Amazon – The Social Media of E-Commerce

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  • September 3, 2012
Georgia Halston

Georgia Halston

Social Media Strategist

A growing craze has emerged surrounding the global E-commerce site Amazon and its customer review utility.

Humorous and sarcastic reviews are being left for products, particularly those that appear to be strange, marginally insulting or simply surplus to requirements.

One of the more famous recent cases involves the BIC ‘For Her’ Amber Medium Ballpoint Pen.

Some of the review titles include ‘No Good For Man Hands’ from user ‘daveyclayton’, which reads: “I bought this pen (in error, evidently) to write my reports of each day’s tree felling activities in my job as a lumberjack.

“It is no good. It slips from between my calloused, gnarly fingers like a gossamer thread gently descending to earth between two giant redwood trunks.”

There has been a lot of debate recently about the social media sandstorms that can be created around a single Facebook post or Tweet. In-house social media managers at companies everywhere have had to become wary about the power of customer reviews online.

While the rise of the Amazon customer review trend might have some brand managers panicking, shrewder marketers will recognise that the anomaly represents a prime opportunity to increase brand and even specific product awareness.

Rather than rallying against humorous reviews of their products, brands should embrace the movement and use it to their own advantage.

One avenue, depending on the brand and product, could be an anonymous viral campaign, like the recent advert series from ‘Go Compare’, in which they hit out at their own mascot. Brands could share their own sarcastic reviews of products in the hope that others would follow.

Brands are to remember though; the posts must be witty, original, clever and above all sharable. The nature of the Amazon review trend lies in an element of competitiveness, as different reviewers attempt to outdo each other in terms of humour and wit.

Although many of the fictitious reviews are sarcastic, they are rarely of a vindictive nature and seldom make genuine claims about the effectiveness of the product on sale. The ability to walk this thin line between sarcasm and humour is one that, if perfected by a brand, could be a valuable asset.

To track the reach of viral campaigns, there are a few tactics brands can follow.

At Branded3 we created our own tool for this purpose. We entered the URL for the aforementioned ‘BIC For Her Amber Medium Ballpoint Pen’ into our own social media tracking tool. Here are the social sharing results we found:

URL Twitter Facebook Pinterest LinkedIn Google+… 4516 122 44 28 39

If searching for mention of the URL across the web, brands can use ‘inurl:’ which is a Google search operator. This tool gives results as to when the URL has been used and when there have been links made to the URL. Again with the example of the BIC ‘For Her’ Amber Medium Ballpoint Pen, Google returns the amount of pages with links to the URL – ‘About 545 results’:

Brands are reminded to let the dust settle a little before carrying out an inurl: query though, as it is not necessarily as real time as the results given by a social media tracker. A clearer view of the URL usage across the web will be given a week or two after the outset of the viral campaign to give Google the time to have crawled all the relevant pages.

Perhaps the benchmark for brands looking to create a viral trend with their product reviews, the ‘Mountain Three Wolf Moon Short Sleeve Tee’ has amassed 2,195 reviews and counting:

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