BestBuy

The other night while on Facebook, I saw this post from Best Buy that really stood out to me and reminded me of how much I admire their approach to social media. The post asked for feedback on what types of mobile applications they should create to make the holiday season happier, easier, and more enjoyable for their customers. Wow – what a concept! Not only is this one of the best examples I’ve seen of intelligent engagement of the community, but also it promotes the exploration of another smart medium for many brands – mobile.  Despite a lot of the comments being ‘noise,’ there were definitely some nuggets in there that had my head nodding. Here are just a few of the comments (unedited) that I think provide some decent insights:

“An app that downloads specials while in store — good for that visit — reward people that actually make it in to the store”

“Weekly bargins, open box items for fav stores, ability to look up warranty info from serial #, store locator / phone”

“an app that connects people’s whishlists so you can see what the people you know whant for christmas that alow that person to search the facts on that item”

“App idea (not just for holiday season)…
-definately like the sales flyer app
-toss in some stock checking functionality via GPS feature (grabs local zip code via GPS and shows if an item is in stock for closest store).
-Random item… click button -> app displays a random item.
…just a thought.”

“An app that has current specials and local store specials, including unadvertised ones. Also push notifications when a particular product falls below a set price would be nice too.”

“How about a video game app so that when people are doing their holiday shopping the kids can look through the digital catalog and pick out something they like so then the mom/dad will know what they want. please, dont make it just for iphone/ipod. some people have blackberries”

This got me thinking – how do these insights factor into the ROI of their Facebook program? They can obviously measure the number of comments and ‘likes’, and they can also look at the number of ‘good’ ideas that came out of it. Then there’s the ratio of quality comments to overall comments. None of these metrics track directly to the bottom line, but there is a value in this type of engagement to be sure. This type of immediate feedback on a question from a brand is unprecedented with traditional channels, which is a key differentiator for social media. Surely this must have value, but how would you begin to assign a number to it or calculate the true ROI?

It will be interesting to see how Best Buy responds to the input they have received from the community on this initiative. With such a wealth of input, they should be able to create a home run for their customers. I’ll be looking for the app over the next couple of months to see where they landed.

As a side note, I started this post before lunch when Best Buy had about 496,000 fans. As of this writing, they are over 505,000. That’s incredible growth in just a few hours!