Grazing the current crop of business news mags, I happened across the June 2 edition of BusinessWeek. The cover article, “Beyond Blogs,” is on how social networking is changing key aspects of the corporate marketing tool kit. One of the examples cited in the article is that of Best Buy, the ubiquitous consumer electronics chain. A couple of years ago, two Best Buy managers set up an in-house social network, “Blue Shirt Nation.” That network now has 20,000 participants, 85 percent of whom are sales associates.
This is where it gets interesting: The overall turnover rate at Best Buy is around 65 percent. BUT, the turnover rate of the “Blue Shirt Nation” participants is a mere 8.5 percent (claims the article). (Sidebar: We can only speculate which is the cause and which is the effect. Do the blue shirts turn over less because they’re in the social network, or are they in the social network because they’re more committed (and less prone to turnover) in the first place?
At any rate, this is an increasingly important subject. Any readers have experiences to report (even anecdotal) of the positive effects of in-house social networks, particularly on sales personnel?