I recently attended a very interesting Twin Cities Social Media Breakfast (@SMBMSP) panel discussion at the Mall of America on the subject of social media & retail. The four panelists included
- Jennifer Rock, Director of Employee Communications for Best Buy
- David Erickson, Director of e-Strategy at Tunheim Partners
- Bridget Jewell, Public Relations Coordinator at Mall of America (MOA)
- Jeff Sommers, Owner, Izzy’s Ice Cream
It was good to see such a broad range of retail experience and each panelist brought up some interesting points on how they approached social media. It was surprising to see that Best Buy, Izzy and MOA didn’t really have a social media strategy before engaging on social channels but it made sense considering they were early adopters of the technology.
Jennifer admitted that it would have been preferable for Best Buy to first build a social networking strategy around their business objectives but there really wasn’t a roadmap for them to follow. The same was true for Mall of America in that they just started tweeting and building a Facebook fan base before considering how it was going to be integrated with their more traditional efforts.
I greatly appreciate these companies for being early adopters and I believe other companies can learn a great deal from their efforts. All panelist admitted to making mistakes but they learned from them and have incorporated those insights into their communication efforts which has greatly enhanced engagement with their key audiences.
Social media has now matured enough were companies can now learn from these early adopters and build a social strategy that has a foundation in overall business goals and objectives. Just imagine if these companies knew then what they know now; I imagine they’d be able to come up with an incredibly effective marketing strategy.
My advice for retail companies considering a social media marketing strategy is to learn from these companies and build on their best practices.