USING TWITTER TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS – DELL STYLE
Dell is a great example of an organisation that has benefited from using the new communication tools. It had very a specific and targeted business purpose, which was to increase sales revenues and decrease support costs. It decided to spread its methods of communicating with its customers across several channels. Dell has blogs, four Twitter accounts, several Facebook pages and a YouTube channel. Dell features time-limited ‘special offers‘ in its Twitter feeds; its YouTube channel has over 500 videos. These videos showcase new products, feature discussions with product managers showing innovation in products, and display the results of student competitions. In this case, Dell knows how the under 30s feel the need to compete with each other. Dell‘s blogs are full of useful information from the product team, but there is also a wealth of information from people who have knowledge of the product set.
DELL’S COMMUNITY SUCCESS
Dell’s community is contributing to the expansion of knowledge by effective peer to peer support. This support is lowering the cost of each support call to Dell. The answers to customers’ questions can often be found on the forums, written by another member of the community.
This approach has brought Dell measurable results. Figure 7.1 shows the number of people following the Dell Outlet Twitter account from March to June 2009. On 7 March it had around 117,000 followers, on 7 June there were almost 609,000; by 1 January 2010 the number exceeded 1.5 million.
These followers are looking for Dell offers that are exclusively announced on Twitter.
These offers are retweeted by many of the Dell Outlet Twitter followers, which creates buzz for Dell and has helped to grow Dell’s follower base.
According to Stephanie Nelson, who started tweeting as the @DellOutlet account, deal hunters are especially attracted to Dell’s Twitter presence.25 Dell Outlet sells
Figure 7.1 @Dell Outlet Twitter follower growth March to June 2009 (Source: TwitterCounter.com)
refurbished Dell products at great prices, but inventories fluctuate, making it difficult to know when products are available or on sale. Dell Outlet uses Twitter as a way to message out coupons, clearance events and new arrival information to those looking for Dell technology at a discounted price.
This innovation has generated Dell over $3 million in revenue (to the end of 2009), and as a global brand, Dell has recognised the need to duplicate this success in other countries.26 Now Dell has other accounts: @DellOutletUK, @DellOutletIE, @DellHomeSalesAU and @Offertas_Dell_MX, to name a few. Dell has even linked its Twitter activity to a web page on its site to round the experience out for the consumer, which seems to have done a great deal for its brand image too.