‘CIOs must create a digital presence!’

Avinash Velhal, Group CIO IMEA, VP, Head IT and Process at Atos International , on the advantages of being a social CIO. By Shweta Gandhi

Avinash Velhal has an interesting hashtag that appears both on his Twitter and LinkedIn profile: #MostSocialIndianCIO. It’s a tag he’s been awarded for being extremely active on Twitter. “If you’re not on social media today, you’re not in the here and now,” Avinash says. “Most CIOs I know tweet only during events, and that’s not even a part of their identity.” His advice to fellow CIOs? “You need to create a digital presence!” He goes on to tell us why it is vital for CIOs to be active on social media and the far-reaching advantages of doing so.

It helps you stay connected and updated 24/7
“Being active on social media keeps you up-to-date with what’s happening in the tech world and you can also stay in touch with the global cross-community of CIOs and exchange notes with them. This helps you understand the global portfolio and improve cultural interactivity. It also gives you reach and helps you personally connect with so many people you wouldn’t meet or talk to otherwise, which is great. I primarily use two mediums—Twitter and LinkedIn. My Twitter following has CIOs from across the globe and the local community. Recently I’ve started tapping into the startup industry, so I follow startups creating a digital transformation and, of course, the IoT (Internet of Things).”

It makes you a thought leader
“On Twitter, people normally comment and engage with your tweets, which are your thoughts. This aids in building an intellectual discussion within your area of expertise. The secret is nothing but good tweeting. The content has to be good and genuine, rather than ‘Hi’ or ‘Hello.’ I’ve learnt that people will follow you if you add value to them and they add value to you. You get to read many articles through this medium and share them with people who’ll be interested in reading them. I normally tweet articles related to CIOs, the startup community or the IoT, and use proper hashtags. I’m currently in 30-40 lists, some of which are startups, and this way the reach of my tweets is manifold, and I’m reaching people from the right community.”

It acts as a personal branding tool
“Recently a global magazine got in touch with me for an interview and they found out about me from my Twitter profile. Twitter has opened up a lot of doors for me—I get invited for many panels. I was on the jury for the ICT India Awards last year. I’ve seen my analytics grow by leaps and bounds—I gain 200 followers almost every month. There are so many tools that you can use on Twitter to analyse how well your tweets are performing. Social media analytics can also tell you the most optimum time to post your tweet so as to generate maximum traffic. You can even schedule tweets at a particular time—all these tools make it very easy to manage and make sure your tweets are effective. My Klout score (a website and app that ranks users according to online social influence) is currently 55, which is quite good!”

It helps boost your company’s engagement
“Digital PR and digital marketing are easy mediums to exploit to increase your ecommerce operations if you know your ropes well. It is a new arena where the globe is your house, depending whom you are targeting. The key is to select one medium and focus on it. I created an account on Twitter in 2006, but I was inactive then. I became really active only last year, and now I tweet every day as I have seen its benefits. Primarily, I use Twitter to orient myself with tech news, but sometimes I tweet about my company Atos. For example, Atos is partnering with the Olympic Games, which are now using cloud technology. So I tweeted about that. I do use Facebook, but it’s only for personal reasons. And LinkedIn is for purely professional reasons. I think Twitter bridges both those two worlds well. I consider it a much better medium than WhatsApp!” 

Categories:   Lifestyle, Work Buzz


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