A staff of experts, a focused audience (IT professionals), a concentration on the technical and dedication to content are the foundation Dell TechCenter, an online community for Dell Enterprise products, was built on. To ensure that our members get the content that they want, we avoided heavy marketing language and removed access barriers.
This combined approach must be working, because the publically available Dell TechCenter forum averages around 350,000 unique visits and 800,000 views per month. Even though registration isn’t required, there are over 10,500 registered users. As online communities go, that’s significant.
And the secret sauce? We aim to be open and authentic in all our dealings with our users — in content, online chat sessions and in our social media communications.
In addition to those values, TechCenter provides the following to assist and engage our customers:
- Dell TechCenter Wiki (like Wikipedia) for Dell Enterprise products. We provide technical content on the full gamut of server technologies, including storage, systems management, virtualization, networking, client management, blade systems, and so on.
- Hour-long, weekly Tech Tuesday chat room sessions at 3PM CST where we invite customers to chat with the Dell folks who work behind the scenes for an in-depth look into Dell products.
- Discussion forum for Dell Enterprise products, where we share best practices, give advice, and answer general questions.
- Best practices and pre-sales information about Dell products in the discussion forum.
- Blog posts about the topics our customers care about on the Dell TechCenter Blog.
- Hands-on, how-to videos on the Wiki and in our YouTube channel.
We’ve learned a lot since starting TechCenter a little over 5 years ago. We know that, although many people (90%) view content, only about one-tenth (9%) edit or modify the content, and only a tiny fraction (1%) of those actually create content online, according to Wikipedia.
To reward and hopefully grow that one percent we’ve started a TechCenter Rockstars program. Rockstars are community members who are independent experts and enthusiasts. Rockstars been recognized by their peers for solving technical issues, providing ideas and leadership, and for helping customers learn about — and get the most from — Dell products and services.
To become a Rockstar, you can be nominated by a Dell employee, a peer, or you can nominate yourself. After a nomination is made, we invite people to join based on how they exhibit the following qualities:
- Participation in the community
- High-quality contributions
- Community impact
- Respected by peers
Being a TechCenter Rockstar comes with benefits:
- Early Access to Information (NDA)
- Private forum
- Badge/Community designation
- Special Invites to events, like Dell World
Join us at Dell World and meet some of our TechCenter Rockstars. Or become a Rockstar yourself.
Jeff Sullivan is responsible for strategy, development and operations of Dell's commercial (B2B) communities and social media team. Properties include www.delltechcenter.com, Ideastorm.com, Enterpriseefficiency.com, Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare, LinkedIn, and more. Jeff's Twitter profile says his interests are: Storage/Linux/Baseball/BBQ/Poker/Shiny things. You can follow Jeff on Twitter @JeffSullivan, and, if you look at his Twitter profile page, you can see photos of Jeff wakeboarding.