A couple of years ago, we started talking to our client Open Text about doing some “radical” things in social media, like start up a company blog. A number of other enterprise software companies were starting blogs and gaining some traction so it seemed like a good starting point.
As we pushed ahead, we ran into some obstacles – ones that were pretty common at the time. The company policy forbidding personal blogs was a biggie. There were many doubters who questioned if social media was even worth the effort and time.
Still we forged ahead and in time succeeded in launching ECM Briefs, a corporate blog (but more of a news stream) that lived within the Open Text news pages. We also started a program of regular “news” podcasts. While lacking in personal observations, these efforts steadily moved Open Text to a self-publishing model. The podcasts in particular were a huge hit since they provided a way to hear customers, partners and executives in their own voice.
Fast forward to today. Based on the early successes, Open Text has fully embraced social media as a way to build buzz and influence audiences
directly. Employees from around the company on a global basis have set up their own blogs and are developing personal followings. Their posts are aggregated on a site called Open Text Conversations.
Going to the next step, the company has established its own YouTube channel and teams from around the company have set up audience-specific Twitter feeds, in addition to a large number of personal Twitter accounts. The company also has a presence of Facebook and LinkedIn. The annual user meeting last month prompted a flood of tweets and retweets using the Content World #otcw hashtag, and many employees and customers documented the event on their blogs.
During a recent meeting with the PR team, one of the folks on the call noticed that a large percentage of our time was devoted to social media topics. We all agreed that was a good thing. While traditional media is still very important to Open Text – we crank out a steady flow of press releases – the new channels have taken on a life of their own and clearly point the way to future.
There are two take aways from the Open Text journey to becoming social media aware: any social media program is better than none, and a little social media always leads to more. Is your company on the fence about social media? If so, start with baby steps and you’ll be amazed where they lead.
Author: Brian Edwards
Brian Edwards is a talented business and technology communications expert with more than 25 years of experience in high-tech public relations and marketing.