My Thoughts on Dell’s First Social Marketing Bootcamp

I wanted to follow on my blog post from last week with a quick summary of a few things at last week’s Executive Social Media Bootcamp. Before I do, for people who want to take a look at the slides we presented, I uploaded them to Dell’s Official SlideShare account here.

Dell Social Media Bootcamp Like I mentioned, this was the first time we’ve done a bootcamp like this. Our Dell strategy sessions covered many topics: listening and outreach, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, IdeaStorm and a global view of social media. We had hoped that this would be a good way for us to share best practices between us and several companies who engage their customers with social media. When it was all over with, the Dell folks were pretty pumped about the level of engagement that happened between us and representatives from about 15 or so companies. To see more pictures, click on the image to the left or click on this set from Dell’s Flickr page.

David Alston from Radian6 (@DavidAlston on Twitter) did a great job kicking things off by leading with the Top 11 things that cause companies to not start in social media, and he ended it up with the Top 11 things that companies should listen for. To get a look at all of those items, take a look at his full presentation is here.  Couple of things David said that spurred some discussion:

  • On the whole, traditional advertising seeks to capture eyes and ears; Social media efforts should strive to capture hearts and minds. @VidaK: to answer your tweet on the topic… yes—I agree 100%.
  • When businesses analyze the ROI of social media, they need to remember the “I” doesn’t just stand for Investment. They need to look at the Return on Ignoring. Amen to that.

Another cool thing David shared was something he calls the Social Media Maturity Model (see slide #29 in his deck for this). I thought it was a great tangible illustration of how a company can build from the “Start with Listening” foundation. Good stuff all around.

One of the common themes that came up in a few discussions was the parallel between where companies are today with social media sites compared to where they were with the Internet in the early 90s. I blogged about it back when Dell opened up social media sites to all employees in July last year (two years to the day after we launched Direct2Dell BTW). In terms of social media access inside company firewalls, two big issues come up: security concerns and concern for potential productivity loss. No doubt, security is a complex and important issue, butI think a lot of companies will work through those objections in the future.

Besides using one of my favorite Hugh McLeod cartoons to explain why customers don’t trust corporations, I tried to cover some topics that other companies ask me about all the time during my part on blogs: Dell’s online communication policy (see slide #9), what content goes through legal (slide #11), our comment moderation guidelines (slide #12) and where Dell’s going next (slides #14 and 15).

If you’re looking for clues about what’s next, look no further than Facebook’s recent news. Last week, they announced plans to embrace OpenID and the new Facebook Open Stream API, which kicked off lots of discussions in the blogosphere. And the implications are huge. Essentially, this makes Facebook activity streams accessible outside of Facebook itself. Just a few days later, we already see some cool examples of the Open Stream API in action: TechCrunch’s Jason Kincaid highlighted Microsoft’s illustration. For all you Ubuntu fans out there, Ryan Paul published a How-To use the new Facebook API stream by showing folks how he used it to bring the stream to Gwibber, his open source microblogging client for Linux. Another good example is Seesmic Desktop’s integration with Facebook. Keep in mind all of these sprang up less than a week after Facebook announced it.

These examples show an accelerating trend. Information is starting to flow between social networking sites. Jeremiah Owyang just published a Forrester report about this “shared social experience” in a great post he published the same day as Facebook’s big news. Much more to discuss on that front.

What this all means to me is this: while social media has begun to impact brands, in my view, we’re just beginning to see some of the implications that it will have on businesses of all sizes. Three years in, it still feels like we’re just getting started. And that’s why I love discussing social media strategy with others who are responsible for implementing social media efforts in their companies.

Thanks to the folks at BazaarVoice at Radian6 for co-sponsoring the bootcamp and thanks to representatives of the companies who came to Austin to take part in it. Really enjoyed the conversations. Even more excited to see how this continues to evolve.

I hope those who are interested will spend a few minutes to flip through some of the slides we presented and ask questions that come up. The links in the second paragraph go directly to the respective presentations.

About the Author: Lionel Menchaca