Yesterday, an interesting marketing effort took place on Twitter. Zappos CEO Tony had tweeted that he was going to give away a free pair of shoes to a random follower later in the evening. Pretty straightforward use of Twitter in an attempt to gain more followers, nothing horribly complicated. Things got more interesting a little later when he tweeted the following message:
As soon as this happened this effort went from a "one-to-one" model (individual follower to Zappos) to a "many-to-one" model (networks of people to Zappos). Both models are certainly viable, but I suspect Tony is well aware of Twitter's deep potential in terms of social engagement and interaction. It's great to have an audience of individuals who opt-in and listen to what Zappos has to say, but the real value of Twitter lies in having networks of people talk to each other about Zappos. This is a wonderful example of a company not just taking a new technology/medium/outlet at face value, but actually taking the time to understand what it can really deliver for its brand.
I'm not sure how many followers Tony gained from this effort, but at the time of this post Zappos has 966 - not quite the top 100, but still a respectable number. Seeing that I missed out on this chance to score some free shoes myself (and for my followers!), one suggestion I'd make is to give the news a little more time to bake and get out there to more people. I suppose Twitter is a fast-paced enough medium to support an effort with a window opportunity of just several hours, but I think extending it to a full day or two wouldn't hurt. After all, the lucky winner only had 3 people who happened to be following Zappos at the time of the "drawing."
Update: 1,024 followers, and a new effort: lunch with Tony, tour the Zappos office, 2 roundtrip tickets and 2 nights hotel...for a random follower to be announced Monday. Very exciting to see Tony keeping up the momentum. There's also a conversation tracking tool (it's even RSS-friendly), where we can see about 40 pages of Twitter conversations that have taken place so far.