CIOs should tap the power of ‘social’ media

by Sohini Bagchi    Aug 29, 2012

social mediaEven though a good number of enterprises have achieved social media success in recent times, there is a high rate of failure because CIOs and business leaders are not placing enough emphasis on the “social” aspect of community participation, said analyst firm Gartner. Instead, they are relying heavily on social technology functionality and in turn, missing out on the critical concerns, noted the analyst firm.

“Far too many social media endeavours are failing because IT and business managers lack knowledge of the fundamental principles of mass collaboration,” said Anthony Bradley, Group VP at Gartner. According to him, they should understand the basic nature of mass collaboration and how to deliver on its unique value. Bradley said that business and IT leaders shouldn’t assume that the social technologies automatically come with the needed mass collaboration. Collaboration must be designed and delivered as part of the social solution.

“Successful social media strategy is all about user participation. Many enterprises miss the social participation aspect and look at social media as an alternate channel for business communications. To achieve desired results, CIOs should view social media as an opportunity for large scale collaboration,” said social media strategist Anshuman Das. He added that social media should create more of customer engagement and CIOs should ensure a multi communication approach in their social media strategy.

Gartner also emphasizes on transparency as a key to involve the community and helps in improving content and unifies information. This principle of transparency distinguishes social media from other forms of content sharing, such as Web content management and traditional knowledge management systems and business leaders are expected to leverage on this feature.

“Social media strategies should provide transparency by including feedback from the community. These feedbacks can come in the form of likes, tagging, ratings, voting and social commentary,” said Das. However, he noted that organisations must develop a framework to deal with social media commentary on appropriate topics. Decision makers should see how they can deal with direct enquiry received through social channels and whether the response is warranted. In case it is, the IT or business team should see what logical action is necessary to follow these response.

Gartner advised organisations to focus on the ends and not the means, by providing the community with the time and flexibility to achieve desired results. An organisation should observe social media behaviors, track how productivity actually manifests itself through community interactions and then guide the community to achieve results.

“This is where social media analytics play a key role. An effective analytics programme can help enterprises make informed decisions such as gauging customer opinion to support marketing and customer engagement,” said Pritha Choudhuri, CEO - Analytics Quotient.

Choudhuri said that the first step is to determine your purposes for the social media involvement. That is, businesses should understand whether the purpose of using this platform is for business enhancement, customer service improvement, understanding competitors’ move or a combination of factors. It is then that they should come up with a strategy and use social media analytics tools to get the maximum benefits.

Gartner stated that CIOs and business leaders should use social media strategically to shift away from a “provide and pray” approach and in turn use a “motivate and engage” strategy to improve their bottomline.