Another Social Media Wakeup Call For Ad Agencies!

June 17, 2009

wake up callOn Saturday, June 13 reported that Dell had made $3,000,000 from Twitter sales.

“Dell has admitted to raking in over $3 million from advertising its products on Twitter. The PC maker has been using Twitter for two years, and employs proprietary software to track sales from users clicking through from Twitter links. Of that $3 million, the company claims that $1 million was made in the past six months, following an explosion in Twitter’s popularity. (72.5% of Twitter users joined in 2009.) The majority of sales have come through the @DellOutlet account, which posts six to ten special offers a week — with at least half of these being Twitter exclusives. Though the $3 million is a drop in the bucket given Dell’s $12.3 billion in revenue during the first quarter of this year, it further bolsters Twitter’s case for charging businesses.”

We now have documented proof that social media channels can and do drive sales. This should help dispel some of the myths that surround the world of social media. By rights it has earned its place alongside other media and channels on the communications plan.

The press release highlights some interesting facts that I believe are worth considering more closely:

  • Dell has been using Twitter for two years. That’s probably 28-18 months before most of us had even heard of it, or if we had, we did not pay it much attention. I may be wrong but, my guess is that Dell’s foray into Twitter did not happen as a result of an agency recommendation.
  • Dell have developed proprietary software to track sales of users clicking through twitter links. This tells me that Dell invested their time and money developing this internally.
  • Dell sends out 6-10 special offers each week with at least half being Twitter exclusives. This approach not only reflects their heritage of direct to consumer commerce, but also demonstrates great direct marketing discipline with tracking and measurement.

While they are correct when they say that $3 million is a “drop in the bucket” right now from a revenue perspective, who knows what it might grow to be in time to come?

I applaud their efforts and their tenacity. They did not give up after 3-6 months but kept working at it to make it work. They are now ahead of most, if not all, of their competitors. They have a track record, know what works and what does not, and are best positioned to take future advantage of the channel as it develops.

For those agencies that have yet to embrace social media as an integral component of their new business development strategy, this should be a wakeup call. Used both correctly and strategically, it can be used to improve your agency prospecting efforts exponentially.