Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Not for consumers only - Introduction

Robert Scoble wrote a post this morning which caught my attention, but I hope that people don't blindly follow his advice without thinking.

That advice can be summed up in the words "Add people."

[W]hen you walk into a real Best Buy store, what do you see? I see lots of people with blue shirts on. Employees! People! Folks who can help me pick out a new big screen or camcorder or computer. What else do you see? Customers! Oh, yes, people again.

When he originally wrote the post, Robert was unaware of any social media initiatives at Best Buy; when you visit the bestbuy.com website, there are no people there. However, he subsequently learned of a joint effort between Ribbit and Best Buy:

Consumers Price enables consumers to tap into social conversations to get the best prices on the best products at Best Buy, and is the first voice-enabled big-box retailer social shopping experience.

More here, or you can go here.

My concern, however, is that ALL companies will magically decide that "adding people" will solve all of their problems. Hey, if it worked for Amazon, it worked for Best Buy, and it worked for Obama, then it will work for my automotive parts distribution company!

Not so fast.

I've told this story before, but I told it again in the comments to the Scobleizer post:

[L]ast year I attended the International Association for Identification (IAI) conference in Louisville, Kentucky on behalf of my employer, who provides software and hardware solutions for law enforcement. One of my co-workers, knowing of my former Twitter account, told me that I should “twitter” what we were doing at the IAI. Great idea, but after performing a Twitter search, I deduced that I was the only person on Twitter at the time who had even heard of the IAI. No sense tweeting to myself.

So now I'm thinking about B2B social media (for example, Oracle's endeavors in the area, and why Oracle is a special case), and as I learn more about it, I'll post some things about it in here. And you'll note that I already have a cutesy name for a post series; that's always fun. I was thinking about using "B2BSM," but acronyms can easily be misinterpreted.
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