The Kindle started as a dedicated e-reader; today the term Kindle is used for a range of e-book reading products including dedicated e-book readers, tablets, applications for mobile devices, and a browser-based e-book reader. As Amazon has expanded its line of Kindle products, so has it also expanded the Kindle’s deep integration and use of social media. Today, Amazon uses social media to facilitate sales, enhance customer experience, and to empower rich customer reviews – a full-circle strategy.
Step 1 – Encourage sales
The Kindle team uses popular social networks, mainly Twitter and Facebook to promote new products, advertise sales/daily deals, and to pass along useful information (e.g. retweet important book-related news.) Importantly, the Amazon team does not use one account for global communication which allows them to engage with specific markets. For instance, the Kindle team has noticed UK customers respond to deals and news differently so they have a separate @KindleUK Twitter account. By engaging customers on hot deals and new items, Amazon is able to facilitate sales quickly and directly to interested customers.
Step 2 – Enhance the reading experience
The Kindle group goes beyond simply using social media to communicate with customers; the Kindle products have deep (and increasing) integration with social networks on a software and hardware level. For instance, the Kindle e-reader hardware allows users to connect their Kindle device with Twitter and Facebook. This integration allows customers to share quotes, passages, and other content in whatever they are reading. As a result of these features, Kindle customers can easily share content which is meaningful with their friends and associates.
Step 3 – Facilitate customer reviews
Once customers have finished a book, the Kindle hardware and software integration allows customers to review the book on their linked social media networks. Reviewing the book via their social media networks allows customers to both share their opinion with their friends and offers a way to subtly advertise their completion of a book. Moreover, Amazon can then engage the customer based on their review and gather trends/metrics from the customer via their social media shares.
Last week, Amazon acquired the book recommendation site Goodreads. While time will tell how Amazon makes
use (or not) of this acquisition, it is a sign that Amazon is increasing the scope and importance of social integration with its Kindle products.