Dell’s Social Media Journey – From ‘Dell Hell’ to one in Top Ten

By: Zorro D In: Search Engine Optimization|Social Media|Web Marketing

15 Jun 2012

A company that had once lost all its social media reputation in one blow (courtesy ‘Dell Hell’ rant by Jeff Jarvis. Forgotten? Here’s a quick recap) is today acknowledged as one of the most active consumer brands on social media! (Transformers 4, eh?)

One look at Dell’s ‘Social Media Listening Command Centre’ and you can make out how Dell stacks up against its competitors in the social media arena today! Goodness! Just look at the dedication – 70 employees tracking the pulse of social media chatter in 11different languages (Chinese, French, Danish, Japanese, Spanish, Swedish, German, Korean, Norwegian and Portuguese besides English). So, that’s 140 eyes glued on to social media networks, 140 ears listening to people and 70 intelligent brains calming down disgruntled and disillusioned customers – whoa, quite a strategy and quite a sane one! Come, let’s find out how Dell got over its ‘Dell Hell’ image and how it bounced back into the social arena after 2005, but before that…what does the ‘Dell Hell’ episode teaches us?

What do you pick from ‘Dell Hell’ episode?

When the ‘Dell Hell’ shouts were burning the social media sphere, Dell sealed its lips and kept mum till the issue automatically subsided. Blogging being a fairly new communication medium then, the company chose not to take it seriously; what to say of commenting thereon! And it was this attitude of Dell that made matters worse. So, one thing that we pick from the ‘Dell Hell’ debacle is to never remain silent but, instead to intervene, communicate and solve the matter; howsoever dirty it may sound!

How did Dell bounce back post ‘Dell Hell’?


Introducing Direct2Dell, IdeaStorm and Studio Dell

Dell launched its first corporate blog – Direct2Dell in 2006 and it was a colourful, successful addition. It was followed by the launch of IdeaStorm in 2007. IdeaStorm is Dell’s virtual suggestion box and allows users to submit suggestions/ ideas on how Dell may improve upon its products and services. So, it’s all about co-creating not just products but a mutually benefiting experience.

“As Dell is always moving forwards and innovating, so is IdeaStorm. In almost three years, IdeaStorm has crossed the 10,000 idea mark and implemented nearly 400 ideas!”IdeaStorm

Studio Dell is another communicative tool that Dell uses to educate its users on a number of emerging technological trends. Not just that, it also lets Dell users upload videos of them (or their family) using Dell’s products.

Segregated Social Media Strategy

What’s interesting about Dell’s social media strategy is the fact that the company has deliberately broken down its strategy so that each social media account caters to a specific different need. An example in point – Dell’s Twitter profiles are cut out into 4 key categories – Support, Sales, Community and Corporate and together they make for some 25 accounts! Not just that, Dell additionally shows up professional photos of their social media experts on Twitter accounts they manage. This adds a cozy, personal feeling and makes the customers believe that they are actually being heard.

Likewise, the company manages a couple of Facebook accounts, the most interesting of which is Social Media for Business – Powered by Dell. It’s here where the company helps both small and medium business houses on how to use social media channels effectively.

Lionel Menchaca, a 17-year Dell veteran talks of Dell’s impressive social media presence in his blog:

“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.”

Social Media Listening Command Centre

The fact that Dell has a dedicated ‘Social Media Listening Command Centre’ in itself underscores the company’s commitment towards social media engagement. Dell’s social media team has a constant ear for conversations that mention Dell (which reaches approximately 22, 000 times a day!).

Michael Buck, Dell’s Director of Global SMB Online speaks out on the importance of ‘listening’ in social media:

“The beauty of social media for us actually is…it’s not a budget question, it’s not a revenue question, it’s actually a listening question. So, first of all, we are listening to our customers”

Social Media and Command University Programme

That’s Dell’s special certification programme to empower team members and to equip them to be efficient brand ambassadors. Any member of the Dell community (regardless of his/ her business unit or job role) can take up the certification, complete it and start interacting with customers on social media channels.

How has social media engagement helped Dell?


- Improved ratio of positive to negative scores

“At the low point in 2006, about 48 percent of what was said about Dell was negative. We were able to get that into the low 20+ percent range.”

- Lionel Menchaca, a 17-year Dell veteran

- Improved first touch resolution rates

With 5000 people working on problem resolution at the social media front, Dell has now become more swift than ever to resolve customer queries. Result: Happy customers!

- Improved ROI

It was in June 2009 when the larger implication (i.e improved ROI) was first disclosed by the Dell Community.

“Since we started back in 2007, we’ve earned more than $2 million in revenue at @DellOutlet, attributed directly to our Twitter activity.”

Just six months later i.e in December, 2009 Lionel Menchaca, Chief Blogger at Dell amazed everyone with the $6.5 million figure that the corporate behemoth accumulated ‘in total’ via Twitter.

“In total, Dell’s global reach on Twitter has resulted in more than $6.5 million in revenue.”

Dell’s Social Media Report-card:

Now, can you believe that back in 2005 the company was tagged as a ‘mute’ company that never listened or responded to its customers on social arena? Strange but true!

6 Responses to Dell’s Social Media Journey – From ‘Dell Hell’ to one in Top Ten


Ling Chuang

June 27th, 2012 at 6:18 pm

normally i don’t leave a comment but your post was excellent so i had to thank you for that.



June 29th, 2012 at 5:29 pm

it is a very nice educative article. keep it up for your hard work.



July 4th, 2012 at 11:12 am

excellent post. many thanks for sharing this resource. thanks so much for everything you’ve put into it this blog has me coming back time and time again.


Sarah Brooks

July 5th, 2012 at 11:46 am

there are definitely some more details to take into consideration, but thanks for giving this info.


Matt Taylor

July 10th, 2012 at 5:41 pm

i just wanted to make a quick comment to say i’m glad i found your blog. thanks.


Sign Spinners

February 11th, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Well first I just want to say Social Media Command Center Sweet. It would be even better if it were like in a bunker somewhere in the Rocky Mountains! It really is interesting how this online marketing…..thing…. works with big big big companies like dell and coke.

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