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When ‘Social’ isn’t Social


May 26, 2016

Have you noticed how many enterprise software vendors talk about “social” and “digital disruption”? These firms sell social collaborative tools for marketing, sales, human resources and project management. Yet, for all the talk about social, these firms seem to operate in the pre-social media like prehistoric dinosaurs.

Social is not a new channel for broadcast brand communication. It’s a new way of doing business.



Yet, many of these vendors use Twitter, Facebook, Instagram etc. as advertising tools rather than for engagement.

If you’re like me, you read a lot of content. Some of that content requires registration. Ten minutes ago, I received an e-mail from one of these vendors:

“Your group had expressed interest in XXXX and I wanted to reach out to see if you required any further information. I’d like to learn about your areas of interest to see how we can help.
Please let me know when you have time to discuss this further. Thank you and I look forward to hearing from you. If this was sent to you in error or you are already in contact with XXXX, please accept my apologies and let me know so I don’t need to follow-up.”

This method of follow up is very anti-social. Why not look up what FreeBalance does in order to send me a personalized message. (This would also help competitors who do the same thing realize the e-mail or phone call might be wasted.)

We’re very busy at FreeBalance, and we’re not lonely. So, I really don’t have time to blab about FreeBalance to needy vendors.

How do I engage on social media? Twitter is an excellent medium to engage about enterprise software and public financial management. FreeBalance engages with this blog, that fortunately has an additional prolific writer. The company also engages on LinkedIn. I do sometimes, although LinkedIn seems to be the low-social version of social networking. It’s like the “near beer” of social.

We also use an enterprise software company’s internal social networking tool. It’s eliminated so much e-mail noise and helped coordinate projects across the world.

Then, it’s press releases and conferences

Yes, every company needs to send out press releases with the screaming capital letters. And, long headlines. It’s high time to change the press release mechanism. I took a quick look at the last five press releases from the Tier 1 ERP vendors. The headlines ranged from 11 to 23 words. Ten press releases whose headlines totaled 150 words. One of the vendors even capitalized “And” and “To”!

Meanwhile, vendor conferences seem to be about tormenting attendees with loud music and flashy screens. Then, the vendor announces they have become social or customer-centric.

Social is what social does. Alas, there’s too much talk about social and very little walking the social walk in the enterprise software business.

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Doug Hadden

Doug Hadden

Executive Vice President, Innovation at FreeBalance
Doug is responsible for identifying new global markets, new technologies and trends, and new and enhanced internal processes. Doug leads a cross-functional international team that is responsible for developing product prototypes and innovative go-to-market strategies.

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