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Andy’s Answers: How Dell is working to blend community and e-commerce

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Brands & Campaigns

My company, GasPedal, recently hosted BlogWell: How Big Brands Use Social Media, in San Francisco. The fantastic event featured eight case studies on corporate social media from some of the world’s biggest companies. As we gear up for our next BlogWell in Minneapolis on Aug. 13 — featuring case studies from McDonald’s, H&R Block, Wal-Mart, CME Group, General Mills, Ford, and Progressive — I’m sharing some key lessons from San Francisco.

Here’s what we learned from Lionel Menchaca, Dell’s chief blogger, who shared keys to Dell’s strategy for blending community and e-commerce:

  • Syndication is key. Dell’s communities see 600,000 visitors per quarter — an impressive number until you compare it to’s 100 million. To share their valuable community-generated content with a larger audience, they’re working to syndicate it across Dell’s corporate and sales sites.
  • Navigating between community and shopping sites should be seamless. Dell has begun implementing a single user-identification process to make it easy for visitors to move between Dell’s various sites.
  • Most customers aren’t social media experts. As Lionel puts it: Most customers don’t know the difference between a blog, a forum, and a wiki — and they shouldn’t have to. Dell has merged these elements into a single, simpler platform.