8 Ways to Improve Your Social Standing by Vala Afshar
“Sometimes we spend more time than we should defending the old thing, instead of working to take advantage of the new thing.” Seth Godin
Today, customers and employees are leveraging social media to improve their trusted network. And yet the majority of businesses are failing to recognize the importance of social collaboration and the opportunity to ‘humanize their enterprise’. For some businesses today, there are employees that have a larger, more amplified voice than the organizations that they are a part of. These employees have actively used social media to build their own personal brand. How were they able to do this? These individuals decided to be social. What does it mean to be social?
The acronym S.O.C.I.A.L succinctly describes their approach: sincere, open, collaborative, interested, authentic and likable.
Twenty-first century leaders must recognize that customers and employees have a choice and a voice that can scale and amplify their message with greater reach and velocity than ever before. .As the Chief Customer Officer for Enterasys, I have been able to use social media as a way to engage more closely with employees, customers and industry thought leaders than I ever thought possible. Today, customers and employees are looking for transparency, authenticity, and values-driven leadership. Companies need to become more human and they are looking for social leaders. This does not mean leaders need to be less demanding, but rather, fair, collaborative, and open-minded. Social leaders are not about value extraction but rather value exchange.
How to do you transform your organization and leaders to adopt a more social mindset? What I have found most useful in my approach is to listen, engage and add value.
Stop thinking about collaboration and start collaborating.
Tom Peters said the 4 most important words in a leader’s vocabulary: what do you think? Social leaders communicate with the purpose of involvement. An involved employee is a committed employee and commitment means productive and growth.
When you find something interesting, share. Help grow your network by sharing valuable content.
Collaboration is the fuel for your empowerment engine.
An empowered employee is a committed employee. Adoption of social collaboration can help motivate employees to rally around a common purpose, driving productivity be leveraging the group’s momentum.
Listen first, sell second.
Stop trying to sell – yourself, your company, your products and services. Promote accomplishments and sell if asked, but social leaders are sharers, not sellers.
Be who you are, not what your network expects you to be.
It is hard work to maintain a dual personality. Authentic leadership is an important characteristic of building social influence.
Social networks appreciate supportive truth tellers.
There is however a line that should not be publicly crossed. Publicly praise and acknowledge valuable content. If you disagree with someone, be respectful and perhaps consider a one-to-one engagement rather than a public debate.
Likability should not be confused with inability to make tough decisions. Leaders determinately know where they are going and why. Social leaders ensure that all team members also understand the direction and destination with a strong sense of purpose.
Practice and demonstrate humility.
Yes, practice humility. Learn to dial it back instead of trying so hard to show how right you are or how smart you are.
Leadership is example. Business leaders must embrace and leverage technology to achieve their company’s full potential. That said, I believe that the most important success factors in order of priority are: culture, people, process and technology. Map out your journey with the purpose of helping employees and customers reach their full potential. It not about doing social, it’s about being social.
Graphic by Shawn Murphy