“Hell, there are no rules here - we're trying to accomplish something.”
It could be any modern-day business leader speaking -- but Thomas Edison spoke these words in 1903, long before social media existed. In the digital age, any leader who ignores Edison’s thinking is short-sighted at best -- the Internet has no rulebook and few boundaries. Social media is here to stay.
For more than 25 years, I’ve been leading organisations of all sizes in countries with very different cultures. It was a huge learning opportunity, and I believe that an open-minded leader looking for genuine business advantage needs a strong social strategy.
Preparing the ground for this transformation is vital and the only logical jump-off point lies within your organisation. Unlocking the energy of your socially active employees is a great place to start.
Recognition: Your People are Your Most Trusted supporters
As the Millennial Generation gets more involved in the world of work, global acceptance of social-media business tools grows. By the end of 2013, according to eMarketer, there will be more than 1.7 billion social-network users worldwide. Year-on-year growth remains in double digits.
Your customers and your employees are already talking about you online – join those discussions and your business will be affected in ways you don't even imagine. Your social reputation influences everything from recruitment to research – the best people want to work for companies where their connections enjoy their jobs.
According to Nielsen, 92% of people trust recommendations from people that they know – more than from any other source. Most also take action on these recommendations, a powerful endorsement for Employee Advocacy. Harness this energy for the benefit of your organisation.
Taking Action: Encourage Employee Advocates and Build a Strong Social Presence
Set clear objectives for yourself and your business. Positive messages about a company from existing team members are always good signs for customers, potential employees and your wider audience.
Encourage your people to share material that aligns with your business objectives. You can’t (and shouldn’t try to) force your views on your team, but you can offer incentives to those who are receptive. The benefits can be substantial - encouraging your employees to share your corporate message increases your reach 10-fold.
Explain the guidelines for using social media for business purposes, give your people the right tools for the job and provide them with plenty of “on-message” content to share. The results will shock you...
Leading By Example: Now It’s Up to You...
In the Social Business, the single most critical success factor is the role played by an organisation’s leaders. If you have a clear idea of where to go and your people are on board ... your company has no limits.
Leave your people in no doubt about the culture you want to create and the results you want to achieve. Communicate personally and often, until your vision and your values are widely known. Every one of your involvements strengthens your organisation and drives exceptional business achievements.
So, do you aspire to be a great social leader?