PC retail giant Dell has confirmed that Twitter has contributed $6.5 Million in sales to the company’s total revenue, since it first began Tweeting 2 years ago – that’s about $3.25 million annually. While it may not seem like a significant revenue stream – in light of Dell’s $61 Billion in sales during 2008 alone – it does represent an incremental revenue stream generated with a minimal investment. As proposed by Fast Company,
How little did it cost Dell to send out those Tweets? It’s got 100 employees Twittering in total, over 35 different Dell user identities. We can imagine that these guys are busily involved in Dell’s greater PR effort, so they don’t spend 40 hours a week Twittering. Imagining they spend 20% of their time writing Tweets, and factoring in a bit of basic math about wages etc, we can guess it cost Dell about $500,000 in man-hours per year to address its Twitter audience (and man-hours are about the only cost associated with using Twitter). That equates to a 1,300% return on investment when you look at the sales the effort has generated–a staggering figure. Assuming Twitter’s popularity continues to rise dramatically, and knowing Dell’s costs of Tweeting aren’t going to rise as fast, that number is only likely to get better and better.
Dell will likely continue to evaluate its Twitter and social media strategy within its holistic PR efforts – and to ensure that it doesn’t bore its captive audience. And if they’re honest – so will every other brand utilizing Twitter and other social media – this space will continue to evolve as individuals redefine the role it plays in their digital lives. In the meantime, Dell’s success serves as another example of a brand that has managed to monetize its presence on Twitter – with minimal investment.