Gandhi said “You must be the change you want to see in the world“. Leaders would be wise to follow his advice when trying to bring about change in their organization. There is no point expecting others to change if you don’t proactively “live the change” yourself. As we are all increasingly involved in social networks and consume social media, there is a lot of advice out there about how Leaders should get involved.
Let me add a couple of thoughts based on my own experience.
First, decide whether you are using social networks as “yourself’ or as your enterprise, and why you are using them. This is not a trivial decision. Of course, none of us gets followed as much as we might like to be – but you must decide “who” you are on the web. Either way, whatever you say is a) there forever and b) in public sight. So, think that everything you post might one day be on the front page of the New York Times, and that will help you decide how to write and what to write about
Second, carefully define and then consistently execute your personal brand. What are you all about. You should have a consistent profile picture (I use the same one in all of my online personas). And what you say about yourself should be equally consistent. In particular, your LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ profile should be very similar. In my opinion, and I may be picky, but what you say about yourself should be word-for-word identical. You can cut things, but what is left should read the same. You will also find the Twitter “short profile” very helpful, as it forces you to use clear bullet points .
Third, don’t dabble – either do it or don’t bother. You don’t have to be online all of the time, but consistency is better than bursts of activity. I will build your following and also help you to get your brand across. On the other hand, don’t obsess. I am guilty of thinking my Klout score is important, but to be honest it doesn’t really matter 😉
Fourth, encourage your team to use social networks – but have a clear social media & networks policy. Gandhi was right. If you want your enterprise to embrace technology and by implication social networks, you have to let people use them. If you a retailer, you’d want people to visit the store, wouldn’t you? But, and it is an important but, have a very clear policy on using social media. remember, anything your team says could be on the front page of the NYT.