Dell Made $3M Using Twitter, and So Can You. How to Justify a Significant Investment in Social Media.

June 12, 2009 by Lisa Oshima | Enterprise, Monetization, Research, Social Media

Having trouble convincing your organization to invest in social media?  You’re not the only one.  Many of my prospective clients are in the same boat.  They understand that social media can be used to help their organization grow and manage customer perception, but unable to estimate a realistic return on investment grounded in a real-life case study, they have trouble rationalizing a significant investment in social media.  Unfortunately, there aren’t enough companies that measure AND talk openly about the dollar-value ROI of their social media investment.

One company that is talking openly about their social media ROI is Dell, who today announced that since June of 2007, they’ve earned more than $3 Million in revenue via Twitter alone.  Dell uses Twitter to actively promote it’s online outlet store on Twitter (@DellOutlet) and answer customer queries.  Dell offers refurbished Dell products in its outlet store.  Because the number of available refurbished units fluctuates, prior to Dell’s active Tweeting, it was difficult for users to find out when new product were available or on sale… Customers were discovering most deals at the Dell Outlet based on chance. Twitter is proving a great way for Dell to inform customers of new buying opportunities.

Dell now has more than 626,000 followers on Twitter and has realized more than $2 million in sales in the Dell Outlet from people who have clicked on links in their tweets. Even better, they’ve seen a further $1 million in sales revenue from people who initially clicked on a DellOutlet link in Twitter and later went on to purchase something from elsewhere on

In the announcement today on Dell’s blog, @StefanieAtDell describes how they grew the number of Dell’s followers on Twitter from 11,000 to over 600,000 in just three months by providing more Twitter-exclusive offers to the Dell Outlet, which were frequently re-tweeted.  Check out the graph:

@DellOutlet followers

@DellOutlet followers. Source:

While @DellOutlet is the most popular Dell Twitter property, Dell is also promoting its US products and offers through @DellHomeOffers and @DellSmBizOffers.  They’ve also regionalized their tweets to target users in other geographies:

Today, Dell gave companies everywhere 3 million good reasons to invest in Twitter, but Twitter is just the tip of the social media iceberg.  When developing a social media marketing strategy for your company, don’t just Twitter… Evaluate the many social media channels and invest in those that make the most sense for you.  Consider your target demographic and develop social marketing campaigns that address the groups and geographies you most want to engage.  Forrester Analyst, Jeremiah Owyang provides one of the most up-to-date directories of social media statistics I’ve seen to date.

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  • Paul L

    Very helpful post – thanks Lisa! I’m in the market for a new laptop and I’ll give this a look.

  • Paul L

    Very helpful post – thanks Lisa! I'm in the market for a new laptop and I'll give this a look.



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