Ariba: Making events ‘more mobile, more social’ – a SlideShare case study

March 5, 2012

Here, Kendra Mayfield speaks with Justin Fogarty, social media manager for Ariba, about why the B2B company decided to upgrade to a SlideShare custom branded Channel for a rich social media presence for its annual events content. With its vast network of more than 700,000 companies, and more than 100,000 transactions occurring on a daily basis, Ariba, Inc. is clearly more than just a software company.

Every year, the B2B business commerce solutions provider connects hundreds of peers and prospects through its annual conference, Ariba LIVE. Until recently, attendees who were excited about sharing insights and strategies from real-time sessions with their colleagues would often have to wait two to three weeks just to download a PowerPoint on Ariba’s portal site.

Ariba’s social media manager Justin Fogarty saw an opportunity to transform a poor user experience into a rich, social one. So, last April, he partnered with SlideShare to create a custom branded Channel to share Ariba’s conference content with customers.

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Immediate access to presentations
“We want to make our events more social and more mobile,” Justin said. “With SlideShare, we had an opportunity to reach beyond four walls and empower attendees. We wanted it to be simple for people to access and share content immediately.”

Ariba decided to post its Ariba LIVE 2011 materials publicly on its Ariba Presentation Channel two weeks before the conference started, to coincide with the launch of its mobile event site. Now, users could decide which concurrent sessions to attend based on what was most important to them. And, if they missed a session, they could watch it later on the Ariba Presentation Channel (since audio and video was synched after the presentations). Perhaps most importantly, users could now access and share content with their peers as the events were happening.

Ariba’s SlideShare presence also helped the company generate sales leads. By posting all of its conference content on its SlideShare Channel, instead of allowing users to download presentations, Ariba’s account management, customer success and sales teams could track how users were consuming the information and visualize how it was spreading internally among customers or sales prospects. The company also liked the agility that SlideShare provided.

An evolving content strategy
The content strategy for the Ariba Channel has evolved beyond the annual event to support regional events from Nashville to London. Traditional content marketing genres like whitepapers (Ariba Knowledge Nuggets) and case studies are also being shared. Content in the Channel has been viewed over 40,000 times and generated over 400 sales leads.

“We’re a cloud company, so putting presentations in the cloud is very important for us,” Justin said. “I like SlideShare’s simplicity—you give people a URL, and they can view it on their Web browser or mobile device. The sharing and embedding is fantastic. Also, the search engine optimization ability is hugely important, because now people can find content that might otherwise be buried on a corporate portal.”

When it comes to the future of corporate events, Justin believes that social and mobile are intertwined. “You’ve got to help people find what they need quickly and share it quickly,” he said. “With social and mobile content, you can really have a terrific event.”

Ariba plans to post content on its SlideShare Channel prior to its 2012 Ariba LIVE conference in Vegas in April to encourage users to view and share content, and even engage in dialogue with speakers.

“We want to make more noise this time,” Justin said. “We want to get people excited about the event and help them navigate it to figure out where they want to be.”

Want a SlideShare Channel for your organization? Contact the enterprise sales team.