To Hell and Back: Dell’s social media transformation
Better known as @RichardatDELL to his 10, 758 Twitter followers, Dell’s international social media strategist Richard Binnhammer flew to Australia for the National Small Business Summit in Brisbane last week.
Richard’s social media strategies have helped Dell have generated millions of dollars from their Twitter account alone. And it was inspiring to hear how a Fortune 100 company uses social media to generate sales and build their reputation.
However Dell’s reputation hasn’t always been so wonderful and I had some pressing questions I really wanted to ask Richard. Graciously Richard accepted my interview request!
I asked Richard about Dell’s dramatic turnaround from the Dell Hell fiasco in 2005 to today’s multi-million social media successes.
In this 2:26 video, Richard explains what went wrong during the Dell Hell fiasco, why Michael Dell got personally involved and how Dell not only overcame the negative press, but turned it around to become the genuine leader in social media!
A long time ago, Dell had to deal with ‘Dell Hell’, how did you bounce back & what’s your policy now?
It was a long time ago, in fact, four years ago. It was almost the dark ages but there are new chapters written all the time. Fundamentally, what happened was some customers were talking about us on the web and not necessarily all very positive things, including some high profile bloggers who had some difficult times with our customer service folks. We, at first, weren’t completely attuned to that. Since then, we’ve become very attuned to that kind of thing and we listen and learn every day on the web. In fact, we started back in 2006 at the impetus of Michael Dell, who said, “if our customers are talking about us on the web, why aren’t we there talking to them?” And that’s what we started to do. We started with a small group of tech support people who went out and solved customer issues on the web. That grew into us having a blog, then that was followed by people like myself commenting on blogs about whatever people were talking about that is related to Dell. Since then, we’ve just kind of grown and extended our involvement across the social web. Dell has always been about direct relationships with customers and we’ve discovered that social web and social media, whether it’s Facebook, Twitter, blogs or whatever comes next – it’s a great way to connect with our customers directly and to listen, learn and engage.
What advice could you give business owners when embracing the social web?
I always start with the advice – which is listen. Listen to what your customers are saying. Don’t just barge in, but listen. Then, engage in conversations and understand that the social web is an interactive web that is all about conversation amongst your customers. Don’t think that you can just push your messages but rather, it’s all about joining the conversations and participating.
What are your thoughts on selling on the social space?
I think that if you develop good relationships with your customer, the selling will come.
The take-home message for all businesses, is LISTEN to what is being said!
You can read Richard Binhammer’s blog: http://richardatDELL.blogspot.com
Richard Binnhammer was the international speaker on the Red Hot Sales, Marketing & Social Media Strategies panel, which I was honoured to be a part of too.
You can read more about our NSBS panel discussion in this article in The Age on 9th July: Modern day wooing: marketing tips from social media gurus:
Social Media Strategy: For a social media strategy with an Australian flavour, consider Bluewire Media and call 1300 258 394.