Social Media And The CIO – Can We Talk?

The power of social media comes when you do it correctly
The power of social media comes when you do it correctly

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram — these social media tools seem to be occupying the news every day. If anyone had any doubts about the importance of information technology, the arrival of social media has changed that. If you want to hold on to your CIO job for a very short time, feel free to ignore them and tell people that you think that they’ll eventually go away – because they won’t. Instead, do the right thing and figure out how your company can get the most out of today’s social media tools without screwing things up.

What CIOs Must Not Do With Social Media

If you take a look online these days, you’ll come across a lot of people who have a lot of suggestions for what CIOs should be doing in order to jump on to the social media bandwagon. However, what you are not going to find is anyone telling you what you need to be careful to not do.

Social media can provide your company with a fantastic way to listen to what its customers are saying. Not only that, but through social media your company can very quickly respond to your customers. The Internet is filled with stories about customers who complained about some company service issue via Twitter only to receive immediate attention from the company that ended up resolving their issue.

However, this is where the true danger of social media lies. Most companies are much more used to controlling how their company is portrayed in the media than social media allows (that’s why it’s called “social”). What this means for you as a CIO is that you need to push back when the people who are running your company ask you for tools and processes that will allow them to control the conversation.

Additionally, not everything that gets posted online about your company is always going to be flattering. What this means is that it can be very tempting to censor the conversations. Don’t do it. Once this type of behavior is detected by the masses, and it will be, your company’s online reputation will be shot.

3 Things That Are Driving Your Company To Use Social Media

Not every company is all that excited about using social media. However, your company needs to jump in or otherwise they risk running into problems down the road.

The first reason that your company needs to embrace social media is because the public’s perception of businesses right now is at an all-time low. Look around you and you’ll see movements like “occupy Wall Street” that are clear indications of just how fed up your customers are. By using social media to allow your customers to become involved in your company’s decision making process, you will be taking steps to reverse this current situation.

Next, regulations are changing everywhere. More and more both at the state and the federal level government agencies are requiring companies to be more open about how the business is being run and how decisions are being made. This push for more transparency can be met by having the company become more involved in social media.

Finally, the arrival of social media has dramatically changed the new product creation process for every company. No longer are products created in a back room and then rolled out to your customers. Via social media, your customers now want to play a role in defining what your company creates next – oh, and what price you put on it also!

What All Of This Means For You

CIO’s need to take action – social media has arrived and it’s not going to be going away anytime soon. The most important thing that you need to be aware of when you are in the CIO position is that you can’t control social media – it’s bigger than you are.

What you do need to understand is why your company is going to be forced to find ways to incorporate social media into the way that that the business is run. Trust of business in general is at an all-time low and social media is one of the few tools that your company has that can help to repair this problem. Next, new regulations are requiring companies to be more open with their customers. Finally, social media has redefined how products are both being made and priced.

The good news is that we are still at the start of all of this social media stuff. However, the market and the tools are rapidly evolving. This means that as CIO you need to move quickly and make sure that your company’s voice can be heard in the social media revolution.

– Dr. Jim Anderson
Blue Elephant Consulting –
Your Source For Real World IT Department Leadership Skills™

Question For You: Do you think that one single group should control your company’s entire social media presence?

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