Twitter is one of the newest emerging social media technologies out there, and we've seen quite a lot of debate already over whether it will end up being a flash-in-the-pan trend or a long-lasting success. Dell added another vote to the 'long-lasting success' column when it announced that, to date, it has accumulated over 3 million dollars in earnings as a result of Twitter.
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Most of that money came from Dell releasing coupons and sale information to their 624,000+ Twitter followers. Since January the Dell Outlet has made more than 1 million dollars from customers who visited the site through a Twitter link. It's always heartening to see a major corporation looking for creative ways to generate revenue through a new media outlet. Dell jumped on the Twitter bandwagon right off the bat, and they have more than 200 employees whose job it is to answer questions and give out information to customers over Twitter.
Dell has also used Twitter as a fast and cheap way to do market research. Their notebook team has kept up a continuing dialogue with Twitter users in order to see what changes consumers want. They're also asking their Twitter followers for suggestions about future changes and features needed for their upcoming Mini notebooks. This is one of the most exciting things about Twitter for me. A closer rapport between consumers and corporations means better quality products for all of us.
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While Dell has been raking in the dough, Twitter itself hasn't made a dime off of their sales and free marketing. That's a problem for Twitter, and they've stated that they are looking at ways to offer 'official' accounts to corporations with things like Twitter-based revenue tracking in exchange for a small fee. Dell seems ambivalent about the idea of paying for what is currently a free service, but as long as Twitter makes the cost of a corporate account low I can't see Dell giving up the revenue stream they've established.