How CIOs Can Use Social Media To Further Their Career

CIOs need to use social media to connect with other professionals
CIOs need to use social media to connect with other professionals
Image Credit: Jason Howie

CIOs need to understand that in order to be successful in communicating the importance of information technology, they need to work with others. The people that they need to work with may not work for their company, and in fact they may not be in the same country as the CIO. We need to have the ability to reach out and connect with others who understand what we are trying to do and can provide us with the contacts and resources that we need. The big question for the person with the CIO job is how to get in touch with these people? It turns out that the answer might be right before us: social media.

Don’t Share Too Much

What a CIO needs to remember when they start to venture into the scary online world of social media is that they are going to want to not share too much. What they are going to want to do is to stick to their comfort zone: The good news is that we can tailor our social-media presence to the types of content we feel comfortable sharing. Some people in the CIO position feel awkward about putting their thoughts into words but enjoy sharing their ideas visually. What this means is that it’s completely legitimate to post photos (on Instagram or Twitter or LinkedIn) to give your perspective on your area of expertise. A good example of this would be a manufacturing CIO who posted a picture of a factory floor or an IT CIO who posted a picture of a server farm.

Be The One Who Determines When You Share Something

From the outside, social media can look like a constant flurry of activity. From Presidents who tweet all the time to movie stars who are getting taken to task, social media seems to be a 7×24 activity. What CIOs need to understand is that we can schedule our social media shares: The real-time frenzy of social media can be exhausting for those CIOS who need to pace their social interactions. We can have a consistent social-media presence even if we prefer to spend hours or days on our own.

The easiest way that we can do this is by taking a half-hour once or twice a week to schedule updates that can automatically be sent out over the next few days. The way that we can make this happen is by using a tool like Hootsuite or Buffer. If you do that work during the windows in the day when you’re feeling more sociable, you can get the benefits of generating regular updates without having to force yourself to interact when you’re not feeling like doing that.

Keep Your Secrets

If you have spent any time reading the news, you know that all too often people seem to forget that what they reveal via social media will be seen by the whole world. As a CIO, what this means for you is that you are going to want to limit your disclosures. This means that you don’t have to post anything too personal. Keep in mind that if you don’t like to talk about yourself, don’t talk about yourself in social media – your lack of self-interest will make you a refreshing change for your professional followers (and reduce the heartache that CIOs can face when they disclose too much). Remember that nothing ever truly disappears from the internet!

Much Of Social Media Learning Has To Do With Listening

CIOs need to understand that social media and its ability to connect us with other people is a powerful tool. What that means for you is that you need to learn how to both listen and learn. When it comes to social media, you don’t have to post anything to get value out of social media: In the world of social media, it’s called “lurking” (i.e., watching or reading social media without posting yourself) can be a useful source of information and insight. One tool that you can make use of is Twitter’s “Lists” feature. You can use this to build and follow a list of experts or professionals who regularly share useful insights. Alternatively, you can follow a handful of top experts on LinkedIn and let them lead you to the most important conversations.

Create Your Own Private Social Media Presence

A CIO does not have to be everything to everyone on all of the different social media platforms. In fact, not all of your social media activities have to be public. Instead, provide yourself with a place that you can go and be yourself, not necessarily a CIO. It is possible that you can get more out of social media by picking one social network where you allow yourself to create a purely personal presence, and limit your connections to people that you know well.

Even if a CIO is mostly using social media for professional purposes, they can build their comfort with the whole experience of social networking by picking a platform where they won’t worry about the strategic impact of their posts. Keep that profile relatively private, and use it to exchange news and updates only with the people you care about most. If you create a single social-media presence that is just for your own personal enjoyment, you may discover that this can help you to boost your social media activities as a CIO also.

What All Of This Means For You

Welcome to the 21st Century – social media rules our world. In order to connect with others outside of your company, we need to use social media to set up profiles and to stay engaged. This is how we stay in touch with people. The challenge that CIOs are facing is trying to determine what the best way to go about doing this is.

As I’m pretty sure that we all know by now, CIOs have to be careful to not share too much when they are using social media. Thanks to advances in technology, a CIO can automatically control when their content gets shared on social media – they don’t have to be there when it goes live. We always have to keep in mind that whatever we post will be read by possibly countless others and that means that we need to know how to keep our secrets to ourselves. CIOs can learn a lot from social media simply by listening to what others are saying. One strategy for getting the most out of social media is to create a personal account that you can manage without anyone knowing that you are a CIO.

What every CIO is looking for are ways that they can get more accomplished. It turns out that social media is an important tool that can allow us to connect with an almost unlimited number of people. This is a powerful tool that we need to take the time to learn how to use. Yes, it is possible to make mistakes when you are using social medial; however, the benefits far outweigh the disadvantages. If we can master our social media presence then we will have found a way to become an even more effective CIO.

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

Question For You: What social media platforms do you think CIOs should use?

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