In Part 4 of “Social Media for the CIO”, we’ll explore 3 considerations that should be top of mind for CIOs who want to deliver scaleable social media solutions for the enterprise.

The perceived role of the CIO is undergoing a major transformation. Traditionally, the CIO has been viewed as the person who simply runs the IT organization, but according to John Mahoney, VP Distinguished Analyst at Gartner, the future CIO has a more expansive and transformational role to play: ensuring that the enterprise achieves strategic value from the use of technology. In other words, CIOs must drive business growth, not just keep the lights on.

Social media is an area where CIOs are required in both capacities. Enterprises need to address some operational challenges, especially security and account provisioning, but they also have enormous opportunities to increase customer value and generate revenue from social media. The key to success is enhancing business relationships on a massive scale, through technologies that are not only secure, but reliable, accessible and global.

Enter the social relationship platform. When deployed across multiple teams and geographies, a social relationship platform brings social media out of its silo. It allows people from anywhere in the enterprise to engage customers, prospects or partners through social channels. Here are three things a CIO should consider when looking for a scaleable social relationship platform:

1. Prepare for major user growth.

In part 1 of this series, we looked at how CIOs can create a governance framework to cut down on unmanaged account sprawl. By centralizing ownership of social media accounts within a single social relationship platform, CIOs can help eliminate redundant and off-brand profiles; however, once there’s a secure system in place to provision user access and maintain brand safety, social media expansion will continue apace.

Jeremiah Owyang, formerly of Altimeter Group, has identified a pattern in the social media “headcounts” of enterprises as their social media programs mature. At first, there’s unchecked growth in the number of staff involved with social media efforts. Eventually, a leadership group (which might include the CIO) consolidates unmanaged programs and might even reduce the headcount of social media teams; then, once a scalable strategy is implemented across the enterprise, there’s explosive growth in the number of workers participating on social media.

The right technology needs to be in place to support a spike in user accounts once an organization diversifies its activities on social media, supplementing social media marketing with social selling and social customer service. HootSuite Enterprise supports upwards of 500,000 users and unlimited social network accounts.

2. Look beyond the social media manager.

Effectively communicating with thousands or even millions of customers on social media requires more than a handful of dedicated social media managers, so a CIO who wants the compounding benefits of social media at scale should look for tools that are likely to be widely adopted in the workplace.

As HootSuite CEO Ryan Holmes recently explained, social media skills are no longer a specialist’s domain. Enterprises are tapping into a broader cross section of their workforce to participate on social media, both internally and externally. While there might always be a need for social media managers and strategists to guide new initiatives, social media is becoming part of everyone’s job. In this business environment, a social relationship platform needs to be as useful and accessible to sales professionals, product experts and thought leaders as it is to power users on the social media team.

CIOs and other IT leaders can also help their organizations create scalable programs for social media training. Most employees at a typical enterprise have their own profiles on Facebook, LinkedIn or other networks, and a growing number of them are engaging customers and prospects through social channels on the company’s behalf. Training all of them in social media best practices — and generating proof of their training for legal or compliance purposes — is a daunting task. As we discussed in part 3, CIOs can help close the training gap by leveraging on-demand social media courseware.

Ultimately, bringing a more diverse set of employees onto social media to engage customers is easier than it sounds. Using a scaleable social relationship platform, anyone in the organization can assign social media messages to their teammates or even to colleagues in other departments. Technical inquiries, sales leads or other issues that could never be properly addressed by an isolated social media team can be forwarded to the most relevant people in the organization, who can then respond to the message through the same unified interface. If necessary, their outbound communications can be reviewed by authorized individuals to ensure policy compliance.

3. Think Globally.

In addition to scaling across different business functions like marketing and customer service, a social relationship platform must meet the needs of different geographic units within the enterprise. Localized versions of the platform and language filters for social media monitoring are vital for organizations with a global presence.

Global brands typically have social media practitioners who specialize in particular regions and languages. Limiting the scope of their publishing activities to the right audiences is a crucial element of social media governance. A social relationship platform allows administrators to make sure that only the right users have access to local, regional or language-specific social media accounts.

HootSuite Enterprise takes this granular permissions control one step further for Facebook’s global brand pages. HootSuite Enterprise Geo-Fencing lets administrators decide which locations and languages will be targeted by each team member who contributes to a Facebook page. By “fencing” users’ communications into a defined territory or language group, an organization can streamline its publishing approval process and bring more contributors into its social media program.

Of course, Facebook’s global brand pages aren’t the only places where global audiences interact with brands. HootSuite Enterprise allows organizations to manage their presences on regional social networks, including Sina Weibo in China, VK in Russia, and Mixi in Japan.

The full guide, Secure Your Social Organization with HootSuite Enterprise is available for download. To learn more about how HootSuite Enterprise helps you scale up social business, request a demo today.