Tap “social ecosystem” into Google and you’ll come up with a variety of posts about the myriad of social tools available that organisations can use to build social communities. I disagree. For me the “social ecosystem” isn’t about the social media channels e.g. Twitter, Facebook etc. It’s about the surrounding networks that can help contribute and add value to the social conversation.
It involves thinking beyond the scope of the communities managed directly by the organisation and involving other networks including partners, employees, customers, consultants and analysts to better serve the customer.
Luis Suarez from IBM summarizes this concept brilliantly (on a side note, this guy is pretty awesome in my eyes after he decided to stop using email a few years ago and just rely on social media!) He argues that even competitors should be part of the social ecosystem.
Why? Because “…they, too, are part of the conversation. Your conversation. Our conversation.”…but that’s another blog post. The social ecosystem becomes an extension of the communities you manage but like any natural living ecosystem, it needs to be fed and nurtured in order to thrive.
SAP has long believed in the value of the partner ecosystem. They overlay a wealth of local experience, industry expertise and innovation over the SAP portfolio in order to address unique business needs. That’s why they are integrated into the SAPPHIRE NOW story and that’s why they need to be included in the social media strategy for SAPPHIRE NOW Madrid.
This year we’ve dedicated a social media ambassador to this community called Phil Hofmann (@hofwatt). As outlined in his first blog post, his role is to discover how partners are co-innovating with SAP and how customers are benefiting from it and to communicate that to our virtual audiences. I’m sure he’ll also be attending a few parties and on the lookout for freebies along the way – like Kevin Cassidy’s “Swag Walk” at SAPPHIRE NOW from Orlando
I’m really looking forward to meeting our partners face-to-face in Madrid. Last year I attended SAPPHIRE NOW online due to a 9 month baby bump that prevented me from flying. This year I intend to be there and enjoy the fun in person.
Here are some of the things we’re doing to integrate our Partner Ecosystem into the SAPPHIRE NOW Social Media program:
- Social Training: Most of our partners have a social media presence so this training is less about the basics and more about how they can follow the conversations and start getting involved e.g. hashtags we’re using for the event, channels we’re using to publish content
- Social Guide: We produce a short PDF guide summarising the key things to remember when participating in social discussions at SAPPHIRE NOW and encourage them to take photos and create videos to help us promote their involvement.
- Twitter List: We’ve compiled a list on Twitter so that attendees can easily follow partner discussions in one place
- LinkedIn Discussions: This is the destination where partners can easily communicate their plan for SAPPHIRE NOW showcasing what makes them different, what they’ll be covering at the event and why customers work with them
Please leave a comment below – I would love to hear from partners and how they’re planning to get involved at SAPPHIRE NOW via social media or even some extra ideas on how we can extend the program!