Social2011_web1

Dell and Social Media: How the Four R's Help Manage 25,000 Conversations a Day

The Radian6 user conference, Social 2011, is underway today in Boston, and the opening keynote includes 2 speakers from Dell, Karen Quintos and Adam Brown. Dell has long been a real leader in using social media for marketing. Two years ago, they had a centralized team of 40 staff working on social media for the company.

The Fabric

Karen opened the keynote and mentioned that listening is at the core of Dell’s social media process. Some notable quotes from Karen Quintos:

  • “We have built social  media into the fabric of how we go to market, how we dialogue with our customers.” And 80% of Dell business is B2B, not B2C.
  • “These IT decision makers and CIOs are communities in and of themselves. They trust each other more than they trust vendors they may have.”
  • Dell hired a “ranter” (as opposed to a raver) who used to bash the company. First, they flew her in to just listen to her issues. They made a few changes. The “ranter” became a huge fan and ultimately one of their employees, working in the social media space.

The bulk of the presentation was given to Adam Brown, who is the executive director of social media for Dell.

Pioneers

Adam noted how Dell, like most of the people at 2011, are the pioneers in using social media for business purposes. He also noted how the customer doesn’t really care if they’re talking to a marketer, a developer or someone in customer service. They feel that they are talking to someone from Dell, and that’s an important thing to remember.

Demonstrable ROI is the new norm

Adam noted that he can’t get funding for social media programs without demonstrating ROI. Among the areas they track at Dell is net promoter score, so Adam needs to show an increase in that as one key indicator.

He noted that Michael Dell himself asked about social media back in 2006. Since then they’ve launched ratings and reviews, IdeaStorm, Dell Tech Center (for IT pros) and much more until being recently named the #1 brand on social media, ahead of brands like Nike and Starbucks.

Like Karen, he noted that it all starts with listening. Not a surprising message for a Radian6 conference, to be sure, but he noted that they track 25,000 conversations per day that mention Dell, and they track in 11 languages. Considering these 25,000 opportunities, then you need to track your engagement with those conversations to see if you’re having a meaningful impact on those potential customers. In other words, does it lead to more sales. That’s something I’ve not seen many brands effectively track quite yet. Hoping for more detail from Adam on this, but alas, he moved on.

The Four Rs

Adam shared Dell’s Four R strategy for dealing with conversations in social media:

Review: You have to listen and then route conversations to the right person who knows how to respond.

Respond: The right person needs to use engagement consoles and other tools to respond in real time. Tracking these conversations appeases the lawyers, but it’s also a major way to track ROI by seeing what happens after you participate in thousands of these conversations.

Record: Video is key. Brands have the ability to do it better than individuals and we can allow access to different engineers than a lay person would be able to get on their own. Not slick content, but well produced content, and that’s a big difference. (Amen.)

Redirect: This is SEO and search engine marketing. “Are we using the same words as our customers use? Can they find us online when they look on search engines, our social media properties and our own website?” If we don’t do this effectively, social media can become the spam of this generation.  Excellent point. He noted how “our brethren” in other marketing efforts have ruined email marketing with spam, and astroturfing and fake blogs are the social equivalent. They can’t continue.

Summary

The rest of my post was lost when the Radian6 wireless network crashed for about 45 minutes. You could see paralyzed social media geeks looking up, realizing for the first time that there were other people around them.

But Adam finished up with details on the extensive training, protocols and policies Dell uses company wide. They continue to invest heavily in social media for marketing, for product development and for much more. Given their focus on ROI, it’s clearly working for Dell.

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7 Comments
  • Lauren
    Posted at 17:16h, 07 April

    Jim,

    Thank you for covering our morning’s events in this post! We apologize for the internet issues, but appreciate you continuing to distribute tidbits and reflection. I guess this morning caused us all to be a bit more social offline…silver lining. 🙂

    Lauren Vargas
    Director of Community at Radian6
    @VargasL

  • Lauren
    Posted at 17:16h, 07 April

    Jim,

    Thank you for covering our morning’s events in this post! We apologize for the internet issues, but appreciate you continuing to distribute tidbits and reflection. I guess this morning caused us all to be a bit more social offline…silver lining. 🙂

    Lauren Vargas
    Director of Community at Radian6
    @VargasL

  • Jim Tobin
    Posted at 19:41h, 07 April

    No sweat. Apparently an AT&T wide outage. But we’re back up. Very good conference by the way.

  • Jim Tobin
    Posted at 19:41h, 07 April

    No sweat. Apparently an AT&T wide outage. But we’re back up. Very good conference by the way.

  • Jim Tobin
    Posted at 19:41h, 07 April

    No sweat. Apparently an AT&T wide outage. But we’re back up. Very good conference by the way.

  • Houston Internet Marketing
    Posted at 20:43h, 07 April

    Wow, great post. The four R’s are great guidelines! I agree with the first part of the Redirect point. There have been times when I thought I was using the right terms to search for what I needed, only to realize the company used much more technical terms than I could conceive.

  • Houston Internet Marketing
    Posted at 20:43h, 07 April

    Wow, great post. The four R’s are great guidelines! I agree with the first part of the Redirect point. There have been times when I thought I was using the right terms to search for what I needed, only to realize the company used much more technical terms than I could conceive.

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