Dell: A Social Media Rags-to-Riches Story

Dell provides possibly the best case study of how a company has successfully integrated social media into its marketing communications, and culture. What makes the 'Dell story' so compelling isn't how the company is utilizing social media now, but rather how Dell's workers are such good online citizens now, after having such a horrible start.

We all know about 'Dell Hell', and Dell's infamous 'we don't respond to bloggers' reply to the blogging firestorm that Jeff Jarvis unleashed on his blog in response to what he felt was crappy customer service from Dell. Since that time back in 2005, Dell has gone from cautiously entering the blogosphere, to completely embracing bloggers in our space.

The transformation hasn't been lost on Jarvis, who just penned an excellent piece for Business Week on how Dell has mended its image with bloggers. At his own blog, Jarvis adds:
After giving Dell hell two years ago, I may well be accused of throwing them a wet kiss now. It’s a positive piece. But it’s hard not to praise them when they ended up doing everything I was pushing in my open letter to Michael Dell. I’m not saying that I caused that, just that we ended up agreeing and they ended up seeing the value in listening to and ceding control to customers. They reached out to bloggers; they blogged; they found ways to listen to and follow the advice of their customers. They joined the conversation. That’s all we asked.

It IS all we asked. We ask the same of many companies, and many companies have yet to hear us as Dell has. This is the real reason why we bloggers come down so hard on companies like Spirit that commit such social media blunders. Because we hope that this will serve as the wake-up call that will prompt these companies to re-examine how these tools, which they have obviously ignored, can help them better understand their customers and in turn improve their business processes.

BTW an interesting side-note to this post. I received an email recently from Paul van Veenendaal at The Viral Blog. I hadn't heard of the blog yet, but it only started a few weeks ago and looks to be growing fairly rapidly. What I noticed in checking the blog was that Paul had written this post about how Dell is reaching out to customers via IdeaStorm and StudioDell. But notice who left the first comment, Dell's John Pope. That might be the biggest sign that Dell truly 'gets' social media.

BTW in true bloggy disclaimer fashion, I feel I should mention that I have talked to John and the gang at Dell a few times about their blog and social media strategy. Then again, that doesn't really put me in very exclusive company, as John and Richard Binhammer are constantly reaching out to bloggers and engaging us, both online and offline. Which is another sign of how the company has gone from rags to riches in the blogosphere.

UPDATE: Lionel announces more connections between Dell's company blog and its IdeaStorm community.

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posted by Mack Collier @ 7:53 AM,

3 Comments:

At 12:29 PM, Anonymous Matt Haverkamp said...

Mack -

Thought you would be interested in this article on Goodwill blogging:

http://tinyurl.com/ywspc7

http://dcgoodwillfashions.blogspot.com/

 
At 1:56 PM, Blogger JohnP@Dell said...

Mack -- For the record, while you note that many of us at Dell "get it" there is so much more to learn and integrate. Which is why we like to reach out to listen and learn from experts such as you. Case in point: based on your observations, we'll soon be doing some work to better integrate our Direct2Dell blog with Dell Ideastorm.

 
At 6:32 PM, Blogger Mack Collier said...

"Mack -- For the record, while you note that many of us at Dell "get it" there is so much more to learn and integrate. Which is why we like to reach out to listen and learn from experts such as you. Case in point: based on your observations, we'll soon be doing some work to better integrate our Direct2Dell blog with Dell Ideastorm."

John I think that's a great point, because this space is evolving so quickly, you have to stay active with these tools. Today's 'expert' can be tomorrow's novice. But that means there's still plenty of time for companies and individuals that are on the outside looking in to get involved!

BTW speaking of experts, Kathy Sierra once had a great post about how experts are the people that keep pushing themselves to keep learning and to keep trying to find a 'better' way. Sounds like you qualify as a social media expert under that definition!

 

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