Social Media Means Business
By David Dorf on Mar 09, 2009
RSR posted an excerpt of some research on Retail Wire today that got me thinking. Are retailers really pursuing social media? So I set out to find some examples and settled on Best Buy. They have a dedicated team within their e-commerce group that addresses social media. I found four examples of ways they are harnessing the power of social applications today.
Connect is a portal for conversations about Best Buy and its products. It includes blogs, videos, and tweets from employees and customers. In addition they also provide a traditional community forum.
Blue Shirt Nation/Mix
Blue Shirt Nation is a social website, similar to Facebook, for use by Best Buy employees that was started in 2006. The objective is to keep the conversations going between the various ranks of employees. The positive voices are amplified, and the best ideas rise to the top. One campaign involving 401Ks increased sign-ups by 30%! More info from Gary Koelling's blog.
Spy is an application that monitors several feeds for key words. It was created by a Best Buy employee, but is available for general use. Spy can be helpful in gauging customer sentiment about a brand. Best Buy is using this application to monitor what's being said about it. You can read more about Spy in Ben Hedrington's blog.
I mentioned Remix in a previous post. They are basically providing an API to access their product catalog in the hopes it will drive more business. This is very similar to what Amazon has successfully done with their affiliate program.
Best Buy is certainly out in front using various types of social media to enhance employee collaboration, increase customer communications, and monitor their brand's image. Like most emerging business trends, it takes a leap of faith for the initial funding. In the case of Best Buy, some of the early work was grassroots and very inexpensive. The next step is to find more formal methods to assess the impact of these efforts, so businesses can invest appropriately.