Help for Those Who Don't Know Where to Start with Social Media

Ann All

Earlier this year I speculated on why more CIOs weren't using social channels, concluding they probably just didn't think they had enough time or worried they wouldn't derive enough value from them. Many companies also don't permit their employees to use social channels, even for business use. (Yes, there may have been an increase in companies allowing use of social channels since the survey was released in January, but I doubt the needle has moved that much.)


Slide Show

Execs Weigh in on Collaboration

End users are looking to IT for tools that will help them increase productivity across what in many cases are sharply reduced workforces, but execs are expressing distrust of collaboration tools.

An Avanade survey released last month showed executives worry that employees would waste time if given access to new collaborative technologies. That's a legitimate concern (one of many), but I also wonder if there isn't uncertainty as to which social channels will add value, given all of the options. Chris Curran seems to agree, writing on his CIO Dashboard blog:

I think the primary driver of the "No Social Media" strategy is that there are a dizzying number of sites and services and it's hard to find a place to start.

For those looking for a starting point, Curran walks readers through eight social channels, four for communication and four for collaboration. While he acknowledges it's not a comprehensive list, he's done a good job of presenting the most common channels. For many executives, there's nothing like a 2 x 2 matrix to clear up confusion. So that's what Curran offers, a social media framework that illustrates the potential benefits that can result from using channels like blogs, wikis and social networks.


He also gives 10 great suggestions that might help organizations jump-start social initiatives. I won't reproduce the entire list, but here are some of my faves:

  • Start an internal blog or podcast to illustrate how IT projects help achieve broader business objectives and to discuss emerging technologies that could benefit your company. This kind of communication could really put some positive pressure on IT, a subject I wrote about earlier this month, and help bridge the IT/business communication gap.
  • Try a prediction market to gather employee insights into the projected success/failure of your top 10 projects. Google and Best Buy are among the companies using prediction markets. As I noted in a post last summer, a key advantage of prediction markets is they make it easier for employees to share information they might not feel comfortable contributing in more traditional forums such as meetings.
  • Use LinkedIn as a primary source when you do a job search for your next senior IT manager/VP. I've written several times about companies that have successfully employed social channels in their recruitment efforts.
  • Launch an internal wiki that contains industry- and company-specific terms and concepts, suppliers, competitors and other valuable information. You may need to prime the pump to get folks to use it, however. Check out these tips for increasing wiki adoption.

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