What CIOs Need to Know About Social Media


A post on Mashable from a year and a half ago is still relevant to enterprise CIOs grappling with the impact of social media on the enterprise. In the post, Lon S. Cohen lists seven things CIOs should be considering. In a series of blogs, we’ll take a closer look at each of the item in Cohen’s framework.

But first, ask yourself, “How am I doing on the following?”

  • Web 2.0 Content and Presentation Standards
  • Review and Approval Processes
  • Managing Corporate Reputation
  • Versions and Update Controls
  • Impact On Operating Environment
  • Establishing Project Priority
  • Compliance

In this post, we take a closer look at the first item.

Web 2.0 Content and Presentation Standards, part 1

If you’re not setting standards in your organization, you better get after it. Whether sanctioned or not, your employees are representing your company on social media, if only inadvertently. You need a social media policy at the very minimum to guide the official (and unofficial) social media activities of your employees. You also need a style guide; Cohen’s post talks about such details as font styles, type size, color schemes, and placement of corporate logos and slogans, but there is a lot more to do, including establishing goals for social media and creating a social engagement plan.

All of these mandates and guidelines should follow from your understanding of how social media can benefit your enterprise. Some points to ponder from our book, Be a Person: the Social Operating Manual for Enterprises (being slowly syndicated via this blog – see the first post: Why Social Media?):

  • Identification of problems, opportunities and issues — Use social media community to keep a pulse on your market
  • Policy consultation — Get your community’s opinion on the direction of your organization, or about desired policy changes in governance
  • Customer service and service delivery — Find out what you’re doing right, and wrong, and how you can improve your service to your clients
  • Marketing and communications — Inform your community about significant activities of your enterprise or related entities in close to real-time (Twitter) or through regular updates (Facebook, blogging)

Notice how we list marketing last? That’s right. It’s one of the least important things you can do with social media (more on that in a future blog).

Before you launch any social media initiative, you should understand and plan:[1]

  • Goals — What and why? Participation?
  • Outcomes — How does this support your business?
  • Target Audience — Who?
  • Research — What is possible?
  • Pilot — What small piece can you implement first as a pilot? What will you learn and apply to full plan?
  • Training — Does anyone need to be trained in order to implement?
  • Capacity — Who will implement? Outside expertise needed? Training?
  • Culture Change — Once you have an initial plan, how do you get the enterprise to own it? How do you deal with resistance? How do you deal with legal department?
  • Implementation — Who needs to know when problems arise? What about ongoing training and support?
  • Evaluation — How will you know if you were successful? What did you learn?

After you’ve figured all this out, create an operating manual based on these policies and procedures and distribute it to all stakeholders.

You should also create a plan for engaging with social media. That’s the topic for tomorrow’s post, CIO’s Social Media Review and Approval Processes.

For soup-to-nuts, strategy to execution processes, procedures and how-to advice, see our book, Be a Person: the Social Media Operating Manual for Enterprises. The book (itself part of a series for different audiences), is available in paper form at http://bit.ly/OrderBeAPerson save $5 using Coupon Code 62YTRFCV


[1] After Chris Brogan, as modified by We Are Media: bit.ly/axqDVb

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About Social Media Performance Group

Social Media Performance Group is a premier enterprise social media consulting company that offers a unique approach to integrating social media into the enterprise — forget about the tools, it's all about the strategy! Rather than focusing on the tactics (do this or that on LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube), first we work with you and your senior leadership to comprehend your corporate strategy. Once we understand your strategic objectives and goals, we show you how a comprehensive social media strategy can integrate with and support your corporate strategy. We take an enterprise-wide view based on our unique Enterprise Social Media Framework, which maps social media to all appropriate touchpoints in your enterprise. We go beyond the obvious quick hits — sales and marketing — and help you achieve social-media-driven results in areas such as product development, customer service, and employee engagement and retention. As a result, social media is not just bolted on; it is integrated with, and provides support for, your company's existing strategy and operations, yielding unprecedented results.
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