Ever since Gartner predicted that CMOs would be spending more on technology than the IT department, we’ve been hearing all about the chief marketer’s growing influence. And with the explosion in vendors selling “MarTech,” it seems Gartner’s prediction may come to pass. But what about the other side of the equation–the CIO?

What’s their perspective on the most pressing IT issues during this turbulent time? Are they becoming more marketing and customer focused, thinking it’s business as usual, or considering their own power plays within the C-Suite? And what are the implications for the army of B2B marketers that still sell to CIOs?

Social Media and the CIO

My firm, Leadtail, collaborated with the folks at Robert Half to delve into these very questions by looking at the Twitter activity of 524 CIOs and IT leaders. Specifically, we analyzed 83,314 tweets and 47,936 shared links to better understand the topics IT executives are interested in, what they’re reading and sharing, and which people and publications most influence them on social media. The results were summarized in the research report Social Media and the CIO.

Here are some of the findings…

IT Topics: The Hot List

What did we discover? We compiled the top hashtags used by IT executives to identify the topics grabbing their attention. What did we discover? Cloud computing, big data, cyber security, and mobile are perennial hot topics for CIOs, but there are also many conversations happening that reflect their growing focus on innovation, the “Internet of Things,” and everything Apple related. As the graphic below illustrates, IT leaders also engage in a breadth of topics including (yes!) marketing-oriented content and leadership.

Top Publications CIOs Read and Share

In an age of information overload, which publications are CIOs are prioritizing? It may be surprising to find out that technology executives not only read and share IT publications like CIO.com, CIO Straight Talk, and CIO Magazine, but also Forbes, Harvard Business Review, and Business Insider. Clearly, they’re making it a priority to become better business leaders while staying current on technology issues and innovations.

Here are the top ten publications shared by CIOs on Twitter:

1. CIO.com, @CIOOnline

2. Forbes, @Forbes

3. TechCrunch, @TechCrunch

4. Wired, @Wired

5. Fast Company, @FastCompany

6. Harvard Business Review, @HarvardBiz

7. The Wall Street Journal, @WSJ

8. Mashable, @Mashable

9. Forbes Tech News, @ForbesTech

10. Business Insider, @businessinsider

People Most Mentioned by IT Leaders

Social media has given each of us the ability to create a personal brand, grow an audience, and influence others. The list below shows the top ten people mentioned by the IT executives in our study. Whether their tweets are timely, topical, provocative, or data-driven, each has created a unique social voice that resonates with CIOs.

1. Vala Afshar, @ValaAfshar

2. Marc Andreessen, @pmarca

3. R Ray Wang, @rwang0

4. Michael Krigsman, @mkrigsman

5. Satya Nadella, @satyanadella

6. David A. Bray, @fcc_cio

7. Aaron Levie, @levie

8. Marc Benioff, @Benioff

9. Tim Crawford, @tcrawford

10. Brian Katz, @bmkatz

How B2B Marketers Can Use This Data

Is the CIO an important player in your buying process? Then you should:

  • Use hashtags popular with IT leaders when distributing brand content on social media
  • Curate social content from the top publications that CIOs read and share
  • Consider the top publications when developing your PR and media buying strategies
  • Follow, engage, and build relationships with the people that IT executives retweet and mention often
  • Tap into stories and conversations from top publications and influencers when looking for content ideas

The full report on CIOs also includes data on which social networks IT leaders are most active on, the top apps and platforms that drive their Twitter sharing, and the 20 people and publications CIOs retweet most.

Carter Hostelley

About Carter Hostelley

Carter Hostelley is the Founder and CEO of Leadtail, a social strategy and insights firm. For the past five years, he has championed the importance of social media to CMOs and senior marketers at leading business brands and venture-backed companies. Specifically, how social media can reach, engage, and influence buyers. He also writes about B2B social marketing and customer experience for CMSWire. You can reach him on Twitter: @carterhostelley