Clients and employees love to see that their organization has online visibility and interacts with virtual communities. This is not a task that can be assigned to Marketing or HR. We need to see our executives and staff fully engaged and participating. So how can we help the busiest people in the world take an active role? With a little planning, adding social networking into one’s schedule doesn’t have to mean a major increase in workload. Here are some easily implemented tricks to get you started quickly.
Capture Ideas Using the Tools You Have on Hand
- Paper and Pen: If you’re a note-taker, jot down snippets and thoughts throughout the day so that you’ve got some ideas lined up and ready when you have a few moments to spend on Twitter or Facebook.
- Blackberry or Smartphone: Leverage the built-in tasks application. Each time you have an idea, create a task with the word “blog” or “facebook” or “Twitter” as the first word in the task title. Then, when you are ready to do some networking, simply type the common word you’ve chosen to designate social networking ideas and you will see them grouped together for quick retrieval.
- Notepad is an often overlooked program within Outlook. It provides a quick and easy way to capture ideas throughout the day (Ctrl+Shift+N in Outlook 2007).
- Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are easily connected so that your updates are either automatically or selectively shared to all. It’s easiest to do this from Facebook. Simply browse the Twitter applications and pick the one that suits you best.
- Or try Hootsuite. This program actually lets you assign tasks to team members and makes posting to multiple sites a breeze. I program my messages to publish automatically at times when I know I’ll be too busy to log in.
Biggest Tip of All: LISTEN TO THE COMMUNITY
Social networking is a two-way street. If you’re always talking and neglect listening, you will appear to be a marketer and will be ignored. Search the social sites to find out what people are saying about your company. Respond. Actually reach out. It’s what networking is all about.
The drive to reduce corporate expenses and the availability of communications technology are converging to impact the way we work and the way we lead. In the traditional work environment we rely on physical proximity to access the spirit and energy of teams. In contrast, the virtual team is tasked with building the same sense of community and shared purpose but from physically diverse locations. How do we do this? How do we leverage our current skills to build success on a virtual team? Continue reading “Virtual Leadership – Making Meetings Work”
Social media such as blogs, user communities, and social networks, reduce a company’s control over its image and public message. That’s a scary thought for many businesses. The April issue of Harvard Business Review contains a great example of how Harley-Davidson relinquished control and allowed social networking to build a community that today ranks the company among the top 50 global brands. According to authors Susan Fournier and Lara Lee this act of brand management bravery brought Harley-Davidson back from the brink of extinction.
“Getting Brand Communities Right” takes a good look at the three forms of community affiliation and provides popular examples of each.
Here is a question posted on LinkedIn recently: “What do you think are now the top 6 leadership attributes needed for this economic season?”
More than two dozen business people took the time to share some very well thought out responses. Two qualities stand out: Vision and Communication. According to my count, they show up 16 times.
That question was asked by Tom Schulte, Executive Director Linked 2 Leadership. You can find his question and all 30 responses here.
“I didn’t have time to write a short letter so I wrote a long one instead.”
This quotation has been variously attributed to Mark Twain, Pascal, Winston Churchill and Pliny the Younger among others. No matter who first coined it, the thought is timeless and resonates today. It points to the danger of communicating a message before we have taken the time to know it so well that we are able to distill it into its most basic essence.
If you’ve ever listened to someone try to explain something they really don’t understand and haven’t internalized, this quotation makes perfect sense. I experienced this in myself recently when a new hire asked me a great question that I hadn’t previously given much thought to. About 300 words into my rambling answer I stopped babbling and said I’d get back to him. Contrast that scenario with someone who has taken time to examine the topic. Their response is short, to the point, and almost beautiful.
I watched a short video on YouTube this morning that helped me realize why I enjoy Twitter. Twitter broadcasts – called microblogs – are short messages to the world. In 140 characters or less we seek to send something out there that will have meaning.
Leaders take the time to unravel and simplify complex situations. Microblogging could be seen as a tool to help us hone our craft.
Social media is the perfect platform for leadership development. After all, leadership is about reaching and engaging people. What better way to do that than through the global platform of social networking? It’s immediate, it’s two-way, and it’s far reaching. It also teaches the value of transparency. You cannot pretend to be something you are not and engage fully in social networking.
Leadership is also about willingness to accept risk – and there is definitely an element of risk in putting one’s self online for all to see. It’s not for the faint of heart but the potential rewards are awesome.