Something that keeps the smart CIO and their team on their toes is being ahead of the curve for their business. CIOs need to propose ways of helping the business achieve their strategic goals through the implementation of technology. CIOs need to be forearmed to answer questions about new technologies and the resulting impact of customers/suppliers/employees/shareholders adopting such new technology will have on the business. The rapid take-up of social media is a classic example of how hard this can be.

Consider this possible interrogation …..What is this social media thing? Do we use it? How do we use it? Why do we use it? Do our customers use it? And what do they say about us? And what do we do about that? How can we service our customers better or save costs or drive more revenue with it?Do our suppliers use it? How can we benefit from that? And what are our employees saying about us? And what are we learning from that? How can we improve staff retention with this thing? (Top tip for the CIO – when asked “And what should we be saying?” pass that straight through to Marketing!)

That’s the problem with social media, it impacts on so many areas of the business: internal & external, PR, marketing, sales, query management, performance quality, customer service, customer experience, complaint management, crisis and disaster management, shareholder communications, employee engagement – the list goes on.

And there are so many channels: Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, Google+, foursquare, Socialcast, Yammer, etc, etc.

This all becomes the CIO’s problem when the business decides that they need to do something meaningful about this new fangled technology. Listening to the social chatter is usually the first toe that goes in the water and that can be an eye-popping experience. Of course there are a range of tools and services available to monitor the stream for you and gather together your target references into a report or a spreadsheet. But what then? You need to sort the wheat from the chaff so that a sensible and aggregated stream of content is offered to the business for review? And what then? Just monitoring is not enough – you actually need to monitor the chatter and then do something. How do you build a consistent and sustainable process to identify the important posts from the general chatter and respond appropriately? And where serious response is demanded you will likely need to trigger workflow activities or allocate process tasks, and of course maintain a view of the final outcome.

Sooner or later you will want to turn your social listening into actionable business. Click here for more information on turning social media into actional business.

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