Best Buy Learns What It Takes To Do Social Media

The beauty of social media done properly is its honesty. That's why major companies love the idea of social media much more than actually doing it. Part of the social media challenge is letting your employees share their views, which will encourage your customers to share candid views right back. This exchange creates that much-discussed customer dialogue. The problem is your employees may say things that make you uncomfortable. That's the whole point, as Best Buy discovered with its Brian Maupin video incident. Maupin is a very creative Best Buy employee who made a wonderfully funny series of videos, including this one about a customer trying to buy an iPhone.

Upon learning that the video pointed out key weaknesses in a product it's trying to sell (even though Best Buy is never mentioned or referenced), ridiculed customers and used colorful language, Best Buy suspended the creator. But after a huge amount of media coverage, the retailer decided not to fire Maupin, who quickly issued a statement saying he may not take his job back anyway. The social media lesson, though, is key. It's easy to put out promotional Tweets. But when your employees truly try to create a dialogue, you need to have the stomach for it.