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Author's profile photo Former Member

How I Found The Answer To The Million Dollar Social Media Question

The Social Shake-Up, one of the key events for social media thought leadership, is a big deal for us at SAP. We’re the Presenting Sponsor this year, and will be hosting a whole bunch of sessions, panels, presentations, etc. with thought leaders and customers.  Really exciting stuff, and I am thrilled to be part of this.

Ah, yes, the Million Dollar question…When it was time to come up with ideas for sessions for the event, I quickly ruled out the most obvious alternative – me getting up on stage and talking about Social Media to an audience that is collectively so much more versed in all things Social than I could ever be. Instead, I invited four amazing thought leaders to join me for a discussion panel, and I am excited to welcome Anneke Seley, Natascha Thomson, Emily Yellin and Brian Vellmure to hear their thoughts on… on what? That was the Million Dollar Question!

To find the best answer to this question, I talked the talk and walked the walk: I put  Social Media to the test and polled the event attendees (and other interested individuals) on which topic we should delve into during this panel discussion. The panelists were all up for this experiment, and we came up with three interesting alternatives:

  • Digital customer service in the social age: Ownership, strategy and outcomes
  • Can you build a better advocate through social media?
  • Tangible business results – Can you measure the financial impact of social media?

Needless to say that this was unchartered ground: What if we ended up with no clear winner? What happens if noone cares to take the poll?

Turns out that my concerns were entirely baseless. The poll was up for 4 days, and when it closed, it had over 4,200 hits! What a great litmus test for the power of social media! Leveraging a few key multipliers was obviously key to getting maximum exposure – we sent out the original tweet from our SAP Cloud for Social Twitter handle (1,300+ followers), it was retweeted by our panelists to a collective 22k followers, and by the event organizer Social Media Today to a whopping 210k followers.

SMT retweet.jpg

Not only were people choosing their favorite topic in the poll itself, some of them also began to talk about it online – thus showing real engagement:

Poll mention tweet.jpg

Needless to say that I can’t wait to meet all these people at the Social Shake Up event to continue the conversation.

The poll results speak a clear language, and are certainly worth some thoughts:


  • It is obvious to me that building (customer) advocacy is top of mind, and my take on the results is that this task still remains unresolved – be it that Social Media still enjoys a certain  “newness” factor in this context, or be it that the whole topic around advocacy is still more aspiration than reality. I’ll try to find out from the panelists.
  • Apparently, customer service in the social age poses a smaller challenge compared to the other two areas. Is that because the topic is solved, and ownership, strategy and outcomes are clear? Or is it because compared to the other options, it is a secondary thought, since customer service via social media is still an afterthought? Personally, I don’t think so.

I can’t wait for the panel discussion to take place on Tuesday, 9/17. If you’re attending the event in person, make sure to stop by and attend the session if you can. If not, you can follow the Twitter hashtags #socialshakeup and #ssuadvocate throughout the event, and follow me @kaipetzelt for further updates.

I will post another blog after the event to share the conversation around the million dollar social media question, and, links to the digital snippets surrounding the topic.

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      Author's profile photo Margot Heiligman
      Margot Heiligman

      Kai, this is a really fun way to engage your social audience and create something meaningful at the same time!  I'm sure its going to make the event that much more enjoyable for the participants.  It seemed to really resonate with your audience without being overly complicated.  Perhaps those are the right ingredients for success!  Look forward to hearing how the panel goes next week, too!

      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      Kai, great blog.

      Personally, I am glad my favorite topic won and I really look forward to "shaking it up" in Atlanta.



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      Author's profile photo Former Member
      Former Member

      This is a great example of crowdsourcing agenda topics. I'm looking forward to the wrap-up blog on the panel discussion. I wish I could've been in ATL - it looked (virtually) like an amazing event.