Dell is an example of a company that understands social media. Dell knows how to connect with their audiences, both internally and externally. Using blogs, twitter, forums, and digital suggestion boxes, Dell has discovered ways to promote conversations and dialogue. Even the CEO, Michael Dell, joins in the discussion when he has something to say.
In the video below, Vida Killian, Dell employee, discusses Dell’s blogging strategy with Mark Ragan, CEO of Ragan Communications. Dell started blogging internally and externally in 2006. Direct2Dell, the external blog, represents the main corporate voice and within this blog, blogs on specific topics can be found. One Dell Way is Dell’s internal blog written by the internal communication department. Other internal groups, such as IT, participate in team blogs. Dell encourages all of their audiences to engage in conversation. Listen to her advice on how to create conversations with bloggers.
Vida Killian explained that Dell’s Communities and Conversations 40 member team works to listen to and monitor blogs with the software Radian 6. Dell’s team represents all backgrounds, from engineering to marketing, so that a knowledgeable and credible response will be generated. Dell measures customer sentiment through the number of negative comments found on the web and has worked hard to reduce the negative statements about Dell.
Dell has not always known how to use social media or start conversations. Jeff Jarvis, author of the blog Buzz Machine, knows how Dell had to transform its’ strategy to adhere to the growing numbers of people talking on the internet. Dell initially did not listen to their audience, including small “no name” bloggers, but finally discovered the importance of allowing interactivity into their communication strategy.
One of Dell’s most important social media applications, though perhaps not considered blogging, is Dell’s Idea Storm. The tool is an “online suggestion box” where anyone can suggest an idea for Dell and have others vote on it. Dell actually takes the time to consider the ideas with the highest votes. The Idea Storm is an alternative direct feedback blogging application created by Dell for their audience. Idea Storm brings more customer feedback directly to the Dell site. Vida Killian, manager of Dell’s Idea Storm, discusses Idea Storm with Mark Ragan and the importance of listening to your audience. Killian also discusses Employee Storm for employee suggestions.
The New Communications Review acknowledged Dell’s efforts in internal communication and provides some of Dell’s goals and figures regarding their social media efforts. Dell, a direct company, has continued with their previous programs offline, but uses their online forums to learn more about their audience. All feedback is important in the progress and reputation of a company because Dell’s reactions affect the company. Dell is working to establish online outreach and participation with social media into the culture of Dell’s employee’s.