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As customers flock to social media to research purchases, seek help from brands, and chat with each other about what they like (and don’t like) about certain companies, a comprehensive, real-time social presence has become table stakes.

The question is, even with a small army of channel managers, digital strategists, content marketing whizzes, field marketers, and marketing analysts, how can a company know that its social efforts are supporting the business’s most important goals?

That’s the quandary we faced at SAP, where we began a formalized, branded social program in 2009. In those heady early years, we worked hard to ensure our social media apparatus reflected the spirit of innovation that has served as our company’s core since its foundation in 1972.

The good news? Social adoption spread quickly throughout our entire global organization. The not-so-good news? It spread so quickly that we realized we didn’t have a way to manage SAP’s many accounts in a strategic, intelligent way.

With 1,200 social accounts to oversee (we used a hub a spoke model where day-to-day management was distributed), we risked missing out on important trends in customer conversations/interests, and as a result, opportunities to have personalized, interactive conversations with our most important audience.

We knew we needed to build our skills in this area, and in 2012 we partnered with Sprinklr to manage our social media program in a more holistic way to better manage and measure our paid, owned, and earned social initiatives.


Unified Platform, Uniting Goals, Unifying Action 

With the entire global social team using a single, unified platform, we could all commit to the same goals and monitor performance against them in a consistent manner.

Now, we can check the health of our social accounts across standard key performance indicators (KPIs). In order to earn the right to remain “open,” an account must meet or exceed its social KPIs each year.

And to facilitate day-to-day communications between teams, our social media managers for smaller teams – such as a product or a region – can submit their content for consideration to be published on our coveted, biggest branded social channels within the Sprinklr platform. This allows us to avoid long email chains, and makes it much easier to collaborate across different business units within SAP.


Deriving Insights from Customers, Competitors, and the Market

In addition to understanding the health of our social media accounts through an enterprise-wide, goal-based approach, we’ve also tapped into Sprinklr to understand our earned media presence on social channels.

The key business questions we are able to answer include: (1) where are the earned conversations happening? (2) what are the key emerging topics and themes? (3) to what degree is the brand driving the conversations? (4) who are the influencers, advocates, and detractors? (5) how do we stack up against our competitors? and (6) lastly, and most important, how is our brand narrative echoing in conversations as the red thread?


Positive Results, Bright Future

Through SAP’s data-driven approach to leveraging Sprinklr, we’ve successfully aligned our content to the brand narrative, published content that resonates with our audiences by channel, and created digital savvy marketers. These efforts have generated great results against immediate business objectives and KPIs, including meeting or exceeding global targets for: brand association with “digitizes and transforms my business,” owned media interaction rates, and earned media social media conversations.

It’s important to note that we broke from a key competitor with 3 million more earned social mentions, despite 1 million fewer followers on our branded channels, through a steadier drum beat of conversations and owned media channels that serves up content that resonate with our audience – and aligns with our brand narrative.

We’ve also made great strides towards our long-term strategic objectives by: (1) creating the marketing organization of the future with a 4X increase in modern marketers who are leveraging digital media insights to make data-driven decisions, and (2) being a top 10 brand through YoY increases in both BrandZ Most Valuable Brands and Interbrand’s Most Valuable Brands.


Secret to Success

We’re often asked how best to transform an organization. There are a few key guiding principles that hold true:

  • Have a clearly defined strategic objective
  • Involve the right people
  • Align all communications to the brand narrative and be authentic on social channels
  • Identify the right metrics and benchmarks
  • Keep Learning
  • Have fun!


For more information about SAP’s data—driven strategies for social media see the video and case study.


Gail Moody-Byrd is vp of web marketing at SAP.


Jerry Nichols is head of data-driven marketing at SAP.

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