How can you tell if your social media marketing efforts are effective? Wednesday afternoon at Dell World 2012, attendees were treated to a session seeking to answer a question that has baffled and bothered business owners as long as social media has been used for business!

Dell offered up three experts on social media ROI in the #DWSocial track to assist companies in better understanding the actual return on their investments, whether time or budget, in social media. Raj Narang, Executive Director of Social Media & Marketing Optimization, Fara Howard, Executive  Director of eCommerce, and Director of Operations and Data Intelligence Steven Pelecky all took part to share Dell’s approach to turning real-time customer advocacy scores into actionable business insights. Relentus founder Matthew Aravelo moderated.

It’s 2012. Eighty percent of U.S adults use the internet; 65% have broadband access at home. Eighty-eight percent have a cell phone, 63% use wireless internet and two-thirds of American adults use “the cloud.” Clearly, consumers are more connected than ever before. How does your company connect with hyper-connected consumers via social media?

Social media brings with it challenges of culture vs social adoption. How does your company handle customer feedback, a volume of information, tools or processes, and your own skilled resources?

As Michael Dell has said, “These conversations are going to occur whether you like it or not. Do you want to be part of that or not? My argument is you absolutely do.”

Dell World 2012: ROI of Social Media session notes

Panelists demonstrated their advice the best way they know how… visually! Here are a few highlights in case you weren’t able to tune in:

  • Harness social media data to derive brand value in real-time.
  • Measuring sentiment isn’t enough; you need to contextualize it, as well.
  • The greatest skill in social media is listening. Listen to what is being talked about, whether it’s components, configuration, products or brand.
  • Drill down into the hierarchy of topics relevant to your brand. Aggregate data is important, but doesn’t show the full picture.

Dell has over six years of social media experience, since Michael Dell first asked, “Why don’t we reach out and help bloggers with tech support issues?” Since then, we’ve regularly received accolades and recognition for social leadership extending beyond listening and engagement, to consulting, training, and even winning awards.

As an early adopter in social media, we are pleased to be able to share our experience with companies large and small. Dell World is one of the places we get to connect, but you can find us every day here and across the web! Be sure to stop by our Social Media for Business page on Facebook for more insight and tips to help your business become more social.

Have you been able to tune in to Dell World 2012? Catch the livestream at Dell World Live Online!