Executive Video Interview: Why Dell Continues To Use Social Media

Bob Pearson (Twitter at bobpdell) Vice President, Communities & Conversations at Dell invited me out to Microsoft’s Architect Forum to co-lead a session on social computing.

I let my twitter community come up with questions, and I took three from the dozens to pose to Bob, select questions from: Cece Salomon-Lee, Ravit Lichtenberg, and oemporor (can’t find his tweet)

Here’s the questions I posed to Bob, if I could only spit the words out as well as I could write them:

  • Is IdeaStorm increasing revenues?
  • Is social media impacting the bottom and top line of Dell?
  • How Dell has made $1mm in revenue from Twitter.
  • Is social media superficial branding, or does it truly change the company?
  • How does an economic downturn impact Dell’s social media efforts?
  • Is it better for customers to self-support each other rather than calling Dell Support?
  • What’s the URL of your corporate webpage?
  • It’s great to learn first hand from Dell how they’ve used these tools to increase revenues and reduce costs –it’s time we focus on the business aspect of things rather than the feel good branding only. You can see one of Bob’s recent video interviews on the Direct 2 Dell site.

    Or, see this visualization of the same interview by VizEdu

    69 Replies to “Executive Video Interview: Why Dell Continues To Use Social Media”

    1. Great interview – it was quick but relevant and informative. Bob and Dell’s approach to social media is spot on with how companies should be using social media. Like he said, its not just about being on Twitter, but allowing your customers to tell you what they want and providing it. More people need to look beyond a flashy new tool and see how using them can impact the relationship with their customers. I’ll be passing on this video. Thanks Jeremiah!

    2. Brilliant! My favorite question and response was about the Home Page not being the real home page and instead all search results lead to the actual home page.

    3. Bob and the team at Dell are leaders in the space. They were early pioneers and continue to be an inspiration to many other major brands. Nice job Bob and Jeremiah.

      Blake Cahill
      Visible Technologies

    4. Jeremiah,

      Great interview! What especially struck me were the following commentaries of Bob:

      – ‘during a downturn, social media become even more important’

      – his title is VP of Communities & Conversations -> ‘we don’t just want to dump information, conversations with customers are important to us’ (or similar wording)

      – ‘listening to your customer is very important (product reviews etc)’

      It is great watching this interview on video, after having read about Dell involvement in social media , in the book ‘Groundswell’ written by your colleague Josh Bernoff and (former) colleague Charlene Li (Forrester)


      Jeroen de Miranda

    5. I enjoyed the video as a whole, but was disappointed that Bob didn’t directly answer the question about the impact on the bottom line.

      Reading between the lines, it appears IdeaStorm has not had a direct positive impact on the bottom line.

      The Fortune article on Dell also stated there was no information available regarding the financial impacts of IdeaStorm.

      I appreciate Dell isn’t going to reveal industry sensitive information, but I would have assumed a yes or no to the bottom line question would have been sufficient.


      Mike Hickinbotham

    6. To Bob’s credit, no exec will talk about revenues without first getting clearance –this is a typical answer, but I had to ask anyways.

      I’m waiting for Dell to report numbers to us, give them time, I’m confident they will.

    7. Nice interview, Jeremiah. Bob has a great perspective on things and has a very good way of communicating the “Ah Ha!” of social media for corporations.

      The cool thing is that Dell isn’t standing still and you will see continued leadership moves from them in 2009 as Bob alluded to.

      Thanks for your continued coverage of this important space.

      CEO, Radian6

    8. Great interview – one of the key points that Bob mentioned was that customers like to share information with each other… This sharing takes place on many sites (forums, blogs, etc) that the company typically does not have control over, so recognition that the search engine is the true home page is (again) another great point to highlight. It is refreshing to see Dell not only “get it” from this perspective but to also take a leadership role in the business applications of social media. Very cool.

    9. Anyone visiting the new Dell community site looking for user to user technical support will observe that it has become practically unuseable for that purpose. Most of the features that one expects in such a forum are missing. The previous Dell Talk user to user support forum used commercial software designed to provide the features that make such forums easily and efficiently navigable. Evidently the social media tools now used are more suited to social media interactions (blogs, media galleries, wikis, etc.), but not for user to user support technical support forums. Many of the more experienced users who provided much help are leaving, a great loss to other users.

    10. Jeremiah -thanks for linking to us. Your interview was great – Bob provided new pointers to look at Social media
      1) Dell wants to create a Social Media Alert System for deals – to reach customers – where they are – with their permission – on deals they care about. Awesome use of Social Media.

      2) Bob – “Google is the new corporate home page.” Clearly Social Media check has become part of the customer decision making process.

      3) “Resolution Team.” – Clearly DELL wants to talk/resolve/mitigate/help angry customers immediately before it becomes another DELL HELL.

    11. Jeremiah, I participated in the pilot of IdeaStorm, at the invitation of Bob Pearson, and while Dell has been a pioneer in many respects, their global customer base is still an untapped resource.

      My idea for creating the “Dell Customer Corps” hasn’t been implemented thus far, but it’s one example of how IdeaStorm helped to expose Dell to new business model concepts (not just PC product related ideas and suggestions).

    12. Outstanding – a fantastic reference for anyone wanting to know why Social Media is important, and how it fits with a major player.

      Next thing to do is to find a non-technology example – any come to mind Jeremiah?

      Good point about Dell Hell from Sandeep above.

    13. Little late in responding and I’m honored that my question was selected =) Very good interview on how to connect with customers and why social media is a low-cost way to do that.

    14. Well … yes dell going a Good job.! but i a question !Why Dell Continues To Use Social Media..?? and Dell how they benefit from social media.??? and what is the reason that DELL do it…??

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