This past weekend I was on a panel in Dell’s backyard at SXSW. The panel called Social Marketing Confessions: Leading Brands Discuss What Has and Hasn’t Worked featured reps from other major companies including Turner, Quiznos, Cox Communications, Interactive Advertising Bureau and moderated by Jeremiah Owyang of Altimeter Group.  The panel was guided by three main questions: In the Age of the Consumer how can businesses market to digitally-connected consumers who expect a personalized, social experience everywhere they click, yet fear their loss of personal privacy? How does your business decide who “owns” which social channels? Which metrics matter? 

Some of the key themes that came up during the course of the discussion:

  • Real-time: We explored the idea of whether you can plan for real time social media marketing and all the ways to use real-time information. An excellent example of this is the ad Oreo created during the Super Bowl during the black out. Oreo posted an ad to their @OreoCookie Twitter account with the tag line, ‘You can still dunk in the dark’ to more than 79,000 followers. The post got more than 16,000 retweets on Twitter and 20,000 likes on the company Facebook page. Consensus was that you can, and should, plan for real-time social marketing.
  • Data: Many people in the audience are collecting data but hardly anyone is generating significant business value from the data. At Dell, we’ve used the data mined in social media to make improvements to products and, using our Think Tank format, to have conversations with customers about topics they are passionate about. To help distill these social media insights and sentiment, Dell is using a new tool we created called Social Net Advocacy (SNA). SNA is fed by several data sources and enables us to measure the advocacy that each product enjoys in the marketplace and funnel that information back to the group responsible for that product. Rajiv Narang, Executive Director, Social Media & Marketing Optimization at Dell explains more here
  • Engagement: For us at Dell, employees engaging with the online community and that starts by educating them on the foundational pieces like our social media policy and guidelines. Once employees are trained, we encourage them to engage in the online communties. Recently, Liz Bullock and I were interviewed on the topic of Dell’s social media strategy and training programs, which you can view here. We have several programs in place to cultivate relationships in online communities and tools to measure those programs including Appinions and Radian6.  One of our biggest successes has been the Social Media Command Center which monitors online conversations about Dell all over the world. Maribel Sierra, Director of Social Media Services at Dell, talks about it here. In 2012 we partnered with The Red Cross and Clemson University to develop Social Media Listening Centers in partnership with Radian6.

SXSW has a long history of being on the cutting edge of social media, music and film and this year was no exception. The conversations have evolved over the years from technology, with the launch of Twitter in 2007, to the Age of the Consumer this year.