Dell has been using social media platforms such as Twitter rather successfully for quite some time as a customer relationship management and communications platform. However, this is (I think) the first time, they are using it from a sales/customer acquisition angle and I think it is a very well thought out and executed social media campaign – www.dellswarm.com.
The campaign plays upon the idea of group purchases - where the more people group together to buy something, the lower it drives the per unit purchase price. Not a new concept but Dell makes use of a combination of social media elements (facebook,twitter, referral emails and SMS) to get individuals who do not even know each other but have the intention to purchase similar items together to make the purchase.
This is how it works - 1 user starts by joining a swarm (for a specific featured product) to enjoy a price lower than Dell.com’s best discounted price. As more and more users join the swarm to buy, the price reduces. The swarm closes after 72 hours or when 15 users have joined (which results in the lowest possible price for the product).
Users can tell others about the swarm through a referral email, facebook, twitter and other social bookmarking tools and follow a particular swarm via email alerts, SMS or Twitter.