Social Enterprise

Tapping into Twitter: Five tips for CIOs looking to harvest social data

Time to exploit online conversations and unstructured social data...

...effective usage and exploitation of customer data," he says.

According to Eccleston, many organisations arguably did not spend enough time and rigour really thinking about how they were going to use customer information before investing in expensive technical solutions.

Social networks

Social media is a valuable collaborative tool that can transform the way an organisation shares knowledge with staff and customersPhoto: Shutterstock

"Those CIOs who look from the outside to the inside of the organisation, in regards to customer information and decision-making needs, will be the social media winners," he says.

Tip 4. Pick the right format to exploit your data

Julian Self is group operations and IT director at IPD, a company that specialises in providing high-level performance analysis for the owners, investors, managers and occupiers of real estate.

"We need to make our data more valuable to our clients," says Self, who recognises social media can play a crucial role, but it must be exploited in line with wider concerns linked to trust and visibility.

He is currently helping IPD launch a membership site, which will help IPD customers make better use of real-estate data. Self says such closed-membership formats provide clients with a better type of engagement, where executives of related organisations are more likely to communicate openly and share information.

"We'll use social media to drive people to the membership area, rather than leading conversations in open web spaces," he says. "Businesses can miss the opportunity to engage through social media. But any use of data must fit with your internal requirements and your customers' demands."

Tip 5. Share knowledge, monitor feedback and think differently

Dean Branton, director of group operations and group CIO at telecoms specialist Kcom, uses social media to follow industry experts, engage with networking forums and interact with other thought leaders through blogging.

"I believe social media is a valuable collaborative tool that has the ability to transform how an organisation shares its knowledge with employees and customers," he says.

Branton says all Kcom group brands use social media to some extent, particularly LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter.

"We also actively monitor and use these channels to capture customer feedback, help shape our proposition portfolio and to resolve service issues," he says, in relation to making the most of unstructured data.

"Another obvious benefit is brand awareness, with social media allowing the firm to promote its products and services in the wider marketplace."

When it comes to internal staff using collaborative tools to engage, Branton says social media can be used to provide important and alternative support to traditional regional networking organisations. He points to The Yorkshire Mafia, which he says is an active platform for business networking in the region.

About Mark Samuels

Mark Samuels is a business journalist and editor at IT leadership organisation CIO Connect. He has written for various organisations, including the Economist Intelligence Unit, Guardian Government Computing and Times Higher Education.

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