Monday, September 28, 2009

Best Buy Asks The Wrong Question On Facebook

Best Buy recently posted a benign enough question on its Facebook page: “What do you think about offering in Spanish?” Apparently it set off a firestorm of negative and even racist comments.

Some of the commenters on the post I linked to above wonder why Best Buy would be asking that question in the first place, especially directed to that specific audience--e.g. probably a predominantly English-speaking audience.

Here's the thing: who would have thought that an innocent-seeming question would provoke such a negative reaction? I certainly wouldn't have. I imagine the person who posted it is probably in the same boat a lot of community managers are in--e.g. tasked with coming up with engaging content on a daily basis without much--if any--input from upper management.

This is a perfect example of why social media/community managers need to be at the table with stakeholders within the company--execs in marketing, communications, operations, etc. Not that it would have prevented the situation--which, by the way, as far as "situations" go--is an enviable one--we should all be so lucky as to get hundreds of responses to any question. But I'm telling you--it's hard to come up with audience-appropriate, engaging comments on a daily basis in a vacuum.

Also, who says success is defined by only positive comments and accolades? Maybe success is defined as stirring the pot, attracting negative comments and inspiring blog posts and media coverage.


Rather than re-write the whole post I'm adding this as an update even though I haven't published the post yet because I don't quite know what to make of it. After I wrote the first part of this post I clicked through to a post about Tracy Benson's (senior director, interactive marketing and emerging media for Best Buy) commentary about this incident. What did Best Buy do with this negative comment stream? Well, take it down of course! The social media purist in me is cringing and screaming "Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!" Who ever said that online community is only valuable if all the comments read like a commercial for your brand and how awesome it is?

What do you think--should they have left the negative comment frenzy up or did they do the right thing deleting it? Thoughts?

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