How to Turn Social Connections Into In-Person Sales

Alix Hart

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Alix Hart

Alix Hart, Best Buy @trahla

Alix Hart, Brand Marketer at Best Buy, joins the Social Pros Podcast this week to discuss integrating social into all aspects of customer service and battling the “showroom” effect as a brick-and-mortar retailer.

Read on for some of the highlights and tweetable moments, or listen to the full podcast.

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Tweetable Moments

“What we do in social media today might not be what we do next year.” -@trahla (tweet this)

“Making sure we’re there at the right time is really important.” -@trahla (tweet this)

“The excitement about social sometimes takes our eye off the fact that it’s still not for everybody.” -@jkrohrs (tweet this)

“Nothing says ‘hors d’oeuvres’ like a marsupial.” -@jaybaer (tweet this)

A Nationwide Customer Service Force

Between the Geek Squad face-to-face tech support and @Twelpforce on Twitter, Best Buy is committed to offering service for all the products it sells — even the ones it doesn’t actually manufacture. Managing a large, well-trained customer service team as the front line of Best Buy‘s social media presence is no small task. Alix explains that Best Buy includes social media instruction in the training of all new “blue-shirts” and Geek Squad members.

The company’s fluency in social media drove holiday sales in 2012. They experimented with paid media and with organic social media strategy like creating hashtags. They also ramped up social mentions by partnering with Ellen DeGeneres and with The X-Factor around Thanksgiving, leading into the holiday shopping season.

In the same vein, Best Buy is moving more towards integrating social media with their sales team. They believe this is the best way to battle the “showroom” effect, where people may use brick-and-mortar stores to browse for products or get questions answered but then actually make the purchases from online-only retailers. “For us, optimizing our mobile and tablet tools — and making sure we’re there at the right time — is really important.” Control of the social space along with a nation-wide price-match guarantee allows Best Buy to remain confident they are providing the most competitive value at all times.

Social Media Stat of the Week: Social Still Not for Everybody

Jeff focuses on another eMarketer statistic about smartphone penetration: eMarketer has basically predicted a slowing adoption rate for social media on smartphones so that by 2017, about 49.7% of the American population will access social media from mobile phones at least once a month. “I think the excitement about social sometimes takes our eye off the fact that it’s still not for everybody.”

When it comes down to it, social media has a saturation point. And Jay emphasizes that, regarding the people who will never use smartphones or adopt social media, “We can’t, as marketers, ignore that population.” This is why it’s important as a marketer not to abandon email. Email is the through-line that will continue to connect brands with customers who may be on mobile but might never adopt social media as a regular tool.

Social Pros Shoutout

Alix first shouts out Omar Tawakol, CEO of BlueKai. BlueKai has been a partner of Best Buy’s in leveraging its marketing potential. “He encourages really asking yourself, as a brand, if you’re actually collecting the signals from your customers that will tell you something about who they are,” Alix says. And then, more importantly, he has a strategy for what to do with those signals.

She also sends a shoutout to Joe Kearney at Verizon. Verizon sits on a wealth of data about how people use their mobile devices to interact with each other, and Joe is really thinking about the evolution of that story in the future.

See you next week!

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