Social media keyboard

With one tweet a day, some of the top CIOs in the UK have increased awareness of the customer experience offered by the products and services of their organisation.

So, what can we learn from their social media involvement? The top platform for social media usage is Twitter. CIOs in the CIO 100 have been able to engage with their customers, peers and trusted vendors on a personal and informative level via Twitter.

One of the fundamental benefits of using Twitter as a CIO is the power to reach so many people at once; it is used by over 304 million people. For this reason Twitter has become an extremely powerful marketing tool. For CIOs that means they can promote and share to a large number of people any upcoming changes to their business. Through tweeting, re-tweeting and linking trending topics through hashtags they are able to reach and discuss with a vast number of people with a common interest.

Many of the top CIOs re-tweet their company's latest updates, and thus are taking an active part in the organisation's marketing. Andy Caddy, CIO at health club chain Virgin Active, re-tweeted the launch of Soulmate food at the business. A CIO's tweet raises awareness of their company, like all media, it may fall on death ears, Caddy's followers include tech providers Blackthorn and CloudchannelTV, through to customers.

Analysing the tweets by CIOs in the CIO 100 it is clear many like to share the lessons they have learnt in their roles. Many use Twitter to not only communicate to their followers beyond their business, but also to their team members and colleagues so that they can generate ideas and share experiences within the company in a social and open way.

Today's CIO is using social media to not only talk among their colleagues, but also reach out to individuals to achieve a broad response. Robert Teagle CIO of Starbucks congratulates his team on the "Great stores in Spain - excellent marketing".

It is necessary for a CIO to create a clear vision that they can articulate into a concise and simple strategy. Social CIO 100 members are using Twitter for maintaining a motivational and inspirational atmosphere among their team. Rail operator CIO Yiannis John Seglias motivated his team's efforts in the Scotrail IT switchover which took place overnight as he tweeted: "That's how the Abellio IT team survived and "smashed" the overnight Scotrail IT switch over. Well done team".

Social platforms have widened how CIOs can lead their team so that they deliver the strategy which is a key element to being an executive leader. CIOs who engaged in tweets about improvements and changes within the business have kept their team motivated by sharing updates of how the improvements that they have recently made have had a positive effect on the company as well as making constructive ideas for the future. Geoff Connell ICT Director at London Boroughs Newham & Havering replied to Phil Rumens that "@PhilRumens yes being able to add scoring to completed projects could help promote component reuse. And we really need more of that in LRG".

CIOs cite that one of the top challenges of their role is to create a high performance leadership team for IT and to develop talent. With Twitter, leadership issues can be shared, giving advice to others. Carolyn Brown CIO at Durham University states: "Strategy, not Tech, Drives Digital Transformation." But it takes a Leader to create & deliver a Strategy". Key leadership points and quotes are shared by the top CIOs who attend conference meetings or interview panels which act as a useful resource to other CIOs interested in the topic as well as documenting their involvement with other CIOs. CIO of energy firm Centrica Rod Carr made a tweet including a slogan which stood out to him at the presentation: "Best slogan seen @TechSummit "every cloud has an orange lining", and after, sharing a picture of the event in action.

An increasing number of CIOs are using Twitter to target different areas of the business and share it with their audience. The most transformational CIOs use Twitter as a means to get instant social messages out to their company's audience, whether that is of colleagues or potential customers, they have proven how the rise in social media can benefit their business in immense ways.