Dell Tweets to Drive Sales

Discussion
Jun 16, 2009
George Anderson

By George Anderson

A grand total of $3 million
isn’t a lot of revenue in the grand scheme of things when you’re Dell,
but it’s a start. That’s the way the computer maker feels about its sales
from the past two years that can be directly tied to the Twitter social
media site.

“We’re
going to watch it over time to make sure it’s tracking at the right level,” Lionel Menchaca,
Dell’s chief blogger, told Reuters. “It
is trending upward and that’s what we’re going to be looking at overall.”

Dell
posts between six and 10 items a week to its DellOutlet account on Twitter. Almost all its posts include
a link to a sale or coupon for potential customers to use. Dell is one
of the most-followed Twitter accounts with roughly 600,000 followers.

Discussion Question:
Should more companies be using Twitter
for promotional purposes? What does the experience of Dell and others
you are familiar with tell you about the role of Twitter and other social
media tools used by retailers and consumer brand marketers?

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13 Comments on "Dell Tweets to Drive Sales"


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Bob Phibbs
Guest
11 years 10 months ago

Twitter for computers makes sense–IT professionals and the like predominate as they are staring at the screens in the line of work. Reality for Twitter for other brands–not much sense. Less than 5% of US is on it, 80% of those have 10 or fewer followers and 60% give up after a month. It is an interesting phenomenon but really for the big boys to make money at at this point. (And yes, I am on Twitter http://twitter.com/TheRetailDoctor)

Ryan Mathews
Guest
11 years 10 months ago

Twitter–I fear–is soon to be sooooooo last year.

Rick Moss
Guest
11 years 10 months ago

It’s important to note that those sales didn’t come from one Twitter account. A search for “Dell” on Twitter shows numerous accounts displaying the Dell logo (although it’s not clear how many are official). There’s one for Dell Outlets; Twitter feeds for Dell out of Brazil, the UK, New Zealand and Mexico. There’s “DellSmBizOffers,” “dellhome,” “TeamDell,” “DellChannel” and “DellYourBlog”…and it goes on. The point? There’s a lot of experimentation going on with targeting various constituencies. I’d imagine Dell is learning quite a bit.

Domenick Celentano
Guest
Domenick Celentano
11 years 10 months ago

NakedPizza is a startup venture in California, that is backed by Mark Cuban. They have been experimenting with Twitter as a promotional vehicle. On May 29 according to the article, “they got slammed Friday with its Twitter-based “Eat Like an Ancestor” promotion…70 percent of the sales were from the promotion on Twitter”

Now, what works for one company may not work for others…so rather than focus on Twitter, the focus for retailing and the brands at retail should be Social Networking is redefining the 4 P’s of Marketing.

If any of you readers have kids, you know they are heavily influenced by Social Networking so those companies who embrace this now will be successful at courting the next generation to be “delighted” customers.

Randy Hofbauer
Guest
Randy Hofbauer
11 years 10 months ago

It’s one thing for a brand to tweet a coupon or deal to fans. You might get a few sales out of it. But it’s another thing for a brand to tap into what its fans are saying and then respond. Fresh & Easy’s family-size meals have been a hit. And the retailer released the meals after listening to consumer demand over Twitter.

I think Twitter can be used to improve sales, so long as it is a two-way street for both brands and consumers.

Carol Spieckerman
Guest
11 years 10 months ago

I’m reminded of something Michael Dell said a while back in reference to Dell’s community site which serves as a hub for his blog, a forum for Dell customers and a resource center for everyone. He said “I’d rather have that conversation in my living room than in someone else’s.” Branching out into Twitter and other social media outlets expands that living room and keeps Dell in the conversation rather than reacting to dive-bombs on CNET and other sites.

Twice in the past month, companies have swooped down on unfavorable comments that I made on Twitter about my experience with their brands. Personal emails have been sent along with compensatory coupons.

Twitter is still catching on and is becoming more relevant as brands learn how to leverage it. I’d like to see a wee postponement in the skepticism.

Ralph Jacobson
Guest
11 years 10 months ago

Twitter is just on more (great) way to get awareness of your brand. Sure, a tech-savvy audience is out there in most social media outlets, for now. However, I see this changing, just as non-IT people now use the internet, when ten years ago, that was generally not the case. Trust me IBM (and I) are on Twitter spreading the gospel on our great stuff. The good news is that the reach is greater with little or no cost. You can’t lose.

It is important to note that non-IT firms are using the heck of these networks. Thousands of them like VW, Kettle Foods, etc.

Gene Detroyer
Guest
11 years 10 months ago

I understand social networking and its value. I have tried and tried to understand WHY Twitter? I still can’t. Maybe it is my generation???

Camille P. Schuster, PhD.
Guest
11 years 10 months ago

Who Twitters? Are they your consumers now or tomorrow? If so, you should be experimenting with Twitter and every other media your consumers are using.

Marge Laney
Guest
11 years 10 months ago

Twitter and all the other social media sites represent a very real opportunity for companies and groups to generate buzz and promote agendas. I just read today that the dissidents in Iran are keeping interested parties up to date on info and meetings via Twitter. The Iranian government wanted to shut it down, but found that they would need to shut down all cell phone traffic which would affect the government as well so they shelved the idea. You write once and reach millions; powerful stuff.

The trick for companies is doing it in a way that is not viewed as pure aggrandizement and self promotion. Directly promoting product is iffy, but sending out a trial balloon for a new product or concept could yield some pretty interesting feedback. Social networking is here to stay because the younger generation lives on it. We old schoolers need to figure it out and get comfortable with it.

Bernice Hurst
Guest
11 years 10 months ago

Maybe (???!!!) it’s my Luddite instincts but somehow I really cannot see Twitter as anything but a fad. There will be something different–perceived by many as better–coming along purty durned soon. Twit 2.0 anyone?

Ted Hurlbut
Guest
Ted Hurlbut
11 years 10 months ago

It seems to me that Twitter is still in the early-adopter phase, if it’s really going to catch on at all. It may work for Dell, and other leading edge technology retailers, but I question whether consumers at large are ready for it.

John Bajorek
Guest
John Bajorek
11 years 10 months ago

Twitter is quickly establishing itself as a new communication tool for a diverse audience. It is less about being the perfect communication forum and more about providing your consumers with new easier ways to interact with your brand. For quick sales offers, better customer service and opportunities to broaden loyalty, Twitter represents a solid communication channel for most brands, but not all–same as any other media. Find, follow, and facilitate new discussions about your brand.

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