Jason Duty, Dell’s director of global social outreach services, says that social media for brands is no longer the Wild West: an ungoverned, new frontier. Instead, he says, it’s more like the Blob: all encompassing, slowly taking over the world and sort of sticky when you get into it.

In his presentation at our word-of-mouth marketing conference in Austin, Texas, Duty explains that at Dell, the company finds ways to turn the Blob into a proactive customer-service tool by joining conversations people are already having about Dell. And because engaging can be intimidating for anyone, Duty shares how companies can do it the right way — the way that earns fans and wins over critics.

Some important tips Duty shares in his presentation:

  • First, understand the rules of the road. Before you jump in, know how the community feels about your company. Read the threads in a discussion group, study their guidelines and learn as much as you can about the culture and context.
  • Learn these 10 magic words. “Hi, my name is (blank), and I work for (blank).” Disclose who you work for, because it’s not only the law, it’s also how you earn trust and respect. Duty says social media is like an elephant: It doesn’t forget (especially when you mess up).
  • Avoid being mistaken for a robot. Duty shares ways his team at Dell shows its personal side and the reason that’s important. He says to earn fans, you can’t just shoot out marketing messages — you have to let people know you’re real.

Watch Duty’s presentation from our word-of-mouth marketing conference.

Slides are available.

If you like this presentation, find more videos like it at WordofMouth.org.

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