: Hi Aaron! You are very active in the Twitter world, how has Twitter affected you?
Aaron Magness: Twitter has become a tool that I benefit from personally and in the business world. It has allowed Zappos to build more personal connections with people. Tony Hsieh, our CEO, developed a philosophy that tweeting has helped him grow and become a happier person.
By incorporating these four elements into his tweets, he has been able to deliver happiness to his customers and employees:
- Transparency & Values: Twitter constantly reminds me of who I want to be, and what I want Zappos to stand for.
- Reframing Reality: Twitter encourages me to search for ways to view reality in a funnier and/or more positive way.
- Helping Others: Twitter makes me think about how to make a positive impact on other people’s lives.
- Gratitude: Twitter helps me notice and appreciate the little things in life.
Elise: What kind of impact does Twitter have on Zappos?
Aaron: Twitter does a great job of extending our communications strategy. We’re able to form authentic relationships with our customers to service their needs.
Elise: Great point! Twitter definitely allows businesses to develop relationships with customers that were nearly impossible before. However, it is constantly evolving. How do you see Twitter and the way people use it changing in the future?
Aaron: This may not pertain exclusively to Twitter, but the evolution of communication and openness continues. Individuals will continue to become more open and transparent with those around them. Brands will be able to communicate directly with individuals and form personal connections.
Elise: How important do you think it is for companies to engage with customers using social media?
Aaron: It’s extremely important for companies to engage with customers. Period. How they do that may change depending on the industry and customer base. We need to understand that Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, etc are all just tools we can use to form personal connections. They should all be seen as extensions of actual conversations.
Elise: Are there any social-media-specific guidelines in place?
Aaron: Our entire policy is summed up in two sentences:
- Be real!
- Use your best judgment.
As Aaron has pointed out, it’s clear that social media sites, like Twitter, are constantly evolving to benefit businesses by creating a direct communication to their customers. Learn more about “Twitter Tactics for Business” in our recent webinar and tell us in the comments below what type of impact has social media had on your business?