I love this blog from Damian Corbet (author of Social CEO) where he outlines all the reasons leaders and executives of companies shy away from embracing social media.
Damian has pretty much heard all the excuses but he's also witnessed the positive outcomes that come with social leadership.
For this book he interviewed CEO's from around the world and all industries (profit and non-profit). He has see the unquestionable advantages of social activation regardless of industry.
He outlined the key reasons CEO's should be social - I've embellished a little from my own personal experience:
Social media is a great way to scale your authentic self to people you haven't yet met but automation is where many people go wrong here. Auto following, auto tweeting, hashtag stuffing - it all feels a bit one way. Be conversational and be yourself.
When we say transparency we don't mean sharing trade secrets, financial reports or customer projects. Transparency is giving people access to how you work, where you work, why you work. As a leader, showing people you're human is relatable to your team. On my Friday Update videos with my team I often talk about my 'blunder of the week' - openly, honestly and transparently. I'm human too.
Personal branding (should that be important to you)
Building your brand will help you build your network of relationships but you need to think about this. What do you want to be known for? What topics interest you? What do you stop and read about online? These are the topics that differentiate you so build your brand around what you care about.
Your personal brand will inevitably support the corporate brand - not in the parrot fashion kind of way. I don't support the 'corporate robot' way of building personal brands. You should build your unique leadership brand on digital platforms in such a way that you're a credit to your organisation and not just a corporate employee.
Building your leadership brand is a great way to connect to your future employees. Top talent will be researching, learning and building a picture of the culture before reaching out and applying for a role. Your digital leadership profile can support this process for your next hire.
Engaging with employees
Understanding and engaging with your employee community on social media is one of the best things you can do to encourage a social culture. Showing that you're watching, you're re-sharing and engaging with their content is a huge motivation for employees.
The ability to build your network of connections and relationships is key. You never know where the next referral is coming from so build your digital network and stay front of mind with them.
Listening and learning
The next trends, conversations and ideas come from life-long learning. Recognising that you don't know everything but there are people out there who do.
Social media provides the best feedback - the honest touch with reality that you need (but often don't want) to hear. It keeps you grounded.
Some of my best inspiration comes from listening and when I'm not out and about listening to customers in meetings, I listen on social media!
People sometimes say to me CEOs are far too busy to be bothered with social media. That it’s a waste of time and not a CEO’s job – or worse – that it’s just asking for trouble putting oneself ‘out there’. This misses the point entirely. Social media is about embracing the ‘social age’ and being a modern leader. It’s also a fantastic tool – and can be a positive experience. It’s not a burden, or a waste of time, or a liability – it’s something that can really add value to your working life. Especially so as we move into 2020, where transparency is becoming so important. The days of the CEO being barricaded in the proverbial corner office and cut off from reality are gone.