Despite its market-share shortcomings, Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) has made the most of social media as the means to nearly free publicity.

In an official Direct2Dell blog entry this week, the company lays out some impressive numbers of its achievements in social media.

  • It has a global community of 3.5 million registered users across all social-media sites.
  • Dell has attracted more than a million views to its page of Yahoo!'s (NASDAQ:YHOO) Flickr photo-sharing site.     
  • Its video blog channel on Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) YouTube has attracted nearly 140,000 views.  

However, Dell's most impressive achievements have come through Twitter, where the PC manufacturer has 1.47 million bargain-sniffing followers through its @DellOutlet page. Dell's outreach efforts through Twitter have resulted in $6.5 million in revenue. Region-specific Twitter pages have also smoked out sales with $800,000 in Brazil and $150,000 in Canada.

It's open to debate whether the $6.5 million in revenue is truly incremental. The company has no shortage of access to previous customers, especially when it has bargains to move, but it's undeniable that having a free mouthpiece to directly reach 1.47 million followers -- and counting -- is better than not having a presence on Twitter at all.

A lot has been said about Twitter's lack of self-monetization. The site may have an inevitable date with ad-supported posts and premium accounts, but for now it's up to enterprising companies to get mileage out of Twitter. Amazon.com (NASDAQ:AMZN) threw a bone to affiliate marketers last month, making it practically seamless to promote commission-generating wares through Twitter.

Dell isn't the only computer company using Twitter to connect with its users. Hewlett-Packard (NYSE:HPQ) runs @HPNews, though it's much smaller in scope -- and HP isn't pushing out blog entries with meaty data. Dell's boastings will naturally attract even more companies to Twitter to move excess supply, but there's nothing wrong with that.

Companies should never look a gift cash cow in the mouth.

Some other cool gems in 140 characters or fewer:

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Google is a Motley Fool Rule Breakers pick. Amazon.com is a Motley Fool Stock Advisor recommendation. Dell is a Motley Fool Inside Value selection. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days.

Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz remembers when Web 2.0 was an afterthought. He owns no shares in any of the companies in this story. He is also a member of the Rule Breakers analytical team, seeking out the next great growth stock early in its defiance. The Fool has a disclosure policy.