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Author's profile photo Bonnie Richards

SAPPHIRE NOW Social Media: Submission for Forrester Groundswell Awards 2012

Award Name:    Forrester Groundswell Awards 2012

Category:          B2B: Talking     

Submitted by:   Bonnie Richards, Director, Social Media Strategic Services, SAP Digital, Social, and Communities team

How SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW Social Media Plan Fueled a Powerful Audience Experience

SAP’s SAPPHIRE NOW?  You may have heard of it.  It was just recently ranked as the Most Innovative Event of 2012 by BizBash, defeating the TED Conference and Oracle’s OpenWorld.  Many of our customers return year after year not only to learn about how they can transform their business with essential information and best practices but also to access the entire SAP ecosystem. Jonathan Becher, SAP CMO recently mentioned in an SCN Business Trend postSAP SAPPHIRE NOW Ranked Most Innovative Event of 2012 by BizBash, “SAPPHIRE NOW is a revenue-driving event but it’s also a perception driver.  We want people to walk away saying, ‘Wow – I didn’t know SAP did that.’  Our goal was to bring SAP’s innovation to life and this honor is evidence we succeeded.”

Over the last few years thru the use of Social Media and the SAP Virtual Event Platform the SAPPHIRE NOW experience has really evolved.  Brian Ellefritz, VP Social Media Strategic Services estimated in a conversation with Maggie Fox, the founder, CEO and Chief Marketing Officer of Social Media Group, that we shake up about 25% of our social and digital activities each year to keep things fresh and ensure that we’re remaining innovative and relevant.”

SAP, an already recognized leader in Social Media and Community, was centered on driving deep engagement and a powerful audience experience for Orlando and set aggressive social media goals to extend reach, engagement and experience for the 2012 SAPPHIRE NOW program.  With 10 social reporters covering the event through social posts, videos, and blogs across several social channels and their 2M+ member SCN Community, SAP began to build buzz 3 months prior to the event. SAP drove more momentum via 120 Partners and Exhibitors through special training and social tips. And they used Slideshare publishing, streaming live video on Facebook, and paid media campaigns to help drive their goals.  Guided by SAP’s always-on listening program, moderated conversations, and social reporters, SAP employed a variety of methods to drive engagement and deepen relationships including: Live #TweetChat (#SAPchat), carefully planned social reporter hashtag strategies, integration with their online virtual event platform, blogging on SAP’s Community Network (SCN), and integration into

Content performance was key: Evaluating content and tactics before, during and post event was a main focus for our Program Strategist, Channel Manager and Business Analyst who worked very closely together to post, reply, and moderate across all channels.  It was our goal to bring the onsite experience to remote attendees via our social channels.  In our 2012 Orlando Program it became clear a cultural shift to inbound marketing was in play and our audience was active, highly engaged, and responding like never before.

  • Over 6,000 social media engagements, an increase of 50% over previous year
  • Audience activation: 72% of content about the event was produced by the audience: almost 40,000 tweets, Facebook posts, YouTube videos and blogs, a 91% increase over 2011
  • 2 topic hashtags and 3 SAP executives trended on Twitter during their keynotes
  • Over 100 Million social Impressions, a 170% increase from 2011
  • 150,000 clicks to SAP content, 50% increase over 2011

The approach represents a flexible, innovative social media template SAP and other big B2B brands can use for their large scale events.  SAP Social Media Strategic Services team continues to evolve their work and innovate with new social and digital technologies and keep programs fresh. But when it comes down to it what really fuels the team is the deeper engagement,collaboration,and sharing we see our audience drive and experience.


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