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How SAP North America keeps its social team running

4 min read

Brands & Campaigns

The challenge is daunting: How do you juggle social media channels and 50 monthly promotional campaigns in 25 different industries?

Based in Germany, SAP is the largest business software company in the world, specializing in mobile, cloud and data applications that help global brands and businesses of all sizes run more efficiently. As our company slogan puts it, we help businesses “Run like never before.”

Moran shares this tweeting “Blueprint” with his SAP colleagues. Click to enlarge.

I lead a team that supports the social selling and content strategy of SAP North America, our largest region, which maintains its own distinct identity on more than 25 different social media channels. Picture yourself staring at a wall of 25 screens. How do you initiate, engage in and moderate that many conversation venues at once?

Thankfully, our team is not working alone.

As a way to immediately amplify SAP’s story, we  invite all our North American marketing staff to participate in “Social Media Office Hours” every Friday at 2 p.m. Our weekly social enablement call, which usually attracts 70 to 100 employees, is devoted to dissecting the best practices for LinkedIn, Twitter and blogs. We focus on the best tweets of the past week, as well as the most-clicked and -shared posts.

Similar to a journalism workshop, our marketing professionals practice writing headlines and reformatting their content to generate maximum attention. It’s all about teaching people how to fish. We need people thinking strategically before they press send. It’s now become muscle memory for people to think about social first.

We believe our nonstop management of social media should always be aimed at “owning the presale touch” and building a relationship with our customers with relevant content.

About 60% to 70% of potential customers are looking to get smart about their buying decision before they even start talking to us at SAP. They’re searching and clicking away before they start asking about buying. We need to find the best ways to get in front of that conversation. The most efficient way to do that is through social.

SAP North America’s social footprint has dramatically expanded over the past 18 months. In the fall of 2011, the regional division was running two or three campaigns a month, generating 500,000 impressions. Today, it is running 50 campaigns a month, resulting in 24 million impressions.

In December 2011, the @SAPNorthAmerica Twitter feed was averaging 75 clicks per tweet. A year later, our average engagement increased to 107 clicks, a jump of 43%.

A glimpse at a weekly social media agenda for SAP North America.

But there’s a far more meaningful statistic to me that can’t be quantified in mouse clicks. Over the past year, our social media team has grown from just one person (me) to seven. Of course, whether we are 7 people or 700, we couldn’t do any of this without coordinating our campaigns through a social media management system. (While company guidelines prevent me from explicitly mentioning the name of our software, I will say that our platform was chosen by our  SAP global team and is versatile enough to handle our brand conversations at any scale. We’re now power users and from what I’ve seen, it’s the best in the industry.)

You need a common powerful platform that lets you schedule, deploy, monitor and report. Using the most comprehensive, robust and secure SMMS platform available,  we can identify, monitor and engage with top influencers in 25 different industries. We mention our influencers in posts and tweets, start conversations and eventually they start mentioning us. With a solution like this, it’s easy to see how a campaign is performing at any given moment. Our social media channel managers go in and figure out how many people we are reaching, how many we are engaging and how many click through to register for our demand-generation campaigns.

Armed with that information, we can adjust our messaging accordingly — and have plenty of examples to talk about at our next Social Media Office Hours.

Around the world, SAP has more than 61,000 employees in more than 50 different countries. That’s 61,000 motivated brand ambassadors — we just need to share the right tools to get them started. Everyone should be on board. We want everyone to be part of our social evangelism.

Gerry Moran is director of social media marketing at SAP North America. Keep up with SAP North America on Facebook and Twitter @SAPNorthAmerica. Follow Gerry Moran at his blog, MarketingThink or @GerryMoran.