MSVU Social Media Course Blog

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Dell does Tweetzza (…so to speak)

I realize by now you’re all probably sick of me gushing over how relevant Brian Solis’ posts are on PR 2.0, but I really can’t help myself… so bare with me.

Yesterday, I posted a comment/reflection about Naked Pizza selling pizza via Twitter. This is an interesting concept (ie: using Twitter as a marketing tool to drive sales), and one we should take note of. With that as a background, when I checked Solis’ blog today, lo and behold was a post about how Dell  has been using its own Tweeting techniques to drive sales… in other words, my gushing about his relevance is justified!

Solis’ post describes how Dell used its Twitter account, @DellOutlet, to drive $2 million worth of sales.

They have done this by posting special offers and “nurturing customer relationships on Twitter” (I assume this means responding to customer Tweets, etc). The @DellOutlet account currently has close to 625,000 followers – in other words, they’ve essentially formed their own “micro community” with access to Dell’s exclusive deals.

To take a quote from Dell from Solis’ blog, “We’ve surpassed $2 million in revenue in terms of Dell Outlet sales, but we’re also seeing that it’s driving interest in new product as well. We’re seeing people come from @DellOutlet on Twitter into the site, and then ultimately decide to purchase a new system from elsewhere on If we factor those new system purchases that come from @DellOutlet, we’re actually eclipsed $3 million in overall sales.”

(note the extra “O” for emphasis)

The Twitter technique has evidently worked very well for both Naked Pizza and Dell (both very different businesses). Not only has their tweeting boosted sales, it has fostered customer involement, thus loyalty to the brands and their products.

Solis’ friend who works at Dell, Richard Binhammer, noted, “…this is about putting the public back in public relations where relationships are direct. The dedicated practice of connecting with customers generates real results on many levels. While this announcement focuses on revenue results and referrals to, they are also reinforced by the relationships and direct connections we have with customers everyday using the Web.”

This train of thought (ie: conducting business via Twitter/social media) has raised some new questions for me:

 – Is this an example of a new “best practice” in public relations, or just strategic marketing strategy that’s replacing things like flyers and mailouts?

– And as a continuation to that,  where do we draw the line between marketing and PR in businesses’ use of social media tools?

– Will the use of social media to drive sales and/or nurture relationships serve to distinguish public relations practice, or will it do the opposite?


June 16, 2009 - Posted by | Review of Monitored Site

1 Comment »

  1. Hello Laura!

    Good post!

    Here is my opinion on the first question raised:

    I think this Twitter advertising thing is going to become a “best practice.” Even if it’s not Twitter per se, for a company to remain relevant they are going to have to put themselves out there on some social media forum. Especially for a company, like Dell that deals in technology, using the most up-to-date marketing strategies is key. That’s not to say that social media should replace all things traditional (i.e. mail-outs and flyers). There are still people that will not be reached by a social medium and these types of advertising certainly have their place. I think we are definitely in a transition phase where both traditional and new media tools are going to necessary to do our jobs effectively in the future.

    Comment by traceyboland | June 21, 2009 | Reply

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