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Former Member
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   I decided to "claim SAP's space" in the Twitter economy by  spending the day informally sharing our success with this TWTRCON - assembled crowd of "experts"  (putting yet another SAP flag on the social moon as we did at Blogwell last week). Mark Yolton participated in the day's first panel "The Bottom line on Real Time".

The best way to learn what happened yesterday is to search #TWTRCON on Twitter and see the conversation.  There are links to sites with more info.  I will focus here on highlights relevant to SAP.

It was a great day of panels and presentations where speakers sorted the reality from the hype, talking about successes they've had, but also being frank about the unknowns. Much of the value for me was connecting with people who have taught us lessons along the way - people that I have followed, or have worked with as service providers. SAP Community Network has earned allot of respect in the social media space - for the genuine community-building more than the bright shiny object of "social media" (though we are ahead of the curve here too).

The big lesson for me? Reputation is happening from the ground up - one connection at a time - Twitter-dom is still very cottage and the hype is ahead of the reality.  We internal SAP experts need to "get out more" as we have expertise that's at the tip of the spear - "experts" are still very eager to hear about our trajectory (and work with us to build products and services with our input).

Three mini- lessons:

1. Connections:  Success still comes with personalization and trust - "bots" need not apply.

2.  Measurement: Heaps of frustration around metrics - no one has a full grip on it.

3. Expertise: We should trust what we know -we are experts.

 1. Connections. Even in the mega-world of search as seen by Yahoo, Bing and Twitter, people are still looking for personalities that they can connect with on sites they dhoose via search, according to panelists from these companies. Websites,  twitter handles, Facebook pages have personalities (check out analyzewords.com and put in your group's twitter handle to check what emotion you convey in your tweets). People trust people like themselves, who care about them (e.g. Ford, Southwest Airlines and SAP). Be respectful of people's time and become a trusted source. This takes manpower and evangelists/moderators (such as the people in SCN). Scaling this is not easy, but it's essential. Mark talked about our approach to community-building, which experts really admire/respect.

2. Measurement. There was a metrics vendor exhibiting whom we'd been paying for some info earlier this year - he recognized me by name because we were one of a few customers, and their company consists of THREE people- and we were serviced like there were hundreds. We were an early source of learning for them and we will continue to share ideas. Many are hanging out a shingle - metrics vendors are growing like weeds. It's very important for SAP to rally around the vetting that Global Social Media team is doing (Brian, Bill, Bonnie...). The word "sucks" was used by the day's most impactful and provocative speaker  - from Google - saying that we all have allot to learn and it's about engagement and not "# of followers". Everyone is in learning mode on how to measure real impact. We are in a good place at SAP, relatively speaking.

3. Expertise. I spoke to experts at TWTRCON who I have followed for years. They are just as interested in what we are doing as sharing their expertise. That's because the internal work we have been doing to align, define objectives and harness this social media beast is ahead of where most companies are - the proliferation of accounts, tools, and approaches is something we know we need to fix - most companies have not started this alignment work. The experts will highlight us as a best practice - they already are. The skill of building an authentic trusted community in SCN is rather unique and notable. Mark Yolton spoke to this as well.

So let's be vigilant in defining what social media is for businesses. Its not the bright shiny object; its real conversation and community building. We have the knowledge and can lead.