Best Buy’s Big Social Media Blunder: When Common Sense `Ceases and Desists’

Someone needs to send Best Buy an historic bit of writing known as 1 Samuel 17.

That’s the chapter in the Old Testament that relates the story of David and Goliath. For those who may not have heard (spoiler alert!), wee David cuts off giant Goliath’s head thanks to his faith in God and one amazing demonstration of accurate sling-shotting.

In modern parlance, that’s known as a big “W” for the underdog.

Speaking of modern times, just recently Best Buy (aka “Goliath,” at least for this post’s purposes) made the foolish decision to overreact to a rival company’s commercial parodying Best Buy’s notoriously, ahem, subpar technology know-how.

Whereupon, Best Buy’s crack legal team (or maybe it’s “cracked”?) dashed off a cease-and-desist letter that was sure to spur on far more coverage of the parody–and awareness of that competitor, NewEgg.com,(aka David in this example).

Oh, that reminds me: check out the 30-second commercial here:

Adam Singer, in his Future Buzz blog, offers a great take on the blunder.

As I related to Singer, someone should send a C & D letter to Best Buy’s legal counsel. Is there a Department of Common Sense over there? The David versus Goliath analogy is so obvious, as is the inanity of Best Buy’s response.

I can’t help but chuckle, too, at Best Buy’s repeated use of “slovenly” in the C & D letter to describe the blue-shirted employee. That word belongs somewhere in the early-1970s, methinks.

As Singer articulates so well at Future Buzz, the episode clearly reflects Best Buy’s lack of social media awareness–how else to explain its clunky attempt to shush a company with a hugely loyal and tech-savvy following?

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Social Media Policy: How To Get Started, And Why Your Organization Should Get it In Writing

Has your organization developed a written social media policy? Do you know where to begin, or why it’s important in the first place?

A few months ago, when the Kenosha Area Business Alliance asked me to develop one, I at least knew where to start: Google, of course.

I typed “social media policy” into the search engine and within moments, came upon resource-rich sites like Social Media Governance.

There you’ll find a bevy of templates from which to draw inspiration and adapt–in your own voice, in your own words and tailored to your organization’s communications objectives.

Last week, after working through some drafts and gathering feedback along the way, I posted KABA’s Social Media Policy in a logical spot: its Facebook page.

There are many reasons why it makes sense to develop a social media policy. As I consider Inside Edge PR’s experience in providing social-media service to clients over the past few years, here are three benefits of creating a policy for navigating in this rapidly expanding terrain:

1. It compels you to think through the reasons why you are on social media in the first place–and thereby develop a focused approach to the process.

All too often, and admittedly in my own experience, social-media activities have been helter-skelter. More than a few times, I’ve posted something for the sake of making sure observers and prospects knew that the administrator (me) hadn’t been abducted by Martians.

With a social media policy, you will set parameters of what you wish to communicate and any ground rules relating to how or what administrators and visitors/fans ought to communicate.

2. It offers another platform to articulate your organization’s distinctive mission, employing your distinctive voice and creating an opportunity to forge a deeper connection with your audience.

Seize this kind of moment to express your organization’s culture, especially via humor.

One that I highly recommend you check out: Kodak’s 16-page `Social Media Tips: Sharing Lessons Learned to Help Your Business Grow.’

3. It explains, in clear terms, why you take certain steps to respond to, remove or otherwise regulate content that appears in your social media space.

In other words: beware and begone, spammers and saboteurs!

Having a social media policy in place last summer would’ve helped expedite some action I took for Tom & Eddie’s on its Facebook page.

Some individuals associated with at least one other area restaurant, obviously feeling threatened by the new rival, were making bogus attacks about Tom & Eddie’s service and food.

After internal discussions about how to respond, I removed the remarks within 24 hours. With a social media policy in place, it would’ve taken all of 24 seconds.

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