Friday, May 14, 2010

Social Media Specialist

For those who are interested this update is a presentation of an idea for a new role:


Currently the world is more connected than it ever was in the past. People are using social networks to connect to businesses, talk about their experiences, and to research new product. Best Buy has been pushing into the social sphere with initiatives like Twelpforce and developing relationships with different companies including Google, Foursquare, Facebook, and Twitter. Our customers continue to use the telephone to communicate, but they have shown that they are willing to have the conversations with or without us in social media. Our corporate office has given guidelines, but has been very clear that they are looking for the field to develop and innovate in the social space.


The Social Media Specialist would be responsible for driving growth in our stores through a combination of utilizing social networks along with participation in community and in-store events. Each participating store in the district would select an associate to become a Social Media Specialist. The initial structure will require 20-30 hours a week. The initial test will run for 6 months, while we evaluate the impact of the role.



Twelpforce is currently a large part of the Best Buy social media strategy. Anyone in this role should be an active member of Twelpforce due to the unique nature of the program. There are many best practices that can be learned from participation in this program. More than 25,000 questions have been answered by the 2,600 associates working with Twelpforce. Now with the new BBYFeed tool, currently in beta testing, there is increased visibility of customer questions.


By using Twitter and Facebook page at the local level gives us an ability that very few retailers have started utilize, which is an advantage that where can capitalize. These are two of the fastest growing mediums in the world of social networking. We can use both forms for the purpose of marketing, customer contact, and around general awareness. Awareness works in both directions, making our customers more aware of our offers and making us more aware of the needs of our customers.
Other Social Media (YouTube, Flickr, FourSquare, etc...)

Although Facebook and Twitter are among the largest social media networks in existence, they don’t always provide the same opportunities as other tools that are available. The social media specialists need to be cognoscente of all of the tools they have at their disposal. This could include providing demonstrations of cameras through Flickr, PodCasts presented through YouTube, or promotions for checking in through FourSquare.


Blogging exists in so many different forms, making this is a very general term. In this context we would leverage a weekly/bi-weekly editorial around various technologies in our store. These could range from “Why should I own a compact camera and a D-SLR?” to “What’s and E-Reader?” These articles would be handed out to customers as a stacking tool in stores, along with being posted the store’s Twitter feed and Facebook page.

Local Marketing and Event Planning

This includes coupon creation, local website management and maintenance, and event planning. This person will be responsible for utilizing RMT for approval. Social media specialists will also be responsible for communicating upcoming events and recaps of those events through the social media networks. Communication around donations and store participation in events also fall into the marketing category as well, the good acts that we do in our communities should be communicated in the name of transparency.

Leadership Meetings

These individuals should present weekly at the leadership meetings to keep the store leadership informed around news in the social media side of the business. This will also give the opportunity for the leadership team to be able to inform around upcoming events or other areas where they may have increased visability.


The ideal individuals will be those who are familiar with and have a passion for social media. A person who can manage multiple tasks at once, is able to establish rapport, and able to speak to the Best Buy brands. If demand warrants more associates may be put in this role, with each taking different portions as a focus, such as dividing social media and community events.


After all stores are given the opportunity to select individuals, a meeting at the district office would be organized to explain best practices, exchange contact information, and clearly land the expectations of the role. This meeting will also give the opportunity to discuss any questions the individuals may have. After this meeting the social media specialists would be able to begin their rhythms, with a bi-weekly conference call to ensure that best practices are being exchanged and to establish a rapport between these individuals. Eventually the conference call would move to one a month as these individuals become more comfortable with their roles.

Social Media Specialist

Position Summary

During a test period of 6 months one representative from each participating store will focus on achieving growth through connecting with our local community with social media. This position will utilize various methods of reaching out to our community in order to acquire new customers, retain existing customers, and to emphasize our role in the community.

