Editor’s Note: Bob Pearson, the former vice president of communities and conversations at Dell, recently left his post to become president of The Blog Council, an organization that represents the heads of social media at 45 major corporations including Cisco, Dell, Microsoft, Wells Fargo, The Home Depot, Procter & Gamble and Wal-Mart.
Pearson is widely known as the leader of one of the first major social media programs at a global enterprise. His work at Dell is considered the model for how big businesses should work with blogs, communities and other social media. In many ways, his move to The Blog Council symbolizes the significant acceleration of major companies adopting social media techniques and tools throughout their organizations.
I recently chatted with Bob about his personal goals and how he sees blogs and social media evolving with business. Here are highlights from the discussion:
Melissa Campanelli: Tell me about your new position at The Blog Council. What are your goals for the organization?
Bob Pearson: What we are all here to do in The Blog Council is accelerate the sharing of best practices. A big trend we see now is that people are realizing social media is actually becoming a discipline, no different than marketing, communications, HR or finance. And, it can be embedded and used throughout an entire organization. So the intensity of sharing best practices and learning is key.
This is what drove me to The Blog Council. At Dell, we were certainly doing a decent job of building out a social media capability worldwide, and this just seemed like a natural continuation to do it on an industrywide scale with peers.
The changes going on in the market are amazing. There are 500,000 people going online every day for the first time in their lives; YouTube is the second largest search engine (if separated out on its own); and the way people search, buy and interact with each other before they make purchases is evolving rapidly.
MC: I understand you’re involved with TWTRCON. What is the idea behind this event (being held May 31 in San Francisco), and why should marketers be interested in it?
BP: I’m excited about this conference because I think Twitter is much more significant than most people realize today. It’s getting a lot of attention as a microblogging tool, and people are intrigued by it. But what they are probably not spending enough time thinking about is the idea that tools like Twitter can ultimately replace e-mail.
Here’s why: Customers can get the information they want, at the time they want it and in the account they want it in, rather than getting stuff in their inboxes they don’t want even though they have supposedly opted in for it.
MC: Can you offer our readers any examples of social media leaders?
BP: A leader in the practice of using social media to communicate with customers is Tony Hsieh and Zappos (@zappos), of course. Another good example is the Dell Outlet (@delloutlet), which has over 380,000 followers to its Twitter account. The Dell Outlet sells products directly through Twitter, and even offers exclusive Twitter discounts.
I’m also intrigued by what companies such as Ford and General Motors are doing. Scott Monty (@scottmonty), the head of social media at Ford, is doing an excellent job of using social media to pass along information about Ford to its customers. Chris Barger (@cbarger), director of social media at General Motors, is also doing a great job.
Reach Bob Pearson via Twitter at @bobpearson1845.