First adopters of social media networks like Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin, and blogging understand that their success can be measured and based on audience engagement, recognition, and involvement. Yet, Social Media’s Achilles heel, in the eyes of corporate decision makers who still utilize Web 1.0 analytics and measurement for their marketing, sales, and promotion efforts, is the lack of compelling ROI case studies: until now.
The fundamental recommendations from Twitter can be summarised in four simple steps
– Listen to what people are saying about your brand on Twitter
– Set up your own presence and be honest about who you are
– Follow people that are relevant to you
– Respond to discussions about your brand and business
Dell leveraged Twitter perfectly to generate sales. In December 2008, InternetNews reported that Dell has produced $1 million in revenue over the past year and a half through sale alerts via Twitter. People who sign up to follow Dell on Twitter receive messages when discounted products are available the company’s Home Outlet Store. They can click over to purchase the product or forward the information to others.
Dell Outlet faces a common but vexing challenge. A division of the giant made-to-order computer business, Dell Outlet carries refurbished equipment and other inventory that it needs to sell quickly. Because the division has to get the word out fast, it doesn’t have the luxury of hiring an agency and developing an ad campaign. Instead, the outlet relies primarily on email marketing, paid search results, search-engine optimization and affiliate links to raise awareness and drive sales. It’s always looking for new, cost-effective ways to reach people.
Hunter has increased service spending 35%, cut outsourcing partners from 14 to 6 (and is headed to 3), and retrained staff to take on more problems and responsibility (higher-end techs can scrap their phone scripts; techs in other countries learn empathy). Crucially, Hunter also stopped counting the “handle time” per call that rushed representatives and motivated them to transfer customers so they would be someone else’s problem. At Dell’s worst, more than 7,000 of the 400,000 customers calling each week suffered transfers more than seven times.
Today, the transfer rate has fallen from 45% to 18%. Now Hunter tracks the minutes per resolution of a problem, which runs in the 40s. His favorite acronym mantra (among many) is RI1: resolve in one call. (Apple (AAPL) claims it resolves 90% of problems in one call.) He is also experimenting with outreach e-mails and chatty phone calls to 5,000 selected New Yorkers before problems strike, trying to replace the brother-in-law as their trusted adviser.
What did Dell do to make it happen, while others are still playing the wait and watch game.
– Fast to adopt:
While its competitors watched how the new entrant to the social media scenario would perform Dell set up its strategy and used Twitter as a channel of distribution to sell their products, taking the leadership stance and approach.
– Segmentated users:
Dell had a very clear strategy and focus to leverage Twitter, its stretegy revolved around studing the model and its users. Dell segmented twitter users demographically by setting up different twitter accounts ( ie. They started Dell Twitter for NZ users , Dell Twitter for UK users, Dell Twitter for Canada users ) Each of these twitter accounts spoke to users in a different country with localised product offerings.
– Created special offering for each of its segments :
With the segmentation strategy was adopted for different markets, it backed it up with special offers for each of these segments. Thus adapting the ‘Think Global, Act Local’ approach for their overall Twitter marketing strategy.
– Created a following and build a trust factor :
Companies that have built communities have always been succcessful in selling their products. Dell leveraged its online brand identity and trust factor to create and build a large community on Twitter. They built a strong and loyal following of more than 2000 users.
– Targeted Sales messages to the community :
Once they had a following they strategically leveraged their offers and promotions in form of Tweets or messages on Twitter to their following.
Holding Conversations: When company employees discovered Twitter at the South by Southwest conference in 2007, they thought they’d hit on a good channel for pushing out information.
Raising awareness: So instead of using Twitter just to let people know about deals, the company has come to think of it as a good place to interact with customers—and to raise awareness about the brand. “When we respond to people on Twitter, they get really excited, and we gain advocates.”
That doesn’t mean Dell Outlet has abandoned the deals. In fact, the company often posts offers that are exclusive to Twitter. They twitter only a few times a week so as not to spam their followers, and they use tracking URLs to gauge what followers find most appealing.
Increasing sales: Do the coupons work? Big time. Not only do they get retweeted and picked up by coupon sites—both of which spread the brand name—they also drive sales. Dell Outlet has booked more than $3 million in revenue attributable to its Twitter posts. In addition, the division has done research showing that awareness of the outlet has grown, too.
Connecting with customers: Dell now has more than 80 Dell-branded Twitter accounts (including @dellhomeoffers for new system deals) offering everything from videos of new technologies to promotions for Asia-Pacific customers. It also encourages employees to twitter, and has well over 100 employee accounts. Dell uses many of those accounts (with names like @StefanieAtDell), primarily for customer service exchanges that require direct messages (Twitter’s private channel) and to reach out to people who are twittering about Dell (which they find via Twitter search).