Being Social v2

The 3:3:3 Strategy for OSS/BSS Social Media

Most people wouldn’t call OSS/BSS vendors sociable.

But we’d all benefit from a bit more openness. How can OSS/BSS product and services companies make better use of social media? A popular strategy is to give equal coverage to three key areas of interest…

  • One-third personal
  • One-third business
  • One-third promotion

What does that mean for an OSS/BSS business, selling B2B, high value products and services?

Be Personal

What makes your social media personal? Having real people represented on social media.

Being personal is more than posting the occasional video of your employees dancing or photos of their latest community project. It is about allowing your audience to connect with personalities and feel that they have a two-way relationship.

For instance, I’ve used Oracle databases for years, but I can only name two employees there: Larry Ellison (Chairman) and Tom Kyte (author and front-man of Ask Tom the online Q&A community). And only one of those guys has ever made me want to keep working with Oracle. Guess which one.

Open Business

Business content should be easy for B2B companies, but it tends to fall flat due to a lazy assumption that press releases and sales collateral count as social content.

They don’t.

Business content is about the business not promoting the business (hold tight, promotion gets it’s own discussion, next…).

Start-ups tend to get this right. They blog about their journey as a growing business, the product decisions they’re making, their culture. It demonstrates the company vision in a way that a bland mission  statement and public road-map slides cannot. Compared with traditional press releases, social media about your business is open and visible.

Frankly, in OSS/BSS, large companies really suck at this. There is a culture of secrecy, of everything being covered by an NDA. As a blogger, I once asked for a simple screenshot to accompany a press release about a new GUI.

“No. No you cant. We only show that under NDA.”

Srsly. There’s a great opportunity here to be the friendly, open vendor in OSS/BSS!

Do Promotion

Yey! Back on a subject OSS/BSS vendors are comfortable with. Good, old fashioned self-promotion.

And that’s fine. Definitely do it. Talk about your customer wins, your industry awards, your product release, and Gartner saying you’re number one.

Just don’t let that be all you do.

Your customers (and sort-of important people like bloggers, press, analysts) are on social media to engage and learn, not to be constantly sold to.

What Works?

“James,” you say, “You’re probably the most popular and social media savvy independent blogger for OSS based in the South-West of England. What do you think works well?”

Good question.

Content is king, and I’ll share it if it’s on-topic but unusual and entertaining – Like this story of romance from Amdocs.

Keep it simple and create something useful – It’s no accident this is the top OSS/BSS video on YouTube.

And, some simple human-to-human acknowledgement goes a long way:

Oh, and following @OSSLine would be a great start…

, , ,