When the votes were counted and the results were in, Michael Dell used Twitter to announce that Dell was becoming a private company. The platform he used to make the announcement spoke volumes: as a private company we are just as committed to communicating through social media as ever.

Whiteboard drawing about word of mouthProfessor Rohit Deshpande and Michael Norris do an excellent job of reviewing Dell’s social culture in their newly released Harvard Business School case study. The case outlines our strategy to embed social media into everything we do from customer experience and communications to marketing and sales. They cover the importance of measuring and reporting results in social media. And in my personal favorite section of the study, they report on Dell’s Social Media and Community University (SMaC U), a global training and activation program that I manage.  Not only are we proud to be profiled by such an incredible institution but it also gives me a great opportunity to share where we are in our social media journey today.

A lot has changed since 2006 when this blog started. We have 11,000 team members who are certified to speak to our customers in social through our SMaC U training. Our executives have seen great results and aren’t asking about the value of social media anymore. We have more insights than ever. Our tools and capabilities have grown so we can monitor and report on posts in more than 20 languages. We use our knowledge and experience to sell social media services. But one thing that hasn’t changed is why we use social media to begin with.

For us, it’s personal. We have amazing team member advocates who help share our message and build relationships with customers through social media. Activating our passionate team members in social media will set us apart.

Moving forward, we will continue to use social media to build relationships with our customers. As experienced users of social media, we’ll remember that it isn’t just about having a lot of data or insights. We know you can’t rush through and check boxes if you want to use social in a meaningful way. We encourage our team members to understand who they are communicating with so they can give our customers what they need, when they need it, on the platform where our customers already are. Our training has evolved and we focus on team member activation more than ever. To grow as a brand we have to spend time creating good content, building trust through authentic engagement, and personalizing our interactions.

Social will certainly be a factor for our brand as we move forward. But our secret weapon lies within our passionate team member advocates.  What do you think about the HBS case study?  Do you think social engagement will help Dell as a private company?

Follow @Dell and @HarvardHBS on Twitter for more.