Dell opens its Social Media Command Center


This afternoon, Michael Dell himself came to open Dell’s brand new Social Media Listening Command Center.  Customers, press and a bunch of us involved in social media at Dell were invited to attend.

To get a good feel for today’s event check out this quick montage of the goings on, including Michael’s remarks and the cutting of the virtual ribbon (FYI on either side of Michael are Dell’s CMO Karen Quintos and VP of Social media, Manish Mehta).

What’s the big idea

Taking a step back, there are three main reasons for a business to leverage social media (the following is based on a conversation I had with the VAR guy who in turn wrote my ramblings up into something coherent):

  1. Monitor & Respond: You need to protect your brand. By monitoring FaceBook, LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs (through Google Alerts), you can defend your brand, answer questions and stop misinformation about your company before it goes viral across the web.
  2. Educate and Inform: This is where you take the time to tell customers more about your services, expertise or unique selling proposition. Generally speaking, this involves speaking to established customers or speaking to customers who have needs for your services.
  3. Establish Thought Leadership: This is how you pull new people into the sales funnel. Perhaps a local business owner didn’t realize (A) they had a pain point and (B) you have the skills to solve that pain point. Through pro-active communications, you’re able to describe your expertise and create sales opportunities that otherwise may not have materialized.

While Dell participates in all three of the buckets above, the command center is primarliy focused on bucket 1.

Monitoring and Responding

As reported today in Mashable,  “The center will track on average more than 22,000 daily topic posts related to Dell, as well as mentions of Dell on Twitter. The information can be sliced and diced based on topics and subjects of conversation, sentiment, share of voice, geography and trends.”

VP of Social Media Manish Mehta explained the center’s purpose back in October in a comment on a blog post by Altimeter’s Industry Analyst Jeremiah Owyang:

“Our new ‘Ground Control’ is about tracking the largest number [of] possible conversations across the web and making sure we ‘internalize’ that feedback — good and bad…

“Dell’s Ground Control is also about getting that information to the right people wherever they are in the Dell organization, globally and functionally. It’s also about tracking what you might call the ‘long tail’… those smaller matters that might not bubble to the surface today, but are out there… and deserve to be heard. We want to ‘hear’ them too — contrary to the scenarios about ’squeaky wheels getting grease.’”

Don’t touch that dial

I am very excited by the momentum I’ve seen in the social media space at Dell since I joined a little over a year ago.  Things are really picking up.  Stay tuned for more!

Pau for now…

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