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Andy’s Answers: What SAP has learned through 8 years of social media engagement

At BlogWell, we often hear about launching programs, taking first steps and early results from new experiments. But in his presentation, SAP’s Mark Yolton took us behind the scenes of the company’s 8-year-old social media program to show us the patterns, models and methodologies that have evolved over time.

Yolton walked us through the fundamentals the company has learned in building a community of more than 2.5 million members with 8,000 active bloggers (70% of whom are not SAP employees) — all generating more than 4,000 posts a day on more than 360 forums.

A few of his big ideas:

  • Social media is an ecosystem. SAP’s strategy is based on an ecosystem approach. At the center is SAP.com — where they control the message. Close to this live hosted communities, followed by public forums such as Facebook and Twitter. And finally, they focus on participating in external communities such as BNET, Forbes and CNNMoney.
  • Community engagement requires orchestration. SAP focuses on content (sources, coaching, tagging), cadence (timing) and conversations (monitoring and responding, identifying influencers, and supporting collaboration).
  • Measurement and metrics have to align with your business objectives. Yolton explained that this fundamental is how he’s able to repeatedly define and demonstrate the ROI for what they do: They measure what matters to their business. For example, if the company is looking to attract loyal customers, then it is measuring customer loyalty.

Watch Yolton’s case study. Slides are available.