NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- Bob Pearson, who led Dell's pioneering social-media team, has left the computing giant to become president of Blog Council, a privately run forum for Fortune 1,000 marketers such as Walmart, P&G and Home Depot to share best practices in social media.
Mr. Pearson, who held the title of VP-communities and conversations at Dell, lead a social department of 42 people. Some of those people are being integrated into other business units following his departure -- a move he said had been planned since 2006 -- while marketing director Liana Frey will take over from him and run a "core" social-media team.
Under Mr. Pearson the team developed monitoring tools to find customers who were disgruntled or having problems with their Dell equipment and synced up with a tech-support team to help those customers. It also ran 25 blogs and websites around the world, and used social media to collect ideas from both customers and employees that would help influence Dell's next generation of products.
The organization Mr. Pearson is joining, Blog Council, is essentially a community of senior social-media executives that was created last year by Andy Sernovitz, former CEO of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Members pay $10,000 a year to be part of the organization, and in return get access to each other, to events and to information such as case studies and measurement research. It has 45 members, including Walmart, Microsoft and Coca-Cola Co.
Mr. Pearson said he sees his role at Blog Council as a chance to help other companies harness social media in some of the ways Dell has and to turn social media into a corporate function, such as marketing or finance, in its own right.
"Social media is on its way to becoming a fully fledged discipline in some companies," he said. "It can have a real impact on tech support and customer service, on e-commerce, on tracking and working on your company's reputation and can influence the next generation of products and services.
"There are still many large businesses that are asking questions as basic as 'How do we start to get involved in social media?'" Mr. Pearson said. But he also said there are quite a few who are realizing that Twitter, for example, may be a more effective way than e-mail to alert customers to special offers, or that they can use a community platform as an effective way to communicate with large business-to-business customers.
Mr. Sernovitz said: "If you're Home Depot, and you've got 150,000 employees, half of whom are on Facebook, you had better be thinking about this. Social media is no longer experimental, and Bob's practical experience will help our members implement effective programs in this area."
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