Social media guidelines and strategy: A primer for enterprise CIOs

Social media guidelines and strategy: A primer for enterprise CIOs

In this social media primer, learn how CIOs are establishing social media guidelines and strategies aimed at improving their enterprise network.

Social media is becoming increasingly complex and robust with each passing day. It's essential for CIOs to understand and utilize social networks to broaden their organization's online footprint and reach.

Social media efforts can play a big role in establishing competitive advantage, while also bringing the organization closer to its internal and external users. Social networks like Facebook, Google+, Twitter and YouTube allow organizations to make business-specific accounts, letting customers interact with the organization on a more personal level. Customers can 'like,' 'share,' and 'vote up' enterprise content, helping organizations better understand how to serve their base. 

In this social media primer for enterprise CIOs, learn how to set social media guidelines and manage social networks to contribute to your organization's strategic business goals.

This guide to social media is part of's CIO Briefings series, which is designed to give IT leaders strategic management and decision-making advice on timely topics.

Table of contents:

FAQ: Enterprise social media guidelines and the CIO

The term enterprise social media refers to the use and adaptation of social platforms that have become commonplace in everyday life, such as Facebook, Twitter and Wikipedia, for workplace networking and collaboration. Enterprise social media, or the social enterprise, is an important component of Enterprise 2.0, a term coined in 2006 to refer to the strategic integration of social software and collaborative technologies into an enterprise's intranet, extranet and business processes.

Enterprise 2.0, however, also includes the use of social media tools to market the business and its products to customers, while enterprise social media focuses on using these same tools (wikis, blogs and activity streams, for example) to promote employee collaboration, productivity and innovation. Though it's not yet the prevailing model, these social media tools increasingly are being rolled into enterprise collaboration platforms, either homegrown or purchased, in order to integrate social media into the regular workday experience.

Learn more about utilizing social media in this FAQ on enterprise social media and the CIO.

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Finding social networking and collaboration success

As pervasive as social collaboration is in employees' personal lives, enterprise-wide social networking and collaboration platforms are still uncommon, and platforms that drive business value are a rarity. That has been the experience of Tony Byrne, president of The Real Story Group, a vendor-independent analyst firm in Silver Spring, Md., which focuses on Web content and social software. CIOs interested in helping their companies layer social collaboration into business processes soon discover making these tools work well is -- as usual -- more about understanding what people need than simply implementing the technology.

In this interview on leveraging social networking and collaboration in the enterprise, Byrne discusses the importance of homing in on specific business applications and of getting IT involved in the implementation -- as well as why integration of social media guidelines and tools remains a problem.

Read more on building a stronger, smarter social media enterprise.

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Understanding the human role in the social networking revolution

"For every person who has jumped on a bandwagon -- or on a meme, in today's language -- there's one or two people asking to get off the 'social networking revolution,' or preferring to not get on at all," writes Scot Petersen, editorial director for, in a recent CIO Matters column.

"Think Seinfeld's Kramer with the AIDS ribbon, or Bartleby, the Scrivener: A Story of Wall-street," Petersen writes. "Today we have Andrew Keen (aka @ajkeen, the self-described 'antichrist of Silicon Valley') with his new book, Digital Vertigo: How Today's Online Social Revolution Is Dividing, Diminishing, and Disorienting Us."

Petersen, who is reading the book, says that anybody interested in social media, for or against, should read Keen's book. "It's a fascinating, complicated and controversial treatise on social networks, the right to privacy, and what it all says about how we perceive ourselves as human beings."

Read more about the social media revolution.

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Social media today: Take this CIO quiz to test your savvy

The emergence of new and improved social media channels and platforms is shaping the online atmosphere for IT and the business. Social media can be tremendously helpful to CIOs looking to reach various constituencies both inside and outside their organization. As such, CIOs need to adapt to and embrace these changes, because social media today is defining all the dynamics of tomorrow.

Do you think you know all there is to know about social media in the business? Test your knowledge by reviewing some of our recent coverage and answering the questions below.

Test your social media IQ