Open Text’s Journey to Social Media Awareness

November 11th, 2009 by Brian Edwards

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

Open Text Conversations

Open Text Conversations

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.

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