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Dell has long been recognized as an evangelist in social media adoption.  Listening and engaging with customers through social channels, such as Facebook and Twitter, are major parts of Dell’s overall business strategy. During the SAP Retail Forum North America in Dallas, TX, we were lucky enough to have Dell’s Kathryn Sterba share Dell’s social media story, best practices and future outlook during the Microforum entitled Social Media for Retailers: Radical Insights into Customer Interactions.

The current Internet landscape makes it imperative for companies to have a strong social media presence.  Online communities contain a vast audience, with over 800 million users on Facebook and 225 million users on Twitter.  These online communities have high social media expectations for businesses. In fact, 93% of social media users believe a company should have presence on social media. 85% believe companies should also interact with their customers via social channels.  Finally, 56% of social media users feel they have a stronger connection and are better served by companies that engage with customers through social media.

   

Dell certainly operates with a strong emphasis in social media. A famous quote from Michael Dell states, “Engaging in honest, direct conversations with customers and stakeholders is a part of who we are, who we’ve always been. The social web amplifies our opportunity to listen and learn and invest ourselves in two-way dialogue, enabling us to become a better company with more to offer the people who depend on us.” 

Social media is deeply embedded into Dell’s everyday strategy and plays a major role in Product Development, Marketing, Online Presence, Sales, Customer Service and Communication. In February 2007, Dell launched IdeaStorm, an online community that allows for customers to submit and vote on new product ideas.  Dell created its Twitter account in June 2007 (how many other companies can say they have been on Twitter for over 5 years?) and the company’s advanced Twitter promotional and sales strategies earned the company $6.5 M in global Twitter revenue in 2009. Also, Dell launched its Social Media Listening Command Center in 2010, which earned 6 awards in 2011 for excellence in social media engagement, listening and customer service.
Dell’s strong commitment to social media has rewarded the company with customer loyalty, profits and great recognition. 

What does Dell envision for the future of social media for businesses?  Imagine if you could tie your shopper loyalty programs to a customer’s social profile, which notifies you when a certain shopper has stepped into your store.  Also, social media may enable you to better predict demand for certain products, allowing you to adjust your inventory and supply chain accordingly.  Finally, what
if you could use social media to better understand your customers’ needs without them having to tell you explicitly? With social media listening tools and analytics, these possibilities may not be so far away!

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