Welcome to a new blog series we are beginning for Communities on BMC Social.
The goal is to share insights from all ranks of individuals who are social within the BMC community.
I had the pleasure of speaking with Alf Abuhajleh, Principal Solutions Marketing Manager - ITSM for BMC Software. His approach is well, very approachable—AND “do-able” … take a look and see how it fits into your style. Follow Alf on BMC Communities or on Twitter @BMCSaaS.
How long have you been Social?
Regularly for about a year and a half now—since last summer. Three months ago I got more serious—that is, other than checking a box on my task list. Engagement went up but it was mostly some BMC’ers commenting. Then, when Chris Dancy told me to try to be more myself—communicate more like I talk and be less formal—things really changed. My Klout score went up 25% in a month.”
How do you get started in Social Media?
Well, it’s part of the job requirement and I still feel uncomfortable every time I have to write something.
I used to be a newspaper reporter, so it’s not about seeing my name in print. It’s more about the task and how to approach it properly. You want to write to create content and friction, but, it’s important to balance the friction with humor and sass and not upset people by going over the line. We see so much content with newspapers, Internet, TV— the audience is smart and they can sense the story. With a blog, you have to capture the reader in the first two sentences or they move on.
My opinion is that the average blog is poorly written. While my writing ability helps—it’s the approach that matters. I know the blog is something that I need to report, write—then edit—before publishing. Most people, I feel, skip the edit.”
How do you find “Inspiration” for social content?
I am a social skeptic. In a B2B community I am not going to communicate like my teenage daughter—which is what social seems to be all about—and I know that the CIO or CTO isn’t necessarily reading Twitter to check out the next business tool she should consider. But, I can see the greater power when we all become experts. If I tweet in a B2B environment with 2-3 others, we create the expert opinion of the company. Does the CTO see it? Maybe—but the process is new and growing and I do see value in what I have achieved over the past year.
How do you approach content development?
For responses, I try to respond to other who are influencers with the hopes that they will also follow me. My Klout score—I don’t worry about it much. I get mostly BMC level responses at this point. My next-phase personal social goal is to engage within other’s tweets more. The theory behind “good” Twitter content is much like how we as Americans eat— in “mouth blasts” of high-energy, amazing food, with short meals. It’s really hard to get that “blast” in Twitter with just 140 characters. For me, creating the amazing Tweet is a lot of thought and editing – hard work.
Do you have a Personal Rule/Mantra?
I don’t tweet from my phone to avoid mistakes. I encourage others to write the Tweet first in Word and check for spelling errors—spelling incorrectly just makes a bad impression.
Would you share your Biggest Win/ Achievement?
I commented on something Geoffrey Moore (author of “Crossing the Chasm”) tweeted, he commented back, and now we are connected on LinkedIn and communicate occassionally. That’s kinda cool and shows how it all can work with influencers—after all, he’s the father of technology marketing.
How do you approach Time Management?
I tweet every day. There is no formula for me. It’s a “task” or a box on my to do list. I guess I actually time my tweets around when I have the time carved out for research and reading. I try to read every day, so that research makes it easy to share. I tend not to tweet more than one thing. Rather, I keep a running list of what is good to share on hand for the next day. The trick is that the content gets old quickly—so I have to keep going with it.
For blogging, I post on Google and Communities with a twice- a month Thursday Cadence. The approach is a formula that I developed as a writer. Rather than saying what I think, I start with a strong piece of content, say a thought leadership piece, and I propose comments into what other people have created by breaking down sections and sharing bits of the larger piece, ending with a link to the actual full document. (see Dancy example)
A lot of people write new content but it takes days and is overwhelming sometimes. I prefer to look at blogging as sharing with comment and always with thought towards writing with style.
What are your biggest Challenges with Social Media?
Be yourself. Develop your own voice. It was something I had to learn. Being a business reporter for a daily paper I was conditioned to just report the facts. Report. Write. Edit. Publish. The edit part is usually left off and it’s the biggest part. Be careful what you say. Edit yourself—don’t just write and post.
Do you have a Parting Thought to share?
I was a skeptic—I’m still a skeptic. Don’t worry about followers. There is a lot of reluctance to start from zero, but you have to get your hands dirty to appreciate the value of social media. We are all learning…and will continue to.