SAP’s Social Networking Strategy

SAP’s
Social Networking Strategy

Source:
Techdirt Consulting  Promotion.   An interesting reputation management  / social networking corporate marketing story that gives details of SAP ‘s  strategy to deepen relationships with influential bloggers.

 
For the past couple of years,
companies have been trying to understand the concept of “blogger relations.”
While there are still some companies that choose to mostly ignore bloggers,
others have begun to treat them more like the mainstream media. While this
tends to be better than ignoring them, it is still a general misunderstanding
of how blogging works.

SAP’s
Social Networking Strategy

Source:
Techdirt Consulting  Promotion.   An interesting reputation management  / social networking corporate marketing story.

 
For the past couple of years,
companies have been trying to understand the concept of “blogger relations.”
While there are still some companies that choose to mostly ignore bloggers,
others have begun to treat them more like the mainstream media. While this
tends to be better than ignoring them, it is still a general misunderstanding
of how blogging works.

Relating to Bloggers

Bloggers tend to be passionate,
knowledgeable and insightful about the topics and issues they cover. They do
not blog out of a duty, but out of enthusiasm. Many do not make money from
their blogging, but simply write about topics because they care about them.
Bloggers tend to share analysis and opinion, rather than reporting and breaking
news.

 

To another degree, bloggers are
also closely related to the analyst community. Yet, rather than being regarded
like analysts, they are still treated like reporters: spammed with news
releases, given products to review and occasionally offered opportunities to
interview executives for stories. While trying to build relationships with
bloggers is a step in the right direction, categorizing them as either
extensions of the press or analysts misses the real power of blogging.

Engage Bloggers for Their Analysis

The first step in the right
direction is recognizing the real opportunity of blogger relations: engaging
bloggers for their analysis, not just as mouthpieces to report what the company
wants.

 Bloggers have created an ecosystem
unto themselves. Bloggers write about and respond to what other bloggers are
saying, create an ongoing conversation, and deeply explore issues through a
back and forth discussion
rather than simply putting out a final statement. It
is the analytical insight and ecosystem culture that too many companies don’t
understand when they practice blogger relations.

The Techdirt Insight Community is
helping to change this notion by creating a system and business model for
companies to organize their own efforts to engage bloggers. This model helps
companies reach out to bloggers by asking them for advice, opinion, knowledge
and analysis on various issues — rather than simply feeding them press
releases. It engages the bloggers in groups and encourages conversation, rather
than just a one-way feed of information
.
 

SAP’s Blogging Ecosystem

One early leader in understanding
the blogging ecosystem is SAP — which has launched its own blogger relations
program similar to what Techdirt Insight Community has designed. SAP’s VP of
marketplace communications, Mike Prosceno, has helped establish SAP at the
forefront of emerging blogger relations by recognizing and welcoming the true
aspects and benefits of the blogosphere.

 

At two of SAP’s largest customer
events, SAPPHIRE and TechEd, SAP established what it calls “Bloggers’ Corner.”
Expert bloggers who cover topics related to the enterprise software field were
invited to attend these events. Rather than just being treated like media, the
bloggers were given separate badges, and spent most of their time together,
discussing and debating different ideas. To further promote the notion of
community, SAP scheduled conversations between groups of bloggers and company
executives, rather than the typical one-on-one interviews. The result? It was
the company executives who were often more interested in hearing the bloggers’
thoughts, opinions and analysis than using the time to repeat the marketing
messages that had been announced in news releases.

 

Thus an added component to the
company’s existing media and analyst relations program really leveraged the
value of the bloggers. SAP knew their target bloggers are industry experts who
will ask probing questions, discuss the results and challenge SAP on difficult
issues — while introducing SAP to important issues and viewpoints from outside
the company.

 
Bloggers Thrive on Conversation and
Discussion

But more than just recognizing who
they are, SAP recognized what bloggers are about. Bloggers thrive on the
conversation and discussion, not on the “exclusivity” of a concept. By allowing
the bloggers to work together, SAP and the bloggers started a real conversation
that allowed everyone to build on each others ideas. Both the bloggers and SAP
executives came out of each conversation with a deeper understanding of each
topic, and plenty to think about going forward. There were multiple viewpoints
that led to real introspection and analysis for why people disagreed or where
new ideas and solutions might be created.

 

A true blogger relations program
must recognize these two issues: First, bloggers are not simply there to
report, but to analyze — and the best way to engage with bloggers isn’t to push
content at them, but to ask for their analysis; to engage them in conversation.
Second, recognize that the value is in the conversation between the bloggers as
much as it is in the conversation with the bloggers.

 

Introducing the Techdirt Insight
Community

Mike Prosceno and SAP are early
leaders in corporate blogger relations. Techdirt is now extending the
opportunity for other companies to engage with bloggers and tap their expertise
and knowledge by launching the new Techdirt Insight Community. Techdirt has
brought together hundreds of expert bloggers in various fields, categorized
their areas of expertise and insight, and created a system enabling companies
to engage with groups of expert bloggers at the same time — not by pushing news
releases on them, but by asking for their opinion and analysis.

 

The Techdirt Insight Community is a
great extension of what we’ve been able to bring together with our Bloggers’
Corner events,” said Mike Prosceno at SAP. “It’s helping companies recognize
that the value of bloggers is in their analytical abilities and the overall
conversation they generate, rather than in just the posts they write. We’re
excited about the possibilities Techdirt creates in bringing together this
collection of bloggers and opening up a great way to engage with them on a
regular basis.”

 

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