Laura Thomas (Dell) – Social Media Lessons From Dell (Taste of Technology Series Video)

On the occasion of the June 22 Taste of Technology Small Business Series, The Lies of Twitter and Facebook 3 experts in social media gathered to speak about how businesses can leverage the power of social media for their businesses.
Laura P. Thomas, Dell Global Small Business Creative Experience Team
Dan Zarrella, HubSpot Marketing Product Owner and Social Media Scientist
Brent Leary, CRM Essentials

In this next series of posts, we’ll bring you their presentations.

Laura P. Thomas, Dell Global Small Business Creative Experience Team

Here’s the video and below is the video summary/transcript:

Dell, recently come under fire from the blogosphere because of the alleged poor quality of their customer-service. All the problems they suddenly faced originated from just one person, one “little guy” who created a blog to complain about his negative experiences as a customer and who generated a lot of heat for the company.
His name was Jeff Jarvis and the blog he created in 2005 was called BuzzMachine.
He started a series of posts dedicated to the hardships he had trying to obtain the quality customer-service he thought he had purchased from Dell.

At the time these events were unfolding Mrs. Thomas was working in the PR department of Dell and she was in a privileged position to observe and analyze the mistakes committed by the company in the handling of the affair. She says the biggest mistake was Dell tried to apply the traditional way in which companies handle dissatisfied customers. By taking them away from the spotlight and addressing the situation in a private face to face meeting. It turned out Social Media made it impossible to solve the problem over to the side. With Social Media people want you to respond out in the open and engage the issues directly and publicly, Mrs Thomas says.
Later on learning from its mistakes Dell created its own blog, in an attempt to keep such conversations in its own house, for better visibility of the problems that now it had decided it would actively engage should they appear in the future.
Today Dell pushes the responsibility for corporate Social Media to all parts of its business, reaching out to their different customers where they are. It achieves that by creating FaceBook pages with unfiltered conversations about positive and negative subjects, with input from Dell and crucially from a broad audience of consumers and stake holders as well. In that space they are trying to build a relationship. Social Media is not designed for quick profit Mrs. Thomas says.
You can sell things through Social Media, but this involves connecting with your potential customers at a very early stage of their decision process, creating affinities with them and converting big deals, sometimes years after the initial conversation started.
Quick revenue is not something that can be generated in the world of social media unless you are in a very unique situation, like Dell’s own outlet store, whose Twitter account is one of the big success stories in the business. Dell Outlet doesn’t know what kind of equipment it will have available on a day to day basis. Twitter gave it the opportunity to have a very adaptable marketing, targeting a specific group of deal seekers. It made money, but it also created a myth that you can make fast profit on Twitter. The truth is Twitter will work much better if you use it in a long term strategic perspective of establishing long term relationships, than if you hope to move products, just by creating a Twitter account.