Key responsibilities (with % of time)

1. Updating and creating social media profiles on a daily/weekly basis, along with communicating with our customers. These sites include Facebook, Twitter, blog sites, local store pages, and email. Utilizing these tools the Social Media Specialist will inform around in store events, community events with store participation, and to answer questions and concerns from customers in our local area. (30%)

2. Coach and train store associates around the use of social networks, Twelpforce, communicating community events, and explaining best practices and proper usage of social media. (20%)

3. Using RMT to maintain the local store page to represent in store events, community events, and provide a contact path for the store. (20%)

4. Attend local events with a goal of creating ongoing relationships with members of the community and to represent and promote the brand in a physical capacity. Develop partnerships with local groups that match the store’s growth plan, targeting various groups such as schools, military, law enforcement, and fire departments. Work with store leadership to create in-store events. (15%)

5. Partner with the various internal groups such as the Viewpoint committee, Local Wolf Pack, and BBFB to work with all aspects of the community. Attend meetings and host conference calls to review growth and impact in each area. Spearhead tag awards, @15, teach awards and assist with local acquisition by utilizing zip code analysis. (15%)

Position Impact

This position will report directly to the GM and DM. It will directly impact and be evaluated by the following key business metrics:

1. True Blue CSI
2. Customer Acquisition and Retention
3. Number of Fans/Followers Facebook/Twitter
4. Hits to local web pages
5. Marketing coupon redemption
6. Number of events scheduled and attendance
7. Comp results
8. Twelpforce questions answered
9. Review of blogs and social media content created


This role will serve as a cog in our social media network. This is a space that changes constantly and to stay relevant we must press ourselves into it. One of the greatest things about Best Buy is the strength of our people and their ability to innovate around the business. Our people perhaps are our greatest asset, and this role is just another example of our company utilizing our people to do things that our customers expect. In some cases our associates are already doing fulfilling parts of this role, through Twelpforce our associates are already making personal connections to our customers. We already seek to educate customers through our Geek Squad blog, which is written primarily by field agents. There are hundreds of stores with Facebook pages, along with hundreds of stores that are using Twitter. This role creates a single person who is responsible for managing this content along with promoting growth in this area. These individuals will help to create a social culture in their store along with connecting the store more deeply to the local community. Furthermore, by creating this position tell the community that we are interested in connecting with them beyond just trying to sell them something, this transparency has been one of the pieces in the success story that Twelpforce has been writing for nearly a year.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Salaried (non-exempt) Supervisors and Full Time associates

I have been kicking this idea around for a while and thought it was time to put it on the blog. Essentially when talking about SG&A labor is brought up as the biggest or only controllable expense. Although, I completely disagree with this thought process I will embrace it and see what we can do to make the business more efficient and more profitable.

The Model

Supervisors and Full-Time associates would be moved from hourly to salaried. During most of the year (January 31st– October 1st) these associates would work 32 hours a week. During the holiday rush these associates would work around 50-55 hours a week. Each week associates would be scheduled as normal (based in traffic and other metrics), with a certain number of associates scheduled as on-call. The on-call associates would be expected to report to the store within 1 hour of a call. During the larger part of the year associates would typically be scheduled for 4 – 8 hour shifts and one day of on-call; with the on-call portion being scheduled as well. Associates would typically also have 2 weeks with on-call shifts, and then 2 weeks without, rotating through the months. During the holidays associates would either be scheduled for 5 – 8 hour shifts, with the possibility of being asked to stay up to 4 hours later each shift, or be scheduled for 4 – 10 hour shifts, with 1 on call day. These would alternate every two weeks in a similar manner to the on-call rotation mentioned earlier.


The customer benefit is that our stores would be constantly staffed, and in the event that the store was understaffed for a large rush we would be able to call in more associates.

The company benefits are that we will be better able to forecast our labor (the full-time associates’ hours would have already been calculated – leaving only the part-time associates’ hours to fluctuate), gives the ability for associates to participate in projects like Twelpforce 24 hours a day, and allows for Supervisors and High potential associates to work on more projects from home in their spare time (this is something that currently happens, but usually with employees off the clock, by making these associates salaried I would assume the company would have less liability around that work.)

The employee benefits are that during most of the year you are getting paid whether you work or not. If everything works the way it should, even these associates could be sent home early if traffic permits – putting them on an on-call status until their normal shift would be over. This could give more associates a better work/life balance.

Notes and cautions:

During the test portion Supervisors and Full-Time associates would have a chance to opt into the program. Also, we can’t abuse the labor, during the holidays, when the highest number of customers are coming in is where the company benefits the most from this plan, during the rest of the year if we take it easy on the associates everyone will be happy. This is partially inspired by the way managers work now, where they give up 90% of their life for 4 months to have a pretty easy scheduling during the rest of the year.

I would also add that currently only a small percentage of the store staff is full-time; this plan still gives the ability to use labor to control SG&A.

As always, if you have any feedback I am willing to listen, post them here, tweet me, or if you know me outside of this blog contact me in any way you see fit.

Have a great day!