Posts Tagged ‘CIOs and Social Media’

Harnessing Social Media – A new market for the CIO

July 12, 2010

In my last blog posting I spoke about how CIOs need to focus more on revenue generation than cost cutting. In this post I want to talk a little about how CIOs need to embrace social media and find ways to access new markets for their organizations through social media channels.  A study produced by the International Center for Media and the Public Agenda (ICMPA) at the University of Maryland sheds some light on this elusive topic.

The study concluded that American college students are social media addicts (tethered a Blackberry, iPhone, computer laptop, television, and iPods, etc.). When they were cut off from using social media for just 24 hours, students described having symptoms associated with drug and alcohol addiction: In withdrawal, frantically craving, very anxious, extremely antsy, miserable, jittery, crazy. They reported feeling unconnected, even to those close by, according to the study. The study found that they were most discomfited by their lack of access to text messaging, phone calling, instant messaging, emailing and Facebook–their primary means of connecting to friends and family.

“We were surprised by how many students admitted they were ‘incredibly addicted’ to media,” noted project director Susan D. Moeller, a journalism professor at the University of Maryland and the ICMPA’s director. “But we noticed that what they wrote at length about was how they hated losing their personal connections. Going without media meant, in their world, going without their friends and family.”

The students also felt extreme anxiety about being cut off from information. Specifically, they worried about having less information than their friends, on everything from sports scores and TV shows to news about their classes and world events. In fact, it seems that the way students learn about news events is almost entirely through the prism of social media. Very few reported that they ever watched TV news or listened to radio news or read a local or national newspaper. “Yet student after student demonstrated knowledge of specific news stories,” the study’s authors wrote. “The young adults in this study appeared to be oblivious to branded news and information. For most of the students reporting in this study, information of all kinds comes in an undifferentiated wave to them via social media. If a bit of information rises to a level of interest, the student will pursue it, but often by following the story via unconventional outlets such as through text messages, their email accounts, Facebook or Twitter.” This indicates that to this group news is not something impersonal, but that it comes to you through your base of friends (filtered and biased by their views) and therefore makes the information much more personal.

The study’s findings have major implications for all CIOs. Companies spend millions on advertising and sales to promote their products and services. Never in the history of technology has there been such an opportunity to transform how revenue and sales are generated than by specifically targeting a product or service directly to an individual via a social-media means.  This  “New Holy Grail” is about our new ability to target a specific message to an individual that will cause that individual to produce a desire result.

Radio, Television, and the World Wide Web cannot do what social-media has the promise to do. Organizations need to start planning now on how to harness this new means of marketing and advertising.  A CIO’s challenge will be to build systems for marketing and advertising purposes that can identify this targeted individual and deliver a concise message to them.