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Dell sales via Twitter leap more than 100% to $6.5m

LONDON - Dell has more than doubled the amount of money it is making via its Twitter accounts around the world to $6.5m.

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In June PC firm Dell revealed it had made a total of $3m from activity on the micro blogging service. Of that $2m was made directly and another $1m was accounted for when traffic to Dell.com was factored in.

The $3m included both 2007 and 2008 when there was minimal Twitter activity, but the 2009 figure shows real growth that has come during the year the number of people using Twitter within the Dell organisation has increased to somewhere between 100-200.

Some of the strongest growth Dell is seeing is coming from emerging markets. It highlighted Brazil as one area it was doing particularly well.

Dell's operation in Brazil via its @DellnoBrasil Twitter account has generated $800,000 in eight months of activity.

Richard Binhammer a spokesman for Dell, said the growth in Brazil showed the social web was not just a European or US phenomenon, but a global one.

"That's interesting not only from an emerging market perspective, but from a social web perspective as well as it shows the spread of services like Twitter."

Another market Dell highlighted was its @Delloutlet operation in Canada.

"DellHomeSalesCA went onto Twitter because a number of Canadian Twitter users and bloggers were asking us why isn't Dell on Twitter in Canada. Now it is," Binhammer said.

Since it began operating on Twitter @DellHomeSalesCA has generated $150,000 in sales. As has happened in other markets where the social web is used, the market itself has helped inform a business what its customers want as much as what they don't want.

In addition to generating $6.5m in sales revenues via Twitter, social networking in a wider sense has allowed Dell to make what it says are 3.5 million social connections from sites such as Facebook, Google's Okut, Slideshare, Flickr, YouTube as well as Twitter, Dell's own Direct2Dell online community forum and its crowdsourcing project IdeaStorm, which has 60,000 members.

"These are people who are fans or followers of Dell on social networks. There are more besides this as we are not counting the many bloggers we listen to and engage with," Binahmmer said.

The crowdsourcing of IdeaStorm is proving to be a valuable part of Dell's social media operation. Thousands of ideas come to Dell via this site from users suggesting changes and modifications. Hundreds of these have been acted upon.

Binhammer cited Dell's launch of a product for aids charity (Red) that came from user suggestions; expansion of its Linux product offering for consumer PC and laptops; and a change to keyboard design for its Dell Mini netbook range as another.

"Users had a problem with where the apostrophe key was located on the Dell Mini's keyboard. They were finding it hard to use because of the reduced size and so we changed it. That was a crowdsourced idea.

In a post on the Dell blog, Lionel Menchaca, chief blogger at Dell, said that looking to the future Dell would be taking steps to tackle what he described as "the big issues on the horizon like profile collaboration".

He said for Dell (or any company), isolated social media efforts would not lead to long-term success and said the PC maker would be focusing on three key areas:

1. Streamlining its presence in social media networks and creating meaningful content for customers and continue to increase its connections in those places.

2. Focus on building a tighter integration between Dell.com, Support.Dell.com, its Dell Community sites with its presence in social networks.

3. Continue its focus on scaling support of social media initiatives into the Dell business units.

More on Brand Republic blogs

Dell reveals it has made $6.5m out of Twitter

Who's making money out of Twitter

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