Which should you work on first: your social media strategy or your social business culture? While you ponder that for a minute, let’s look at how Dell’s social media strategy applies to your business.
So if you’re looking to establish your own strategy, here are the biggest takeaways to to glean from Dell’s example and 7 years of social media experience:
- Be customer-centric
- Make being social part of your culture
10 Ways Dell’s Social Media Example Applies to Your Business
1. Bad situations can be the perfect catalyst for rapid change. Dell’s journey into social media was launched by a combination of two negative instances that generated a ton of bad press. Hopefully you don’t wait until a bad situation to become a social business but if you find yourself in a pickle of a situation, it may just be your inspirational opportunity for change.
2. Channels are changing. What if I told you that your most influential customers were all going to be gathering somewhere to talk about you and your products? You’d want to be there, right? Well, get on it! And get involved where your customers are. Dell gets 25,000 mentions a day on social media channels. Who’s talking about your brand and how do you respond?
3. Buy-in from the top is key. Being a business with social media accounts is VERY different than being a social business. The companies who get this right are making it part of their culture and leading by example all the way at the top. Dell’s leadership recognized the opportunities that social media was presenting and did not ignore it. They invested in it.
4. Start small and prove from there. Don’t worry about taking on the social world all at once. Start small. Dell initially launched their social media strategy in 2006 with 5 call center people proactively searching and engaging with Dell users. Seven years later, they now have more than 10,000 employees that are empowered to speak on behalf of Dell. Crawl. Walk. Run.
5. Observe – Listen – Engage – Adapt. Dell ventures into each new social media channel with this strategy. Observe and listen first. Engage and act second. Every channel has it’s own set of rules and your business would be wise to treat them each uniquely. For instance, Dell discovered that while it is perfectly acceptable (and expected) to engage users who post comments about Dell on Twitter, it is not acceptable to engage users on Facebook in the same way.
6. Measure. What does social media success look like for you? Dell is now closing 4,000 service tickets a week on Twitter in a 140 characters or less. Dell also discovered via their Social Media Listening Command Center that issues/problems would surface in the social channels 2 to 3 days before they showed up in the mainstream call centers. This provided them a competitive early warning system to get a head start on things that were trending and the ability to address problems before they became wide spread. The lesson? The benefits of a good social media strategy are much bigger than you realize. It transforms how people in your organization listen, learn, collaborate and evolve your brand hand-in-hand with the customer.
7. Train employees to scale impact. Dell recognized that traditional marketing was evolving and they needed to do a better job of connecting with people on their terms and in their preferred channels. So they train and empower employees to be 10,000 of their best brand advocates. Are you enabling all of your team members to speak on your brand’s behalf and connect with more people?
8. Inspire brand advocates to amplify the living brand. Just as one prominent journalist ignited Dell Hell revealing the power of negative influence, Dell leadership wisely asked, “What if we could harness that influence in the positive?” Thus IdeaStorm was born. This was Dell’s way of engaging passionate customers and leveraging their insight for new ideas. As a result, Dell has implemented over 500 product improvements from social media influencers’ ideas. Are you engaging your most passionate customers to leverage their ideas?
9. Convert Demoter to Promoter. Are you brave enough to engage your brand’s haters? Dell is. Their mindset is “disagreements are opportunities to engage” and learn from customers in need. Dell even invites “haters” to talk with them which has resulted in a 50% demoter to promoter conversation!
10. Continue to adapt to new platforms with Observe. Listen. And follow other platform leader’s example. For instance, when Dell wasn’t sure how to best use Pinterest, they used Caterpillar’s example to model themselves after. Pick a leader in a different industry and follow their example. It works!
Here is the full slide deck from Knox Keith’s presentation:
Becoming a Social Business
The truth is, social media is more than a trend. It’s a powerful way to connect and engage.
Now back to the opening question… are you simply making social media part of your marketing strategy or are you making it part of your company culture? Because becoming a social enterprise is about more than marketing.
It’s about people. And your team needs you to lead the way.