Today it isn’t just enough to be a great leader. You need to have a strong, polished, and well-managed social component. Leading in social media is much different than the types of leadership that you, as a traditional CEO or senior manager, may be used to performing under within your organization.
Becoming a social leader — and especially in traditional B2B organizations — requires an entire mindset shift.
Why is it important to become a social leader, though?
Put simply, right now anyone who wants to do business with your company — investors, buyers, employees, customers, partners — will look for you online. You can’t be invisible. You must be visible, but in the right way. You need to be engaged, essentially.
Leaders that have put a social aspect into their daily lives have witnessed increased media and target attention, which has led to:
- Increased market share
- Increased sales
- More investors
- More media coverage
Think about how your business is doing right now. Would you want more of the four things above? I assume you would.
On an individual level, social CEOs increase their OWN business value by being appropriately social.
Conversely, when a social brand is not present, not powerful, not managed, not engaging and not nurturing, the CEO and organization face a danger of bad press, lost sales and a poor online reputation for the company.
Whether you are a recent CEO or an accomplished C-Level executive, it is critical that you establish yourself as a social leader. Social leadership is attained partly by developing and growing your personal brand online and having an ongoing process for building community and responding to inquiries and comments on that brand.
What are the initial steps to becoming a social leader?
The first work you need to do in establishing your Social Brand is to determine how you will be involved, where you will be involved and what resources you may need to support your brand. I call this Social Brand Planning. Initially, you need to ask yourself the following 7 questions. I suggest you really do this:
- Where are you already present online? Do you have a full and current bio page on your website with social links?
- What social channels are you active in? Do you have active profiles on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook (Branded Page), G+ (Business Page)? Are these profiles current, polished and engaging? Are you on YouTube (Do you contribute to a Playlist of your Company channel)?
- What Apps and Messaging Tools Do you utilize for business relationships? Skype, Google Hangout, WhatsApp? Facebook Messenger? LinkedIn Connect? (Many leaders ignore LinkedIn as a communication channel, but you shouldn’t.)
- Is your own Social Brand being tracked? Do you know your own sentiment? Is being done daily?
- Do you write or contribute to your company blog? Do you have your own blog?
- Do you take online interviews from industry media? If so, whom, how often and how is this managed?
- Are you at the helm of any online communities? Do you find yourself not only partaking in discussions with certain groups, but also leading the conversation?
You should really take your time in completing these initial questions to get started in becoming a Social Leader.
In my next article, I will go into more advanced tactics to start developing a Personal Brand Online where you will begin to visualize how it can truly support your business growth.