Some of the country’s most-followed CIOs on social media outline how others can get started

social-media-cioJust attend any national higher education conference and you’ll see that being a Chief Information Officer (CIO) at an institution today also means being active on social networking sites.

CIOs at universities across the county are being asked to help their institution’s brand outreach and community growth by embracing Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and other platforms, like LinkedIn.

But whether it’s using Twitter to update students about network maintenance, or using Google Apps to manage projects, social media is growing and many CIOs need a cohesive strategy to make sure they’re not just posting the equivalent of YouTube cat videos in random tweets.

Finding new and innovative uses for improving productivity while also building a professional network, can be accomplished, say the most active—but also successful—CIOs on social networks.

We talked to four CIOs from universities across the country to put together a short list of essential social media tips to make communicating with students, administrators and faculty not only easy, but effective:

1. Start

Perhaps the best tip CIOs who use social media can give to other university administrators is to simply start using social media. “If you are not using social platforms to engage your stakeholders, even a few small steps can help you engage and learn more about what is important to your team, faculty members, students and community,” said Scott Studham, the CIO for the University of Minnesota.

Although there may be a stigma that social media is a waste of time, or has no place in a professional environment outside of promotion or advertising, the best way CIOs can help dispel these negative ideas is to begin using social media in ways that help manage projects or help connect with students in addition to building their professional network. “If you are skeptical that’s fine, but if you haven’t used it and are skeptical then think again,” Stephen Lamb, CIO at British Columbia Institute of Technology, said. “Social media tools like Twitter can appear irrelevant, frivolous or even overwhelming at first glance, but as with most tools, how you use it is where you will find the value.  So my best advice is dive in.”

(Next page: Knowing your market; controlling content)


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