Listening Is Social Media Cornerstone at Dell

Richard Margetic, director of global social media at Dell, made no bones about what the key is to his company’s social media strategy: Listening.

“We use that as our core strategy across all platforms,” Margetic said at Wednesday’s Social Media Worldforum North America in New York City. “Listen, engage and act are our core fundamentals at Dell. Listening is the cornerstone.”

If you knew how to run a business in the 1800s, you’ll know how to sell in the 2000s, Margetic said. “Measure, engage and sell.”

Social media strategy changes, he said, based on who the audience is. “You can’t have the same messages going on in Twitter and FaceBook.”

Margetic said you need to ask the following questions when developing your social media strategy: Why do you want to listen? Who they are? Where they are? What they’re saying?

“If you don’t know your audience, you could be marketing to people who don’t even buy your products,” he said. “Map your audience across platforms and find out where the conversations about your brands are taking place. Conversations at Dell vary from platform to platform.”

Leverage your platform functionality, Margetic advised. Find out your strengths and challenges, and map the pros and cons across those networks and decide where you want to do business.

At Dell, employees are empowered to engage, Margetic said, and then “we just give them the keys. There is moderation across all of our platforms. We know very quickly when any of our employees is going off the reservation.”

Social media drives relationships, drives engagement, and there needs to be a value add. At Dell, b-to-b is perfect for that, Margetic said. “Social media for Dell has more of an impact, significantly, on b-to-b than on b-to-c. Seven times more.”

Develop key performance indicators and create feedback. “We have an analytics team that does nothing more than measure impact on Dell. We see correlation, impact, conversion and we report on it daily. We know very quickly whether our strategy is working.”

Final social media lesson from Margetic: leverage functionality, align with your audience, and adhere to your business objectives.