CW500: Corporate use of social media

Social media is revolutionising the way people interact online, and as such presents many opportunities for IT leaders to help their organisations engage with customers, to improve internal collaboration, and to develop their own profile to help boost their career. But how should CIOs makes the most of those opportunities?

Computer Weekly editor in chief Bryan Glick talked to blogger and social media adviser Mark Kobayashi-Hillary about the corporate use of social media. Mark offered practical advice to IT leaders looking to benefit from social networking tools, and examples of where social media worked and where it has gone terribly wrong.


Read the full transcript from this video below:  

CW500: Corporate use of social media

Bryan Glick: Hello. Welcome to the CW500 Club, for this video
I am talking to Mark Kobayashi-Hillary. Mark is a blogger and
a social media advisor, he also blogs for Computer Weekly,
on our site about social media and the
use of social media in business. He has been here tonight talking
to our audience of IT leaders to give them some advice on the
good and bad practices in how companies and people are using
social media. Mark, thank you very much for coming along to talk
for us tonight.

Mark Kobayashi-Hillary: Thank you. No problem.

Bryan Glick: When you are brought in to talk to a CIO, you know
you have worked in IT and been an IT Director yourself. Quite
possibly you have come across some cynicism from some of the
CIOs about, social media, and what does it mean to me. What
would be your advice to somebody in that position about how
they should look at social media?

Mark Kobayashi-Hillary: I think it depends a lot on which side of
the fence the CIO or the person in IT is on, to start with. Clearly,
the thing that most people talk about initially is, ‘I have not got time
to do this.’ In fact, quite often that is why they are ringing up people
like me to help them, because they think, ‘We know we need to be
doing this, but we have not got time and we do not know where to
focus.’ I think it really depends on are on the sell side, are they an
IT supplier? Is their main strategy to be seen as a thought leader,
as an expert, in this area so that they can potentially sell to a CIO
on the buy side? Are they a CIO with a big team? In which case, it
may well be that it is much more around communicating with a
large team. A CIO may have thousands of people that effectively
report to him, or her, so it may well be around communication
internally with a large team, or to just have debate, to get out there
and network virtually. It very much depends. There are a lot of
different angles to it and a lot of different objectives, really.

Bryan Glick: Can you think of any examples of people or
companies who you think use social media particularly well?

Mark Kobayashi-Hillary: I know JP Rangaswami, from BT, is
actually here at this event this evening. I would normally say
that he is a great example of this. He is an executive in a large
corporation like BT, but if you go and look at his blog, there is
nothing about his company, nothing about BT. Now and again,
he will mention the company because of some work that he is doing,
but quite often, he will have a blog post about cricket. I saw one that
he did not so long ago about mathematics, I forget what it was, it was
about prime numbers or something. He will have all kinds of stuff, just
basically stuff that he is bouncing around in his head, sometimes it is
around IT and sometimes it is around other subjects. I think that is a
really good leadership blog because he is basically steering totally
away from selling what it is that his company does. JP is a good
example because he has taken his blog to multiple companies
through his career.

There are other people out there doing stuff, like John Suffolk, the
Government CIO is a good example. If you look at his, he keeps
it very focused on IT leadership, what it takes to be a CIO, the stuff
he is thinking about, but pretty much nothing about his day-to-day job
or activities. There is nothing there that says, ‘I am about to hire 200
people, please email me.’ It is not about the day-to-day work, it is more
about, ‘What do I need to be thinking about as a CIO.’

Bryan Glick: Some people get it right. Every now and then somebody
gets it wrong gets it wrong and gets it wrong big time, and it makes it
into the national newspapers even. Can you think of examples of bad
practice where companies have really got their social media wrong?

Mark Kobayashi-Hillary: Yes. A lot of people have moved away from just
blogging into Twitter and using micro blogs, particularly companies that
are like B to C; they are selling directly to consumers. A great example
of a disaster in the last six months is Vodafone where their comms
people left a computer logged into Twitter for their corporate Twitter
account, and somebody typed in some pretty offensive homophobic
messages that were then broadcast to everybody, to thousands of
people reading stuff from Vodafone, and it just went into meltdown.
They were trying to then not only apologize to their customers, but of
course, the media picked up on it and everything snowballed into this
massive disaster for them. Clearly, there are examples like that, and
of course, there are a lot of examples from US, where people have
found that using YouTube as way to complain. Make a video about a
product or a service that has gone wrong, and to try and make it go
viral through their social networks, as United Airlines and Dominos
Pizza have found out, this can be a great way to complain about
something. What you really need to do is react and be in the network,
as well. When that Dominos Pizza case came out, the good thing about
how they handled that was the Chief Executive recorded his own handheld
video sitting in his office and posted it on YouTube as an apology. They
handled it quite well.

Bryan Glick: Some really good advice there, Mark, both learning from
what people do well, as well as learning what people do badly. Thank
you very much for talking to CW500 tonight. Mark Kobayashi-Hillary,
social media advisor and blogger.

Thank you very much for watching, again. I hope you found some of
Mark's advice useful, and I look forward to talking with you again soon.

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