How to Use Social Media for Better LeadershipOctober, 24 2012
Social media has become an increasingly important communication channel for building connections between brands and their advocates, but most executives don’t want to think about another social network.
Alexandra Samuel, contributor to the Wall Street Journal, takes a look at social networks and how business executives misread their value because of misunderstandings and intimidation.
Samuel says a common concern of executives is how they can add another social platform, task list, or set of relationships to their already full plate?
A social network isn’t another responsibility for executives. Samuel says it can be a personal toolbox for improving your practice of leadership.
Following are six ways Samuel suggests executives use social media to enhance their leadership.
Create a Dashboard
Use the web to search for ideas, news, research, anything offering insight into new leadership models, summaries of new business books, or changes in leadership with the influx of Millennials in the workforce.
Aggregators such as Google Reader or apps such as Zite or Flipboard allow you to subscribe to blogs, columns, and news searches. Samuel suggests setting aside 15 to 30 minutes a day to read the articles that speak to you or make it your end-of-day reading.
Social productivity, planning, and visualization tools can keep your focus. Samuels suggests mind-mapping tools such as:
- MindMeister.com can help you organize by making diagrams of your priorities for the year or quarter. These diagrams will help remind you of what everyone needs to do to meet your goals.
- OneTask feeds you one task at a time so you don’t get overwhelmed by everything you need to do.
- Pinterest offers users a way to create virtual pinboards. Create an online vision board to keep your team inspired.
- Try using Yammer for internal use. You can start a group for your team and invite trusted colleagues to it. Share interesting articles, industry news, team updates, post questions, etc.
- If you find you are sending “read this” emails to your staff, start tweeting them instead. What you consider “must-reads” will be interesting to your Twitter followers.
- When you give a speech, record it and post it on YouTube.
- Set up an Intranet and highlight a team member every month. Your appreciation means more when it’s made public.
Create a CEO-cial Network
As a business leader you engage and connect with a lot of people on a variety of social networks. This might be too many to sustain meaningful connections with each and every person. Samuels suggests building a CEO-cial network: A set of five to 15 respected and trusted executives, leaders, and advisers. Create a list on Twitter and a circle on Google+ containing only these people so it’s easy to see what they are talking about on the social networks and it’s also easy to engage and communicate with them. Make this list the first one you check whenever you sit down with any of those social networks.
Take Time for Yourself
Find a social media network you find relaxing and enjoyable whether it’s a photo-sharing community or a Words With Friends game. It should be something you can do anywhere and all you need is some genuine downtime so your experience isn’t an energy drain, but an energy restorer.
The most effective leaders throughout history have been great communicators. Social media has a lot to offer, so use it to your advantage.
How has social media benefited your leadership?