10 Things you may be doing wrong with Social Media if you are a Business Leader.

I have written a number of posts, and have been involved in many training sessions, about how to craft a Social Media presence, and how to leverage Social Selling.

Very rarely do I see articles and blogs about Social Media and Leadership.

First of all, everything from your personal-brand, to your company’s brand, is a highly subjective topic. I will not pretend to know exactly what you should do…that would require me getting to know you and your objectives.

However, here is a series of questions and comments you should consider when crafting your Social Presence.

Before we start, let’s get one major reality out on the table: before we meet with people, we look them up online.  We check for a LinkedIn profile, we Google them, and we may even look for a Twitter, Facebook or Google+ presence.  If you don’t believe this, then I am sorry to be the one breaking the news.  So, here are the questions you need to consider as a Leader in a Social World:

  1. If someone is applying for a job with your company, and they find your LinkedIn profile, do you come across as someone they would want to work for?
    1. What is your Brand as a Leader, is it Expressed in your Profile?
    2. What would it be like to work for you, will I figure that out looking at your profile?
  2. Lets assume your direct report is named Mary.  If Mary is meeting with a prospective new client next week, and this prospect looks up Mary on LinkedIn, what impression will they have of Mary before she walks in the door?
    1. Is Mary’s brand inline with your corporate brand?
    2. Will you be proud of the image that precedes Mary into her meeting?
  3. Do you inspect your Direct Report’s online presence as part of your job?
    1. If your direct report dressed inappropriately for a meeting, would you speak up?  Then why won’t you inspect their Social Profiles in the same way
    2. Is Social-Selling Activity part of your feedback sessions?  If not, that is a topic for another post.
  4. As a Leader, some day you might need to make a “Manager-Level” call, or handle an “Escalated Issue,” with a client.  If your client follows up this phone call, with a visit to your Social Sites, do you come across as the type of person with the authority to be making these decisions?
  5. Is your Facebook page public?  If it is, you need to understand how Facebook works.
    1. Can your friends post on your wall without your approval?
    2. What if an old friend posts an inappropriate picture or joke on your wall, and a clients or direct report sees it before you do?
  6. Do you have a twitter account?  Is your twitter account for business or personal?  If you have a publicly visible twitter account, then you must ask yourself:
    1. If someone doesn’t know me, but they see my tweets, will their impression of me be in line with my professional image?
    2. Is the content I tweet, and the Organizations/People I follow, supportive of my professional brand as a leader of people?
  7. None of these statements absolve you of responsibility for what you do online:
    1. “Tweets are my own.”
    2. “Comments expressed here are mine, and not the opinion of my employer.”
    3. “This is my personal site, I do not discuss business here.”
    4. or anything else similar to this.
  8. As a follow-up to #7, if you don’t like this reality, then here is something to ponder:
    1. If you do something stupid in a mall, it could cost you your job.
    2. If you do something stupid in your front yard, where a neighbor might see you, it could cost you your job.
    3. If you do something stupid in your house, with the blinds drawn, then you will probably be okay.
    4. Think of a Public Social Media Presence as the Mall, a Private Social Media Presence is your front yard, and being Off-Line is being in your house with the curtains drawn.
  9. If you use the Twitter Handle @AcmeService, and you leave Acme Service for another job, Acme Service will probably be allowed to retain that twitter handle, as well as the history for that twitter page, including your followers.
    1. However, if your Twitter Handle is @BillSmith, and you co-brand your Social Presence by blending your own content, as well as Acme Service’s content, then you should be able to keep that name and page when you leave Acme.
    2. Name your pages carefully.
  10. If these questions and comments scare you, not having a Social Presence is not an option.
    1. The best Relationship Managers, Sales Reps, Client Services Reps, etc. all have an active Social Presence…and the gap between successful professional with and without one is closing.
    2. Therefore, if you want to be a leader, you must lead by example.  And if everyone is doing business online, so must you, or risk obsolescence.
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