in the news
May 23, 2011
Home Depot Puts a New Spin on the Idea of 'Sales Rep'
They've got names like SteelToes, ChrisFixIt and THDiva. And they spend hours each week touting favorite products, sharing home-improvement tips and answering questions about everything from installing ceramic tile to venting a microwave. The Home Depot's social-media store associates are part of a new, hybrid group that spends two days each week managing the retailer's Lithium-powered How-To Community and creating content for use across the company, transforming both the in-store and online customer experience.
Advertising Age's, Natalie Zmuda, sat down with The Home Depot's VP of Corporate Communications & External Affairs, Brad Shaw, to find out more about this new breed of store associates. Shaw mentioned that the associates selected have significant tenure—the group's average is 10 years—are tech-savvy, good communicators, and are willing to work outside the store. Once the social-media store associates were selected, a two-day training session took place in Atlanta. A "dark site" was also set up weeks before the actual launch of the How-To Community to help hone the associates' tone and style. Each was also given a Flip video camera to upload video responses or demonstrations.
Now, seven months later, the How-To Community is fast gaining steam and exceeding benchmarks, Mr. Shaw said. Nearly 2,000 topics have been started, with some discussions garnering hundreds of posts. "We're seeing that [the social-media store associates] are becoming a center of gravity for content, in general, inside the company. Anywhere someone wants a how-to video shot, they're coming to us," Shaw said. "We knew our associates would be good, but it's just incredible to us just how great they are on the content front."