SAP on its SAPPHIRE annual event: "SAP wanted to take this live event and make it virtual"

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192_0906 note: live reporting from Philadelphia, Pa.

SAP is one of the founding members of the Social Media Business Council. On November 9, SAP was hosting Blogwell, SMBC's open event dedicated to social media in which each presentation (8 in total) is delivered by a SMBC member.

The opening presentation by SAP was dedicated to spicing up events with social media. SAP began working on its community 7 years ago, and it now comprises 2 million members. This community is about engaging with clients and starting conversations. The SAP presentation was delivered by Brian Ellefritz, Global Social Media Marketing at SAP. Brian is a former Cisco representative and joined SAP to head their global Social media team. He is a seasoned Internet expert.

Very few in the audience had tried live video when Brian asked the question. So this kind of Social Media usage added to live events is still very new to many professionals (note: Orange Business Services is doing this quite regularly in all regions, check the http://orangebusiness.posterous.com live blog for details).

Context

Sapphirenow is SAP's most important sales event, it's about a decade old. In 2010 SAP organised two events in Germany and Orlando at the same time, that was quite ambitious. Social media took a big part in that event. The objective was to treat the audience as peers, not recipients and showcase SAP as a savvy user of social media. They had done something the year before but they wanted to move beyond that in 2010. SAP wanted to "take this live event and make it virtual". "SAP had more bandwidth than CNN" during that event Brian added.

The social media Ambassador concept

Influencers, customers, partners were going to be active pushing the news that they were being told. SAP also wanted to talk to those who couldn't be there. The way it played out was that most of the content was pushed to Twitter in realtime. The stream started in Germany in the morning and was taken over by Orlando in the afternoon. The Sapphirenow twitter feed was central to that event. Giant touch screens were also implemented.

The ambassador programme was started 2 months in advance. 6 topics were selected, and 6 ambassadors per location were recruited. They had to have large followings and had to be comfortable with social media and have a set of skills which fit in the programme. The initial expectation was 2 blog posts a day. Flip cameras were given and SAP explained what their expectations were. "permisssion forms" were signed and social media business cards were handed out to people as a courtesy. An audit was given to an impartial agency in order to "assess whether that was impactful or chaos!" The outcome was 1.5 million views in Twitter reach (tweetreach.com), 41 blog posts written in 3 days, 152 videos were uploaded and 15,506 video views generated.

Lessons learnt

  • Picking personal or business account was an issue
  • Broad diversity of skills, it was very challenging (some didn't know what Twitter was)
  • hastags were an issue (should we have one, one per topic etc.)
  • video "live" blogging: the camera team was just overwhelmed with too many cameras being brought to them and it was chaos
  • Once underway, "it's just like one giant mashup !"
  • over time, we "stopped concentrating on the number of tweets and blog posts and starting enjoying the live experience" Brian added

The "1.5 million reach" Brian added when asked about what numbers really meant "is when management stops asking question" and the value is when you stop talking about the numbers and when people and managers start seeing the value in the energy and dedication put behind the event and the endeavour.

Yann Gourvennec

I specialize in information systems, HighTech marketing and Web marketing. I am author and contributor to numerous books and the CEO of Visionary Marketing. As such, I contribute regularly on this blog for Orange Business Services account on cloud computing and cloud storage topics.