How did Dell make $6.5 million using Twitter?

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dell-twitterI have heard it a million times … “No one is making money on Twitter.”  “Twitter isn’t ready for business.”  Obviously, Dell saw something these nay-sayers did not. Within two-years, Dell used Twitter to generate $6.5 million in orders for PCs, accessories and software.  Dell’s Twitter account, DellOutlet, has grown to almost $1.5 million Followers.  In fact, Dell is so confident in using Twitter as a sales tool that there are currently 34 official Dell Twitter accounts maintained by 100 Dell employees spanning multiple divisions and global territories.

Bloomberg interviewed Manish Mehta, Vice President of Dell’s online unit.  According the Mehta, Dell’s goal was to reach new customers, and the $6.5 million represents sales directly attributed to customer interactions through Twitter.  Considering Dell’s annual revenue last year was $61.1 billion, this Twitter-generated revenue is a small slice of the Dell pie.  Still, it is significant and real growth during a still frugal economy.

“[Twitter is] a very vibrant channel for us and it’s growing aggressively … It’s not just our reach and growth that has progressed, it’s that it’s happening globally.”

So what was Dell tweeting? Sales, promotions and of course coupons.  These tweets were then retweeted by followers and so on and so on until they became viral.

How can this help you?

For years, companies have used coupons as an incentive to trigger sales.  In fact, a coupon can push a cost-conscious consumer to purchase one product over a more expensive one.  It can also help coupon-shoppers to discover new products and brands through a perceived value of “saving money”.  By monitoring the use of these coupons, a company can determine the ROI (return on investment) for the cost of advertising/printing/distributing the coupons directly against the sales generated.

Online sites like have thrived for years through both advertiser and community supplied coupons.  Twitter is the new medium, originally targeting a tech-savvy audience, but now growing to reach middle-America with every mention on TV, prime-time news, magazines and newspapers.  Twitter is an inexpensive way to distribute those online coupons to a public dying to save money. It also always a company to maintain some control over those coupons.  Really good coupons are highly desirable tweets and retweets which achieve a viral status!  Just take a look at how many Twitter accounts have the word coupon in its name.

Twitter can be a WIN-WIN for both companies and consumers.  So what are you waiting for?

Take a look at how I used Twitter to be one of the first to buy the Canon 7D in my Twitter Quest.

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