How social media teaches us about leadership

Guest blogger:

Jon BakerJon BakerOpen University Business School MBA Alumnus; the “5 to 50” business coach, speaker, sales trainer. 

At first glance social media and leadership might not sound too similar, but stop for a moment, have you ever thought about good social media practice? What do you think makes a person successful in social media?

Now think about leadership. We know that leadership is important in both small firms and much larger ones. Good leadership is essential as you build a good team and contributes to the success of your company. So what do you think makes a good leader? Recently a client conversation made me connect leadership and social media.

Social media and leadership

ThinkstockThere is one word that connects leadership with social media, that’s ‘followers’.

Getting people to follow you, somewhere they probably wouldn’t have gone without you, is a key leadership skill. You need to make them want to go there. Being able to force them there is not as effective or productive.

‘Followers’ became a trendy word because of Twitter. Now think about Leadership: Is inspiring people to work for you not more effective than forcing them?

7 leadership tips to inspire more followers

  • Give short, concise, and consistent messages: Sporadically communicating on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn is not a good policy. Regular, consistent, and concise messages will make followers want to look to see what’s new.
  • Messages that are interesting: When your social media content is not interesting, your followers will stop following. It’s important that messages are interesting to your followers, not just to you.
  • You need to be yourself: Sound bites maybe what you need to use to get attention (and in Twitter they are all you get!). However, when people feel like they know you, they are more likely to help you succeed. As with face to face, it is important to forge a connection with your followers.
  • Attitude: Do you prefer to follow positive or negative people? Putting out an occasional sarcastic tweet might be good fun, but doing a ‘BMW’ (bitching, moaning and whining) all the time will lose you followers. In the real world, have you ever known a person who drains your energy with their negative persona? I bet you try to avoid them. The same will be true online and you won’t follow them for long. It is only you that can choose your attitude, so choose it and share it well – or become known as an energy drain.
  • The ‘retweet’ (RT): “Outstanding leaders go out of their way to boost the self-esteem of their personnel. If people believe in themselves, it’s amazing what they can accomplish” (Sam Walton). If that isn’t what a RT does, what is it? What can you do to pass on good messages from your team, and make them feel good?
  • Share the big picture: What are you really about? If your tribe doesn’t know you (your vision, your goals), will they follow you for long?
  • Keep an eye on your vision: If it’s your vision and values that will inspire (or at least interest) others, make sure you keep close to them. It’s easy to get lost in replying to all the tweets and forget what you are really on social media for. Spend time revisiting your vision regularly; don’t lose track of what you’re really there for.

Leadership is about influencing people to do the right things that will help your bottom line. Do you think social media is about leadership? Share your views in the comment area.

This article was written by Jon Baker of venture-Now.  Jon helps professionals grow their firms from 5 to 50 employees, sustainably and profitably while they still have fun.

One thought on “How social media teaches us about leadership

  1. I definitely agree that social media is about leadership. The most striking thing for me is social media’s ability to connect those at the very top levels of an organisation with employees at every level. It helps break down any distance or barriers in between, and can bring leaders – and their vision and communications – closer to everyone.

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