ROUND ROCK, Texas: Dell, the world's second biggest computer manufacturer, has made $3 million (€2.2m; £1.8m) in revenues through its activity on Twitter, the online microblogging service, and argues the "immediacy" of the social media site has been key to driving these sales.

While many brands have been attracted to social media websites like Twitter as they try and engage consumers, it has been observable that few have successfully demonstrated that such activities have produced a financial return.

Having established an official presence on the fast-growing web portal in 2007, Dell has since started to sell returned or refurbished PCs and equipment through its @DellOutlet channel.

According to Stefanie Nelson, one of the IT giant's Twitter administrators, it has recently "surpassed $2 million in revenue in terms of Dell Outlet sales" in the last year, including $1m in the last six months.

This has built on a further $1m taken prior to this period, and Nelson added that "we're also seeing that it's driving interest in new product as well."

The company makes between six and ten "tweets" each week, varying from offering web-only discounts to answering questions from customers, who can also click through to its own website to buy products.

Richard Binhammer, Dell's director of corporate communications, said that "if all of a sudden I have 15 new flatscreens that have popped into Dell Outlet because they've been returned … I can now move them very quickly on Twitter."

"It becomes a very effective way to move the inventory very quickly because of the immediacy of Twitter," he continued. 

Allen Weiner, an analyst at Gartner, argued that Dell's example "demonstrated one of the ways Twitter can begin to think of itself as a money-making operation."

If the social media site can effectively build such a service into its overall offering to corporate users, it could then charge them to distribute coupons or facilitate transactions, he said.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal/Reuters; additional content by WARC staff