Social Media Case Study: How Do Amazon Use It?
Amazon is the e-commerce company that everyone knows about. Alongside being the first name in online retailing, they understand the effect that a solid social media strategy can have – and have a clear understanding of who their audience is.
Based in the United States and originally started as an online bookstore back in 1994, Amazon Inc. has grown to become a market leader in electronic commerce, diversifying into several areas including technology, software, music, film, apparel and homeware.
Alongside being the world’s biggest provider of Cloud Infrastructure (AWS), they have expanded the business into several areas. Growing from just acting as a marketplace, they’ve become a prominent producer of consumer electronics, including tablet, smartphone, and smart-home technology.
Amazon first reached a staggering $1 trillion market cap in September 2018, dipping below and back up over 2019. As of 2020, Amazon is worth over $1.5 trillion, with founder Jeff Bezos “first person to ever be worth more than $200 billion.” While unfortunately many smaller businesses suffered during the Covid-19 pandemic, Amazon – being the giant it is – turned an even bigger profit during 2020. As you can imagine, this is a topic of contention for many people.
Amazon’s Social Media Following
As the world’s largest online retailer, it’s fair to say that Amazon has a clear and decisive grip on the ins and outs of the Digital Marketplace, and that expert knowledge is perfectly evident in their Social Media efforts.
With a central branded account and verified accounts for each of their branches, including Amazon Music, Amazon Prime Video and Amazon Web Services, they utilise social media to its fullest potential as both a marketing and customer service tool.
Social media following as of April 2021:
Instagram: Amazon 3.1m followers; Amazon Influencer Program 487k followers; Amazon Prime Video (US/global) 1.7m followers; Prime Video UK 178k followers; Amazon UK 43.4k followers; Amazon Music (US/global) 638k followers; & more.
YouTube: Amazon 477k subscribers; Amazon Prime Video 988k subscribers; Amazon Music 132k subscribers; Prime Video Kids 55k subscribers; Amazon Studios 94k subscribers; Amazon Web Services 487k subscribers; Audible (Amazon-owned) 65k subscribers; IMDb (Amazon-owned) 335k subscribers; & more.
Phew, that’s a lot of followers! Just from the verified accounts chosen above, that’s almost 100 million followers across all channels.
How Amazon Use Facebook
Amazon’s primary Facebook account is mostly used to market their products, highlight deals, run competitions, share community content, and share important posts. Often these are optimised to coincide with relevant events and holidays, providing enticing and valuable content for their customers.
Amazon also has specific Facebook accounts related to their products, such as Prime Video and Amazon Kindle. Much like the central account, these are used to draw attention to relevant products and offers to increase intrigue, drive engagement through reach, and ultimately gain sales.
The Prime Video UK Facebook page primarily posts video content, including teasers for upcoming movies and shows. This recent example shares a clip from the new movie Without Remorse, with a playful, funny caption to engage readers.
How Amazon Use Twitter
Amazon’s use of Twitter showcases the use of social media as not only a marketing tool but an important step in customer service and e-commerce. Switching to “tweets + replies” on most Amazon Twitter accounts leads to a flurry of public customer service responses to customer’s positive and negative experiences with the brand.
Alongside the predominant B2C aspect of their business, Amazon also have a clear grip on the B2B. This can be seen on their Amazon Web Services (AWS) Twitter account, featuring ‘technical’ content to appeal to business users but also graphics, videos, and emojis to keep a fun spirit.
How Amazon use Instagram
In keeping with the strategy of tailoring each platform’s content to keep things diverse and interesting, Amazon use Instagram to promote high-quality images and video content. They also utilise the Stories feature to include bespoke graphics and swipe-up links, such as in the Story seen below.
Throughout their social media presence, Amazon use different social media profiles for each of their owned brands and services. These profiles all have messaging and voices in their own rights, in keeping with Amazon’s overarching brand identity. For example, as with Prime Video’s Facebook account, Prime Video on Instagram features video posts, Reels, Stories, and image/carousel posts featuring upcoming Prime Video content.
Social Media as a Customer Service Tool
Amazon clearly understands how social media can aid in customer service. Due to its ability to produce an instantaneous and open dialogue between producer and consumer, social media’s customer service potential is huge. Amazon always makes an effort to respond directly to customers who raise issues, complaints or questions through their social networking channels.
Dealing with Controversy
Being a global corporation, Amazon has seen a huge amount of controversy and backlash over the years. So much so, that “Criticism of Amazon” has its own Wikipedia page, and it’s a long one – ouch! Recent controversies surrounding working conditions, environmental matters, and union disputes all piled together, resulting in “#BoycottAmazon” trending on Twitter worldwide.
Ultimately, many people are upset with Amazon’s values and practices, boycotting the brand in favour of small businesses and eco-friendly chains. Amazon representatives rarely address such huge controversies publicly, instead choosing to deal with smaller issues in public and not comment on bigger problems. However, Amazon recently issued a rare apology regarding delivery driver working conditions after admitting they were in the wrong.
Where there are controversies and boycotts, there are equally as many – if not more – social media ‘wins’ and brand loyalists. Amazon knows they’re divisive in today’s climate and are working to improve their reputation, one step at a time.
Editor’s note: This article was published in 2016 and has been updated for accuracy and relevance in April 2021.