As we turn to social distancing to combat the most serious global threat in recent history, social media is bringing us together. We’re using it to stay informed, organize community outreach efforts, and communicate with our family, friends, and coworkers.
As a leader during this challenging time, you have a huge opportunity to harness the power of social media. Your employees are worried about their health, their families, their jobs, their communities, and the overall state of the world. Clear and direct communication can help calm those fears and help everyone focus on the future — even when the future is uncertain.
If you haven’t incorporated social media into your communication strategy, now is the time. Here are 10 ways you can use social media and benefit as a leader by doing so:
1. Create an Open Environment
Employees always value open communication — the more transparent and comfortable their work environment is, the more they feel valued, respected, and secure. Social media helps you create an open atmosphere where people at all levels in your company can feel that they have access to you and will be heard.
2. Receive Real-time, Unfiltered Feedback
When you’re trying to make important decisions that impact your business and your employees, you can’t underestimate the power of social media. You can start conversations, pose questions, solicit ideas, and get rapid feedback from all levels of your organization. That speed of response is valuable at all times, but especially during a crisis.
3. Control the Weather
There’s a saying: “Leaders control the weather.” In other words, people pay attention to your mood and take their lead from you. When you show that you are upbeat and positive about the future — both through social media content and authentic conversation — your optimism reaches more people and has a greater impact on their work.
4. Promote Your Initiatives
Social media can get your message out to more people faster than any other form of communication. Your stories reach a broader audience, which helps you align your team and get everyone moving in the same direction.
5. Praise Your Employees
Using social media to express your appreciation for your staff is a valued way to reward their hard work. It makes their successes more visible to upper management as well as other divisions of the company, encourages peer-to-peer acknowledgement, and allows their friends and family to see how important their contribution is.
6. Promote Your Company Culture
When an organization is visible on social media, people gain insight into the company’s values. And when leaders and employees are active, they add credibility and reinforce that culture. This interconnectedness makes people excited to join — and stay — with your team, which boosts employee recruitment and retention.
7. Gain Invaluable Insights
Social media comes with its own mammoth amount of data — a vital resource for gaining insights that can lead to immediate action and better business decisions. And this isn’t just back-end data. Simply pay attention to your online communities and monitor social conversations among your employees and your clients, and you’ll gain a better understanding of how people think — and you’ll be able to identify real-time opportunities.
8. Build Relationships with Peers
You enhance your career when you maintain a support network of peers on your team, across your company, and outside the business. With social media, it’s easy to build that network, stay in touch, and create rapport. Strong ties give you leverage and support, while weak ties stimulate new ideas and introduce opportunities.
9. Expand Your Perspective
When all your information comes through a standard set of channels, you risk being blind-sided by something you missed — a problem, a challenge, or an issue can catch you unaware. Social media provides you with an avenue to hear from people you would never otherwise have access to. You can learn from people with vastly different viewpoints and experience, you can question your assumptions, and you can gain access to perspectives you wouldn’t otherwise experience.
10. Make a Bigger Dent in the Universe
When you use social media to communicate, you raise your profile in your industry. The more you speak out, the more you build your audience. You can use that reach to advocate for causes you believe in, as well as contribute to the changes you want to see in the world.
Leaders who embrace the opportunity to use social media to share ideas, establish a reputation, earn trust, and build relationships discover that they have more impact and a greater ability to contribute to the business and the world.
This is especially important when your business is treading in uncharted waters. When you can rely on the connections you make via social media, both internal and outside your business, you’ll be more prepared for any opportunity or challenge that comes your way.
Are you ready to take your communication strategy to the next level? Making the most of your time on LinkedIn is a good place to start. Go beyond adding connections — and actually connect with people.
Want to talk about how you could use social media strategically, given your current opportunities and goals? Schedule a 15-minute conversation.