DANA POINT, CA: Dell, the information technology giant, is using insights gathered from social media to shape its broader digital marketing efforts, and vice versa, according to a leading executive at the company.

Ana Villegas, Dell's marketing director/North American Commercial Business, discussed its strategy at the 2014 Association of National Advertisers (ANA) Digital & Social Media Conference in Dana Point, California.

"Social has really become part of the DNA of the organisation. Where we are going next is: how can we keep growing our footprint?" she said.

“But, at the same time, we're integrating [social] with everything else that's going on … across marketing." (For more, including details of Dell's approach to tracking social ROI, read Warc's exclusive report: How Dell recovered from a disastrous social start.)

Generating impressive metrics on platforms like Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn is "great", she continued, but brand custodians must also look at "where [social] fits within everything else you're doing" in marketing. "You cannot work with social media in isolation," Villegas asserted.

Rather, it is essential to consider how this activity fits in with their other digital tactics, so as to ensure they are integrated and mutually supportive. And this requires assessing each channel carefully.

"What are you doing in search? What are you doing in lead generation? What is your email strategy? What is your print strategy? Your management strategy?" Villegas asked.

"It's a two-way street: you can use social to gather insights from how your customers … are engaging and talking about [your product] and driving your demand."

For Dell, the goal is to tap data and insights from social to influence its output in areas like paid search and the content of its marketing emails – and to use information yielded by these sources to impact its social strategy.

"Based on what [we] have learned from search and the keywords that customers are engaging [with] more, [we] make sure that those keywords are also something [we're] investing in on the social front," Villegas said.

Data sourced from Warc