Those of you who have followed Dell's social media journey know that we started these efforts just about two years ago at this time when Michael Dell himself asked our team to find Dell customers in the blogosphere in need of support so we could provide it to them. We've grown a fair amount since then, and I thought this might be a good time to provide a framework for what's coming next.
Here are four main areas we will continue to focus on as a team. I'll be blogging about various aspects of each moving forward (along with other Dell bloggers) as we start to make inroads against them.
- More Conversations – This is really about expansion, and you can expect it in two ways: more languages and more group blogs. Focusing on Direct2Dell, many of you already know that we have a few Dell blogs in Chinese, Spanish and Norwegian. There will be more languages coming soon—with Japanese most likely coming next. The other type of expansion is with group blogs. You may already be familiar with the Dell Shares Investor Relations group blog and the Cloud Computing group blog we just launched a couple of weeks ago. By the end of this week, we hope to roll out Inside IT, which will be a group blog about all hardware and software for businesses and corporations—everything from laptops to servers and storage, services, systems management and more. Several other group blogs already lined up after that.
- Ease of Use – This also applies to things on a couple of fronts. First off, we need to make our social media tools easier to navigate and use. Part of the way we hope to get there is to drive more consistency across our social media properties—we're working on that now. The second part: we need make it easier for you to find information you're looking for. Consistency will help, but this really requires innovative thinking. An example is something we've recently introduced on the Dell Community Forum called Accepted Solutions. I'm pumped because it empowers our customers to show other Forum readers what response fixed their issue in a way that's pretty easy to spot. More on that coming soon.
- Collaboration – This is bigger than the blog. It encompasses all of our social media properties and then some. Over the past two years, we've built some listening posts that open up lines of communication between Dell and our customers. Many times, we get feedback from customers via monitoring conversations in the blogosphere, on Direct2Dell, the Dell Community Forum or IdeaStorm before they show up in our call centers. But a pipeline for customer feedback is useless if we don't act on that information. Internal collaboration is vital to our long-term success. Without it, we simply won't be able to keep up with the volume of feedback we receive through social media every day. Most importantly though, doing it right will mean a quicker response from Dell to customers whether you're trying to fix a technical issue, or waiting for us to implement a great idea that you have shared through IdeaStorm. There's a lot to this topic… for a bit more background, take a look at Shel Israel's recent post about social software in the enterprise, which was prompted by a software-related post from Dennis Howlett.
- Community Meets e-Commerce – In my view, all of our efforts in the social media space should empower our customers. Speaking of Dell.com specifically, it's clear that we need to do a better job of giving customers a chance to influence content on the website. I think Jeremiah Owyang's concept of the Irrelevant Corporate website is right on target here. In the past, much of Dell.com focused on mainly on e-commerce activities, while community tools resided in an isolated part of the website. In my view, there should be much tighter integration between community and e-commerce. We've taken some small steps in this direction like introducing ratings and reviews functionality in many countries. More on that in the near future.