Recovering from Dell Hell bad buzz aired by Jeff Jarvis on popular weblog BuzzMachine back in 2005, Dell social media strategy got its impulse directly for Michael Dell, back in 2006. The mission was to increase the connection with customers. The best practices were to cut across the company’s inside departments in the United States and worldwide. In order to achieve these goals, cross-functional councils were created; managed by people from legal, IT, PR, marketing, sales departments in charge of setting the social technology investments and policies. Employees from across the organization were thus welcomed to fully contribute to this move.
According to Richard Binhammer, who is in charge of Strategic Corporate Communications, Social Media and Corporate Reputation Management at Dell, the most important steps for a company which it decides to enter into social media’s venture, is to listen. By listening to its customers – from marketing to customer service, from product development to public relations teams – the company will learn a lot. Richard Binhammer explains that social media reversed the way marketing and communications work, getting a new outside-to-inside flow of information which previous media did not allow companies to receive. This Social media opened the dialogue spreading information at the speed of light creating totally new interaction between customers and companies. Conscious of these opportunities, Dell created, in 2007, its own crowdsourcing platform, Dell Ideastorm, to foster a deeper engagement with the customers providing them the mean to suggest ideas for future and current Dell products or services. Since its inception, the innovation process is growing rapidly with 16,000 ideas submitted, and close to 500 of these ideas implemented, averaging 10 a month. The positive word-of-mouth generated by this initiative is worth a social media campaign that is entertaining on its own, with ideas spurred by Ideastorm community.
The striking point concerns Dell’s sales. Dell uses Twitter (@delloutlet) to generate revenues, amounting to $7 million for computers alone in the Unites States, in 2010, and also its inventory level. Twitter allows to quickly push products without marketing expenses.
Dell leads the way in social social business in technology, creating great value to the company and its customers. As a result, Richard believes that, in the near future, the whole business will become social, social media moving from being a channel to a tool.
Below are some further inputs from Richard (sorry for the background sound…) :
*I was invited to attend LeWeb11 by Orange Group to join their Social Media Team