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Dell's social media head tells SMEs to start talking online

Friday, 22 February 2013 | By Patrick Stafford

Businesses shouldn’t wait to hear noise about their brand on social media in order to start a conversation, but instead should look to engage in commentary about their industry, Dell’s head of social media has urged Australian SMEs.

 

Richard Margetic, who heads up Dell’s global social media operations, told SmartCompany in an interview too many small businesses wait to speak out on social media. Instead, he argues, they should look for commentary about their industry and start from there.

 

“The fact is, social media is the new word-of-mouth and there is more content being generated in your industry by users in social media then there is in the industry itself,” he says.

 

“If you don’t feel like word-of-mouth is important, then you should at least think staying on top of industry discussion is. All of that discussion can be gathered with a minimal amount of resources and virtually no dollar investment.”

 

Margetic has been in charge of developing the company’s social media presence, which has grown to become one of the more sophisticated among large corporates.

 

The company has trained thousands of users in how to handle social media, and monitors around 25,000 mentions of the company a day on multiple platforms.

 

Margetic says smaller businesses need to speak out about their industry, whether in conversations about a specific issue or even just creating conversation among industry peers which others will find interesting.

 

“The industries we’re involved in magnify these conversations tenfold. So if you want to bring differentiation, you need to get involved in those conversations.”

 

“You don’t want to spam those conversations, or bring marketing messages into them, or bring some sort of differentiation, but you want to highlight your brand and acknowledge it while commenting.”

 

“Don’t just want for your brand to be mentioned, but engage.”

 

Margetic says conversation online isn’t just how many times the company is mentioned, but rather how businesses can turn those mentions into something positive.

 

“The key aspect is simply listening,” he says.

 

“But you need to create insights out of what you hear. Using that, we can prioritise platforms we’re going to focus on, and so on. The listening on social media helps us focus.”

 

Dell has been able to translate some of its social media speak into sales, but Margetic says businesses wanting to capture ROI from social media need to rethink their strategy.

 

“The biggest impact on sales doesn’t happen on social, it happens offline. Social media is all about relationship marketing, so that’s where you need to put your focus.”

 

The social media industry has been buzzing this week after a number of high-profile hacks affecting Burger King and Jeep on Twitter. Both companies had their accounts hacked and their logos changed.

 

Margetic says the incidents serve as a key warning for SMEs – monitoring your social media accounts constantly will reduce the time during which these attacks can occur.

 

“There is a sense there were not processes in place at those companies, or they just didn’t understand.”

 

“At Dell, we use policies and processes to be protected, but we also have the ability to understand immediately if we are being hacked. Businesses need to have those processes behind the scenes.”

 

This story first appeared on SmartCompany.