6 Ways Dell Uses Social Media to Drive Sales and Improve the Customer Experience
In her keynote presentation at last week's eTail East conference in Baltimore, Zita Cassizzi, vice president of Dell.com, discussed how the computer technology giant has used social media to engage consumers online and ultimately drive sales. As one of the first companies to launch online forums and online support, Dell has a track record of being at the forefront of the social media movement. Here's a recap of Cassizzi's presentation.
The Future of E-Commerce?
Social media is a buzzword that's often thrown around by retailers. If enough people are talking about it, it must be important, right? To Dell, the medium offers another way to engage consumers online, but also another outlet to make money in. The value of social media is in commerce and customer loyalty, Cassizzi said.
But to make money via social media, you must first engage consumers in the channel. Here are some of the recommendations Cassizzi offered to the audience, based on her personal experiences with Dell:
- Put a heavy emphasis on engaging with bloggers. Dell illustrates this with its Community page, where consumers can access blogs, support forums, how-to articles and more.
- Listen, engage, learn and keep trying, and measure. Take risks with your social media campaigns, keep the failures small and scale what works, Cassizzi said. Dell first launched a Twitter page three years ago, for example. By Cassizzi's own admission, it was disorganized and didn't have a purpose. So the company began testing different uses for the micro-blogging site, and found that offering deals to followers proved particularly effective. The result: Dell quickly gained 1.5 million Twitter followers. Today, Dell uses Twitter to accomplish four things: inform, sell, engage and support.
- React to what you learn. When Dell realized that many of its Twitter followers were going to the site to voice their customer support issues, it launched Dell Cares, a website designed to proactively reach out to consumers to help them resolve their problems.
- Be super relevant on Facebook. Dell's initial experience on Facebook was much like its start with Twitter — it lacked direction and didn't know what to give to consumers. Adapting to consumers’ interests, Dell has launched support widgets and apps on its Facebook page designed to allow customers to reach out to Dell Support from within Facebook.
- Use social media for B-to-B as well. Dell's social media tools — Facebook, Twitter, blogs, ratings and reviews — aren't focused solely on the B-to-C marketplace. We leverage social media to build awareness, drive consideration, showcase solutions, and engage existing and potential B-to-B customers, Cassizzi said.
6 Takeaway Tips
Cassizzi wrapped up her presentation by leaving the audience with six thoughts to remember when developing their brand's social media efforts, both as a revenue generator and customer engagement tool:
- Connect directly with consumers. Human interaction should be authentic, Cassizzi stressed.
- Listen, engage and respond. Follow this process and you'll bring consumers’ experiences with your brand to life, Cassizzi said.
- Measure and adapt. Test new things and understand how they affect your customers. Dell measures social media's impact on its business through a variety of metrics, including number of mentions, tone of conversation and where conversations are taking place on a daily basis; revenue contribution, trends, traffic and sentiment numbers on a weekly basis; and establishing long-term goals (e.g., product changes) on a monthly or quarterly basis.
- New tools should amplify your brand. Social media should serve as a portal to help you improve how you relate to consumers, Cassizzi said.
- Look for opportunities within your social media efforts to thank, help, appreciate and delight consumers.
- Focus on customer value first; business value (i.e., revenue) will follow.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.