GasPedal Event: Corporate Social Media Success Stories


Gadspell I attended the Gadspedal BlogWell event yesterday in San Francisco, which covered 8 case studies in four hours about how corporations are using social media in innovative ways.

I was interested in listening to all of them however due to time constraints, they divided the floor so you had to choose which one was more relevant for you. Unfortunately, on nearly every occasion, both choices were relevant so I missed half the stack.

They didn’t have the Twitter protocol posted where it was easy to find, so sadly, none of my tweets made the pool, but there’s a bunch of two liners from various speakers out there in Twitterspace somewhere.

The line-up was top notch and included the likes of enterprise players like Cisco and SAP, as well as consumer and SOHO-facing offerings from PepsiCo and Intuit.


Cisco’s key takeaways:

*Listen to the conversation

*Include blogs as part of your communications strategy

*Spread workload amongst team

*Be ready to address risks – have your policy at hand

*Inform and involve your executive team

*Incorporate video and audio

*Optimize your content for search

*Issue a social media release

*Stay focused on your business goals – customer successes

A lot of these points are pretty basic and are not new tricks we haven’t already heard. The thing that really hit home was the importance of integrating them with a strategy in place. I say this to clients all the time – what’s the point of using social media tools unless it’s helping us meet our overall business objectives?

That leads to measurement which came up in the Q&A of every session. People want to know how these big players are measuring the ROI of these campaigns and in some cases, how and if they’re planning to generate revenue as a result.

The less complex the corporate structure, the less complex the story, which leads us to the SAP presentation. There was likely a ton of really great content and examples they could share, but sadly they tried to pack “it all” into PowerPoints that were rich with jargon, heavy text and graphics.

SAP’s Mark Yolton

Mark Yolton

He also flew through the text-heavy slides so I missed more than half the content and because the volume of content overtook the value of it, I didn’t leave with a sense of what was relevant to any market.

Then again, I’m not a big PowerPoint fan. Pictures and “painting stories” through powerful words, demonstrations and examples go such a long way.

So, in a long ramble, I got that they do a ton of events, build communities, core contributors power their communities, their reputation management system rewards members for behavior and contributions, they offer exclusive content like how-to guides, white papers and newsletters and that there’s 70 SAP mentors they tap into for advice about their policies and procedures.

SAP communities deliver customer value, customers benefit from participating and partners get insight from what is going on inside the SAP marketplace. And so, their social media strategy is what exactly?

Intuit’s talk hit home for me largely because they used tons of examples of what tools they used, when and why. Through reaching out to small businesses asking for their own core stories, they generated evangelists without asking for them.

Intuit’s Christine Morrison

Christine Morrison

They are integrated social media tools into their products, such as QuickBooks. Imagine that you’re a small business owner and have an issue or problem – QuickBooks finds like-problems to help you solve your own more easily.

Dell too has successfully jumped on the social media bandwagon. Dell is reaching their customers on social media platforms like YouTube, flickr, Facebook, Delicious, and Twitter.

“Change starts with content and that content needs to be flexible and modular – shareable, embeddable, and syndicatible,” said Dell’s Lionel Menchaca.

Lionel Menchaca

They are modularizing content through tags, widgets and RSS feeds and using it to populate topic-based Activity Streams.

Adds Lionel: “People actively re-tweet our tweets as well as RSS feeds. If the customer has comments, questions and ideas for new content, they’ll tweet it.”

Their real time activity streams come from blog posts, ideas, Twitterstream, comment information stream, forum threads flickr images, YouTube videos, Delicious and podcasts. They’re focused on producing content and moving content out to where it’s relevant.

I wish I could have attended more sessions as there’s always so much to learn from what companies with larger budgets and resources have tried and tested and what has worked and failed. David Spark also has a great write-up of the event.

GasPedal holds a number of interesting events on this topic if you want to learn more.

Renee Blodgett
Renee Blodgett is the founder of We Blog the World. The site combines the magic of an online culture and travel magazine with a global blog network and has contributors from every continent in the world. Having lived in 10 countries and explored nearly 80, she is an avid traveler, and a lover, observer and participant in cultural diversity.

She is also the CEO and founder of Magic Sauce Media, a new media services consultancy focused on viral marketing, social media, branding, events and PR. For over 20 years, she has helped companies from 12 countries get traction in the market. Known for her global and organic approach to product and corporate launches, Renee practices what she pitches and as an active user of social media, she helps clients navigate digital waters from around the world. Renee has been blogging for over 16 years and regularly writes on her personal blog Down the Avenue, Huffington Post, BlogHer, We Blog the World and other sites. She was ranked #12 Social Media Influencer by Forbes Magazine and is listed as a new media influencer and game changer on various sites and books on the new media revolution. In 2013, she was listed as the 6th most influential woman in social media by Forbes Magazine on a Top 20 List.

Her passion for art, storytelling and photography led to the launch of Magic Sauce Photography, which is a visual extension of her writing, the result of which has led to producing six photo books: Galapagos Islands, London, South Africa, Rome, Urbanization and Ecuador.

Renee is also the co-founder of Traveling Geeks, an initiative that brings entrepreneurs, thought leaders, bloggers, creators, curators and influencers to other countries to share and learn from peers, governments, corporations, and the general public in order to educate, share, evaluate, and promote innovative technologies.
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