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Amazon is Conducting the Next Big Social Selling Experiment… Here’s How.

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Amazon as a social community? You bet!

In 2017, Amazon launched a short lived social experiment called “Spark”. It allowed users to repost what they bought, trying to bring product share into a native Amazon experience. Unfortunately, as a Forbes article pointed out at the time, it was soulless, pointless, and ultimately uninteresting to users. Amazon Giveaways went the same way as the Spark experiment. 

Amazon always learns from its mistakes and Amazon has always had a philosophy of “fail fast, and fail often” – because this is how innovation happens. If you aren’t willing to fail, you’ll never succeed. 

But let’s not be too hard on Amazon; after all, they are one of the original social networks, having created a massive database of user created content in the form of Amazon reviews. If any company can create a user involved experience that resonates and has lasting impact, Amazon can.

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So what is Amazon up to in building an innovative social experience these days?

Amazon has a few new projects that they’re working on to increase the likelihood of users staying on the platform and keeping them in their ecosystem and increase the likelihood of more sales. These are Posts, Amazon Lives, the Amazon Profile, and #FounditonAmazon.

Amazon Posts

We have previously looked into the success of Posts for our clients. While Posts are becoming less successful simply because of the competition (which speaks to getting in on the ground floor of a new Amazon feature!), Amazon continues to invest in Posts and develop new tools to build Posts feeds. 

For example, they now allow you to schedule Posts and add up to ten ASINs:

And, they have provided a new view of the metrics, that shows impressions and engagement results. In this situation, the Posts were too successful, and the top product sold out in July. The client has been waiting for the upcoming shipment from their supplier, which arrived this month.

In general, while the first half of the year did far better than the second half of the year so far for Posts, all it shows is that quality of content and reviews are more important than ever to success. For example on this feed, only some posts are getting the kind of engagement and activity that all Posts were getting in the Spring of 2020:

This makes knowing what works, and being good at posting engaging posts even more critically important if you’re starting the process of getting into Posts on Amazon. In our experience, about 10-25% of engagements result in page views, depending on the number of reviews the product has.

Amazon Lives

I’m most excited about Amazon Lives because of the level of engineering investment Amazon has put into this service offering. Typically, Amazon will create a minimally viable product, such as they did with Spark or Amazon Giveaway. If there is enough interest and $$ generated by the project, they will then invest more heavily in the project. 

They did this for Amazon Lives, and have now expanded into multiple key features that are improvements upon the initial design of the project. Lives appear to be a hybrid between QVC/ShopHQ/HSN and social media lives, like are seen on Facebook or Instagram. This allows the brand OR an influencer to pitch products via the platform (up to 40) through live video only (uploading recordings appears to be no longer available, likely because it wasn’t as engaging). 

It’s a simple process to get started. Just download the app on your Apple device (it’s only available in the iOS store right now) and connect it to your seller account. If you want to check out some of the feeds, just go right here to the Amazon Live Broadcast page. You can see that the content is being produced by both influencers and brands.

When the Live is complete, it is possible to see them as replays on the detail page – an easy way to develop video content for your page! And, a great way to pull clips for a good ad video.

Amazon has built out a detailed FAQ page. This is one of the main reasons why I’m excited about Amazon Lives as a concept. Very few pages that I’ve used as a consultant are as helpful or well built out as this Amazon Live FAQ page, indicating the level of effort that Amazon is putting into attracting influencers and brands to this tool.

The Amazon Profile

This is an interesting one, because I’m pretty sure that this was built for Spark or something like it, and is now a standalone service offered by Amazon. 

By updating this tool, you can respond to reviews and Q&A with a preset profile, that includes links to your social media, your website, and includes space for your bio as well.

#FounditonAmazon

This is the one that I’m most iffy about. It’s about home decor and fashion for now, and shows up as recommendations – such as Vogue editor picks – on mobile devices. I could see it being useful for influencers, but not as useful for brands in its current format. It is a pretty basic Pinterest knockoff, and doesn’t currently add a ton of value.

Why You Need to Treat Amazon like a Social Channel

Millions of people go to Amazon every day, and the most valuable part of the buying experience is the feedback and information provided by other customers. Engaging with those customers in an authentic and informative way is key to getting them to trust you and your brand. 

Posts are one of the most interesting new social features on Amazon, allowing brands to promote content they’re already using elsewhere online. 

Lives allow you to connect directly with your customers, who can engage with you during the Live event via chat, asking questions and getting their answers about your product, right in the moment. 

And all of this happens on Amazon, but many brands are ignoring or unaware of the value of customer engagement on Amazon. 

We have a program for brands ready to take their Amazon Social Community game to the next level that includes creating the Posts feed and maintaining it, developing your Amazon Profile, responding to customers on Amazon, and running at least one live event every quarter. We pick a spokesperson, ensure they understand your product inside and out, run the video production in our studio, and help you gain more followers, and ultimately customers, on Amazon. 

Would you like to learn more?

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About the Author
Rachel Johnson Greer is a global business strategist who specializes in helping entrepreneurs increase their internet product sales, curate their brand image online and avoid catastrophic legal threats. After getting her MBA in international business at Seattle University, she spent nearly a decade at Amazon working in product development. Since then, Rachel has founded companies that reached both multi-six figure and multi-seven figure growth in under three years.

As a business coach, she supports clients in everything from international product expansion to 4x-ing their sales through online retailers. Rachel is frequently sought out by the media and has appeared on the Today Show, CNBC, Business Insider, The Wall Street Journal and Bloomberg. When she’s not working with clients, she’s scaring friends at parties with stories about the most problematic online products she’s found in their homes. She lives in Seattle, Washington.

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