Dell corporate social media training activities in Europe (photo taken at Dell by Sheila Scarborough)A giant paper map of the world, with push pins.

Yeah, pretty analog, right?

This map of Europe with the pins represents how Dell is becoming a “socialprise“….an enterprise that is adopting social communications across the entire organization and for all employees.

The pushpins represent Dell social media training sessions and other events across the globe that are making that happen (5,000+ people trained already.)  From discussions with senior Dell folks, their plan is to….

“Embed social media and community across the fabric of the company”

This is a huge cultural shift for any corporation, the implications of which are sometimes not really even recognized by the very people that are implementing such a vision.  I’ll watch it with great interest.

In the December Tourism Currents newsletter,  we had some thoughts about what tourism and hospitality professionals can take away from Dell’s listening/engagement efforts. Here’s what we said:

**  New media is not so “new” any more. Yes, it might still be new to many, but it is most definitely a mainstream communications channel and feedback mechanism, like phones and email.  To be blunt, if you are a professional communicator in any capacity, some knowledge of social media is now a core competency.

**  Social media has value, and deserves resources and attention. You don’t necessarily have to shell out for the sophisticated (and expensive) Radian 6 suite that Dell is using. Regularly monitor a free combination of targeted Google Alerts, keywords on Facebook and Twitter plus the basics like knowing when someone links to you in a blog post, and you’ll probably be just fine. Our online course Lesson One is all about how to listen.

**  Train your entire organization. Sure, Dell has a core social media listening team that interacts with their internal customer support and technical people, but they have also held worldwide social media training for over 5,000 employees, with a lot more to come. You can do the same; bust the knowledge silos and give people the information they need to be advocates for your destination. Ensuring a “Wow!” visitor experience is everyone’s job in tourism and hospitality.

**  Not paying attention to what your visitors are saying is a major missed opportunity. Competitors are happy to take advantage of their peers who are not listening and engaging.  I can’t go into details, but you can bet that Dell is listening to what people are saying in social media about Dell’s competitors. Is the next town, city, state or province over from you connecting with visitors online and you are not?

I learned a lot from looking at a paper map yesterday.

Here is Dell’s video from the event (I have a small blurb in it) with more about what this means. Here’s the direct link on YouTube if the embed box doesn’t work.

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