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A Holistic Approach to Social Media Marketing: Part 2

📄 Contents

  1. Using Social Media Is a Strategy
  2. Develop a Story/Brand
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Social media have increasingly become more interesting for branding. Year after year, companies are investing more on social media. Part 2 in Raj Anand's series explains how to develop a social media strategy at a board level, using Dell as an example.
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A recent report released in October 2010 suggests that three in five Fortune 500 companies now are active on Twitter, a micro-blogging site, compared with only 35 percent in 2009. More than one-third of the companies with Twitter accounts regularly responded to consumers via replies or retweets. This clearly demonstrates that social media have become important aspects of a company's strategy and channel to interact with customers.

Dell successfully used social media to generate $6.5 million by December 2009. It accomplished this mainly by interacting with potential customers on Twitter, gathering more than 1.5 million followers of DellOutlet.

A major reason for Dell's success is the genuine belief of its executives to sell hardware via social media in addition to its website. Dell mentioned on its blog that it earned $2 million via Twitter referrals for its refurbished products in less than 2 years. Dell took in another $1 million from people who went from the outlet store to Dell to buy other products.

Dell's senior manager for corporate affairs, Richard Binhammer, spoke about how social media can work for small businesses:

"Make it easy for your customer to talk to you. Do simple things to thank your customers for their business. Ask them for suggestions. Go where your customers congregate, whether it be Facebook or Twitter or elsewhere, and participate in those conversations. Also, listen to your customers in the blogosphere. What they have to say is vitally important to your business."

Using Social Media Is a Strategy

The key learning from Dell and various successful social media campaigns is that using social media is a strategy that executives need to consider as a genuine channel.

It needs a buy-in from top management in order to give discounts, provide offers, and treat social media as a genuine way to sell products. Social media need to be used in combination with other retail strategies as another sales channel.

Focus on the Campaign, Not Social Media

Some businesses seem to get carried away by the success of social media and develop campaigns without thinking them through. From a business perspective, the focus is not the number of followers on Twitter or fans on Facebook; the only measure of success is the revenue generated or influence created to achieve business prospect from the channel.

Most successful social media channels from brands are those in which there is a clear benefit for the users who join them. In the Dell example, the reason for users to follow their Twitter account is to receive instant information on discounted computers.

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