Merry Christmas, Love the Twelpforce. How Best Buy is Leveraging Social Media for Holiday Sales 7


This morning Peter Shankman, PR guru and founder of Help A Reporter Out, tweeted “Social Media is nothing more than a platform to showcase customer service, whether good or bad. Are your CS priorities accurate?”

Customer service via social media is the top priority for electronics giant Best Buy as it ramps up its ad campaign for the holiday season. According to a piece by Saul Hansell in today’s New York Times, Best Buy is centering their entire holiday advertising campaign around their customer service Twitter handle @Twelpforce (Twitter + Help Force = Twelpforce).

The ads feature customers asking a question to a stadium full of blue shirt wearing Best Buy tech geeks while the Twitter web address is superimposed on the screen. While not all consumers are using Twitter (or even know what it is), Best Buy recognizes that a majority of their customers are gadget addicts who are likely very technologically savvy. With that in mind, Best Buy is reaching their customers where they are – using Twitter on their phones, lap tops and desk top computers.

Barry Judge, Best Buy’s Chief Marketing Officer commented to the New York Times, “ . . . many people who watch the commercial will have no idea what Twitter is. That’s O.K. The commercials stand on their own, but the Twitter reference adds a little post Web 2.0 sizzle for those in the know.”

The emergence of the Twelpforce in July of this year scored Best Buy a cover story on Tech Crunch. Since then the Twelpforce has earned nearly 13,000 followers and has answered an estimated 20,000 questions from interested consumers.

And Best Buy is not stopping there. The company has revamped their Facebook page to allow for easier feedback on products between users. The company also plans to release videos of 25 Christmas songs with new lyrics that talk about the best tech gifts for this season. The videos will be released online, using the Tiny URL service to shorten the links and make sharing easier on social media platforms. Can you hear it? “Jingle bells, buy a Dell.  . .”

Best Buy has fully embraced social media by actively using Twitter, Facebook and YouTube to allow consumers to engage with the brand, learn about new products and promotions, and access live customer service. When the company reports its Q4 sales numbers, surely this will have a significant and measurable impact.

To companies who fear the “untamable social media beast” I say, observe the Twelpforce and start taking notes.

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