Should you believe Dell earned over $6.5 million through Twitter alone?

dell-logo-online-newLast week Dell announced they earned over $6.5 million through Twitter alone. This message gained a lot of (social) media attention. But I doubt the credits of the success should go to Twitter alone. Dell is putting a lot of effort in social media like their blog, Facebook, Flickr, YouTube and multiple Twitter accounts. Their social media effort generated this additional turnover not Twitter. Unfortunately till now Dell is the only good example of a successful social media strategy.

Impressive social media result

Don’t get me wrong. In my opinion this is an impressive figure but already less impressive when we add that it’s in 3 years time. Besides it is not Twitter that led to this result. It’s just nice that Dell gives them the credits. But let’s not over-hype it. For sure it does not mean we all have to copy Dell’s Twitter strategy. Last week I made a presentation about branding your company through social media. Hardly anyone among the audience (<5%) was using Twitter. I even believe several never heard about it before. Something similar was mentioned by one of my friends who recently visited an online advertising seminar in New York. He also hardly noticed any Twitter activity there. That’s why we cannot just ‘follow the leader” in this case. Anyhow, a good social media strategy for sure can lead to more engagement. I really like the following quote that shows Dell’s engagement. Especially for Dell, a company without any physical outlet, from the start an online company only, social media is the way to get in touch with their clients:
“The web was an ideal place for us to connect directly with customers. Social media brought that and something more—a way to listen, learn and engage with customers, with a clear emphasis on the engage part of the equation, It allows us to further those direct connections with customers while also sharing what we are all about, making technology work, work better and harder for you.” (Lionel_Menchaca, Chief Blogger at Dell)

Look for a social media strategy that suits your audience best

You will have to find out how and where you can communicate with your ‘audience’, your (potential) clients. Are they using social media at all? What media and in what mix? I wouldn’t put my money on Twitter only, but find a good mixture for my target group. But please don’t sit down for days to think out a “social media strategy”. Start using it first to engage with your clients. Just like in the old days. You should for sure check out Manish Meta’s post about the value of social media.
What we’ve learned is that social media has transformed the large corporation of the millennium into the Mom and Pop shop of the old days. The emergence of social media simply makes it more possible to connect directly with customers every day. (Manish Meta, Vice President, Social Media and Community, Dell Inc.)

In the end conversion is what it is all about

And isn’t this what Dell is doing as well? They are really good in mixing all kind of media which all in the end have to lead to more brand awareness and finally to more conversion on their website. Because that’s what it is all about. They are using all possible channels, including social media to engage with their (potential) clients resulting in sales through their website. In the earlier mentioned posts Lionel Menchaca mentions their strategy is going beyond driving customers to their websites. For me he doesn’t clearly clarify why, because in the end that is what it is all about. All the social media efforts have to lead to turnover.
Today, as more and more customers are embracing social media, our thinking about Dell and community has evolved beyond simply driving customers to our own sites to connecting those conversations where they happen on the web (and in the real world too). (Lionel_Menchaca, Chief Blogger at Dell)

The good news: Dell proves you can earn through social media

To be honest I am curious how much Dell already invested and still is investing in social media. You could question whether the mentioned $6.5 million is worth the investment? They seem to have 3.5 million online contacts through their social media effort. Still a small amount compared to the 2 billion contacts through via phone, e-mail, etc. Maybe we should  just treat is as a great start? I tend to choose the last one. Dell shows that it is possible to earn through a proper social media mix and that is probably the most important message. I like to conclude with a final quote from the post by Manish Meta, no further comment needed:
“Mom and Pop” knew that their business was only as successful as their relationships with customers could make it. That’s the value of the direct connection to your customer, and that’s how every company can achieve success using social media — by facilitating the conversation. No strategy necessary.
What are your experiences with social media? Did you manage to find a good business model? Did you manage to increase the engagement with your clients? Please leave a comment below or meet us online: @GOYELLO and @PetersOpinion.

VP Software Development Europe for Aspire Systems. Sociologist and electrotechnical engineer, a great combination that stimulates him to look for the best working software solutions for clients. Passionate about converting great ideas into new solutions. Married and a proud father of 3 great sons. Training for and participating in triathlons/runs to stay fit.