Twitter drives $6.5m global revenue for Dell, company plans to embrace the social web

News from computer maker Dell that attracted a lot of attention in the summer was their announcement that one Twitter account in the USA, the @DellOutlet handle, was responsible for driving over $3 million in sales.

Today comes more such news from Dell on what Twitter is doing for the company, this time on a deeper and global scale:

[…] Today it’s not just Dell Outlet having success connecting with customers on Twitter. In total, Dell’s global reach on Twitter has resulted in more than $6.5 million in revenue. In fact our Brazilian and Canadian accounts are growing rapidly too – and it was Canadian tweeters who asked to make sure Dell Canada came online to Twitter. Dell Canada responded because the team heard our customers. In less than a year, @DellnoBrasil has already generated nearly $800,000 in product revenues. Similarly, @DellHomeSalesCA has surpassed $150,000 and is increasing at notable pace.

If you want a benchmark on what’s genuinely possible with Twitter, look no further than Dell.

While the announcement of this financial milestone might get lots of headlines (like this post’s), it isn’t the most interesting news from Dell today.

What’s especially interesting is the prime focus in Lionel Menchaca’s post on Dell’s corporate blog that outlines a new strategy Dell is executing that’s about the company extending its presence in an integrated manner across the social web:

[…] Today, as more and more customers are embracing social media, our thinking about Dell and community has evolved beyond simply driving customers to our own sites to connecting those conversations where they happen on the web (and in the real world too). If you look at our aggregate presence on social media networks plus our own community sites, our worldwide community has grown to more than 3.5 million people across the social web, including places like Twitter, Facebook, Direct2Dell and IdeaStorm. That’s roughly a fan base the size of the population of Chicago. And at this stage is only a small part of the overall 2 billion contacts we have with customers worldwide every year via phone, e-mail, etc.

Read Lionel’s post for the details of how he sees Dell’s strategic approach to building closer and more effective connections with customers and others, including businesses within the Dell organization itself.

I imagine some observers will think that $6.5 million is pretty small beer for a company the size of Dell (annual revenue of $61 billion). I can already see the “Where’s the ROI?” comments, tweets and posts.

I would argue that this is a work in progress so you can’t yet do a final ROI calculus. In any event, what are you measuring?

Far more important, in my view, is seeing what a large organization like Dell is doing overall with social media, and how committed they are to engage in a long-term activity.

So the last word is from Lionel Menchaca:

[…] For Dell (or any company for that matter), isolated social media efforts won’t lead to long-term success in this space. Our long-term success depends on how well we execute on the key strategy points I outlined earlier in this post. My belief in the promise that social media brings combined with Dell’s commitment to our long-term social media strategy is why I continue to do this job.

The bold is my emphasis. We need more examples like Dell.