Dell's senior manager of corporate affairs Richard Binhammer talks to ComputerWeekly about using social media in business.
Richard Binhammer explains how Dell uses social media online and how its social media strategy is producing a return on investment by generating $6 million in sales from Twitter.
Read the full transcript from this video below:
Video: Dell explains why social media works
James Garner: Hello. I am with Richard Binhammer, who is Senior Manager
in Corporate Affairs at Dell, at Le Web, in Paris. We are going to
talk about how Dell has been using social media within
its business.Richard, could you tell us a bit about that?
Richard Binhammer: Sure. We have been using social media really,
since about 2006, so 3 years, which is a little bit longer,
I think, than many to get used to it. Really, what we use
social media for fundamentally is in almost every aspect
of our business, in terms of listening, learning, and engaging
with customers. Dell, as you know, is founded on a direct model,
and often, people associate that direct model with manufacturing,
when in fact it is all about the direct connection with customers,
so the social web is really, ultimately one of the best forms of direct.
James Garner: Was there anything in particular that was a catalyst
for the company adopting social media in its profession?
Richard Binhammer: Yes. Michael Dell, the founder and
CEO of the company asked to us, 'Our customers are talking
about us, why are we not talking to them? At the time we
had Dell Community Forums and telephone lines, but we
were not necessarily engaging across the web, wherever
our customers were talking about us. His view and our
view fundamentally, is that you can always listen, learn,
and become a better business by connecting with your
customers, and that is what we are doing. In some cases
that is customer support and customer service, in other
cases it is talking to people about what our company is
up to, from a business perspective. In other situations,
it is product innovation and what people want to see
with their products, or changing products because of
things that customers tell us. It really spans the whole
gamut of different aspects of the business.
James Garner: It does take a cultural change within a company,
because when people are communicating through social media,
people say good and bad things about the company.
Richard Binhammer: Yes.
James Garner: I guess, engaging that conversation is a
cultural change for a lot of companies.
Richard Binhammer: Yes. I am not, for us, being a
direct company and valuing those direct connections,
I think that accepting feedback and whether it is
good or bad, is important. Some negative feedback
into the company results in changes, some negative
feedback, there are things you just cannot, they are
not going to change, but either way, it is good to get
the feedback and good to constantly listen, learn,
engage, and understand better. There are times
when the feedback may be negative, but once
you explain why something is the way it is customers
say they had not thought of it from that perspective,
so it works both ways.
James Garner: Richard, Dell has particularly used
Richard Binhammer: Yes.
James Garner: Can you tell us a bit about that?
Richard Binhammer: Sure. We use Twitter in three ways,
fundamentally. One of them is there are between 100 and 200
Dell employees on Twitter connecting with customers in their
own areas of expertise, so people from product engineering
or product development teams are connecting with customers
that want to make changes to, or have ideas for some of our
products. Then we have some news feeds that go to Twitter,
so that people that want to stay up to date with Dell information,
they can subscribe to those news feeds and get everyday information.
Thirdly, and the one that receives most of the attention is Dell Offers,
whether it is Dell Outlet here in the UK, Ireland, US, and globally our
various offers, people making particular sales on Twitter, now
have over $6 million in revenue.
James Garner: How have you been able to measure that?
Richard Binhammer: People follow the link. The link we put in Twitter,
obviously, we can see how many people come in off of that.
Then once, because it is a unique URL that is put on Twitter,
we can see what comes in from that, and then we have our
own tracking once you hit our site to see whether in fact you purchase.
James Garner: It is obviously that often it is one of the areas where
people talk about Twitter. They say, 'We can actually
never see a return on your investment.' From Dell's
perspective, you believe you can and you can show that?
Richard Binhammer: Right. Not only in revenue, but things
like product changes. The first Dell Mini that we put out,
which is the small netbook, because you shrink the keyboard
on those, the Apostrophe was located close to or on, I am
not quite sure because I do not have one, the Enter key, so
when people when they went to hit Enter, were hitting the
Apostrophe key. Our customers on Twitter told us that they
wanted to apostrophe changed from where it was, and we
moved it in the next iteration. We are on iteration number,
I think, version number 4 of the Dell mini, but just to give you an idea,
there is another measurement. We made a change to satisfy
our customers based on input from Twitter.
James Garner: That is excellent. Thank you very much for talking
to us about social media and the works.
Richard Binhammer: Thank you.
James Garner: Just one quick question. Dell, I gather, are
developing a mobile phone. Tell us a little bit about that.
Richard Binhammer: I do not really have many of the details,
except to tell you that we will be launching in Brazil
and China very shortly, in conjunction with the telecoms there.
James Garner: Excellent. Richard, many thank you for talking to us.
Richard Binhammer: Good to talk to you.
James Garner: Cheers.
Richard Binhammer: Alright.