What is social media but just another form of communication? It is a powerful one to be sure, but, for businesses, social technology is a piece that doesn’t necessarily fit perfectly. Using it inside the enterprise is redundant unless it is applied in a way that augments the existing foundation while still encouraging the development of new processes.
Social Media Management
There are business tools out there that improve the functioning of social media channels. They enhance the most critical part of this technology – collaboration. The problem is that social media is inherently a social activity and, therefore, unpredictable. When applied to business, it is difficult to set boundaries. The approach that a company uses with social networking must correspond to the style and policies of the organization.
Social technology is an evolving industry. Between the fuzzy boundary issues and this evolution, the Chief Information Officer’s management of it becomes more time-intensive. That is out of character for most IT functions.
The Open-Minded Approach
Proper administration of social technology within an enterprise requires that a CIO be willing to try new things. It is an evolutionary field – common sense warrants the necessity of experimentation. It is with this open-minded approach that CIOs will see the full utilization of this powerful new form of communication.
Developing a Social Framework
It is a balancing act between what the company can gain from a healthy social media application and the technology necessary to make that happen. Social technology requires investigation. Creating a team to research the basics and tools available will set the proper tone. Institute ground rules for platform development by providing a guideline for framework organization.
- Establish goals and purpose – this should cover both the individual and business viewpoints.
- Verify the cultural identity – the behavior models and expectations.
- Develop protocols for usage and provide well-thought-out arguments to support them – include best-use scenarios.
- Create ways to encourage use – the platform is only effective if used.
- Discuss privacy and security absolutes – everyone benefits through definition of both the rules and consequences of violation.
- Confirm ownership – make it clear who is sponsoring the experiment and who is responsible for managing it.
Social technology is a valuable asset in business but a tricky one to implement. It requires not only strong leadership but also a progressive CIO willing to take risks and milk all the benefits available from this exciting form of communication.