We live in a society obsessed with public opinion, but Leadership of any kind has never been about popularity. So, time to take control, n’est pas?
A true Leader is willing and comfortable to allow their professional and personal lives to merge, and this is becoming more and more the rule rather than the exception, with the increasing reach-in and reach-across of Social Media.
To put this all in context let’s start with some rather telling and no less compelling facts about some of the best known and most popular on-line Social Media platforms:
For instance, LinkedIN
Now the World’s largest professioanl network on the internet with 467 million members (56% male/44% female), spread across 200 countries and territories, and with +70% of it’s regular users domicilled outside the USA.
It’s an extremely useful Business2Business tool, offering news and information about markets to executives trying to gather information & make forecasts.
In fact, 82% of Businesses use LinkedIn, along with over 50% of top decision makers.
It’s Huge and is growing at 2 new members per second — And if you add a photo to your profile, you’re 36 times more likely to receive a message from another member and your profile will get 21 times more views.
Then there’s Facebook.
If Facebook were a country, it would be the third largest in the world and home to 1/7th of the World’s population. Over 350 million new photos are uploaded onto Facebook
everyday and 30% of American adults rely on it to get their news.
Meanwhile, 23% of Facebook users check their Facebook Account at least five times a day & on average Facebook users can reach more than 150,000 fellow users through their existing Facebook Friends. Add into the mix that 84% of Facebook’s monthly active users are based outside the USA and the countries with the fastest growing number of Facebook users include Russia, Japan, South Korea, India and Brazil.
So, if your serious about your social presence and demonstrating Leadership, you need to be engaged and in among it!
And one little known fact — Al Pacino was the first “Face” on Facebook!
Jump across to Twitter
and you can really start gaining authority & traction. Twitter has over 310 million users every month, including the likes of Trump (no surprises — in fact, 83% of World Leaders are on Twitter), Oprah Winfrey and even Pope Francis, and a total of 1.3 billion active accounts.
In terms of building awareness, public validation and positioning yourself as the Leader in your field, there is no site more effective than Twitter. It’s a place for decision makers, so If you want to make an impact, do it here!
And if you have something to sell — including your personal brand — 92% of engagement with any tweets are link clicks, aka links to your website, your YouTube videos, your LinkedIn Profile, or discussions (which can be searched for and contributed to by using the relevant #).
But that’s not even accounting for ‘retweets’ which literally have the ability to get your content/message in front of hundreds, thousands or even millions of eyeballs with very little effort and at no cost to yourself— And 80% of users access the site via their mobile phone.
Meanwhile, after being aqcuired by Google, YouTube
is on the rise.
It’s now the 3rd largest search engine in the world with over 1 billion unique visitors watching over 6 billion hours of video each month. In fact, 300 hours of video are uploaded to YouTube every minute.
If you are trying to leverage your knowledge online and position yourself as an authentic leader, video is the way to go. Unlike the written format, you have the opportunity to really showcase your knowledge, likeability and passion.
You have the opportunity to ignite a need within your viewers to take action today.
Did I mention YouTube is owned by Google? Of course I did, and not only does that provide some neat little SEO benefits, because if you’re a Google+
user utilising Google Hangouts, each of your sessions will be recorded and automatically stored on YouTube.
Whilst in reverse, if you are a SlideShare
or LinkedIn user
you can embed YouTube videos within your slideshow presentations, or within your LinkedIn Profile.
Are you starting to see the possibilities of seamless integration across platforms?
And then there’s also Pinterest, Instagram, Tumblr, Flickr, Reddit, Snapchat & Whats App… But the Top 5 are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn Google+ and You Tube.
So, if you are reading this you’ll certainly be up to speed on where you ought to be, and if you’re asking yourself whether you need to consider having an on-line strategy then I would say you’re starting from the wrong place.
You definitely need to have one PERIOD! And you need to Lead it with your personal brand &/or your business brand right up front and centre!
Whether you like it or not, it’s almost certain that your work colleagues, customers, competitors, and very probably your neighbours are already talking about You on-line. So, key here is working out what your objectives are and these should ideally reflect both business and personal drivers. What do you want to do on-line? What do you want to be known for? What do you want to achieve? How do you want to come across or be perceived?
Those are some funadamental questions you need to answer!
& here are 4 Steps to help guide your way:
1st Step — Embrace Your DNA?
We each come into this world with a unique opportunity and our own unique offering, but as we grow we allow outside influences to shape & mould us, and in today’s world real damage can be done if we start on our social media journey when we’re too young and impressionable.
But at whatever age, if we’re unsure, or don’t really understand what’s going on and the why and how of what we’re doing, we can become fearful of sharing who we really are with the outside world, in case it results in criticism or mockery.
And this couldn’t be truer than when we’re online, using social media.
“We live in a society obsessed with public opinion. But leadership has never been about popularity” — Marco Rubio [Tweet This]
If you really want to be a leader online, you need to get over this fear and just be you. Share your opinions and your thoughts. Stop thinking about risk and go with what you believe is the way forward. Sometimes you are going to get it wrong, but all successful Leaders have failed along the way and they have understood this was necessary and have been prepared to fail and learn from that failure. If you want to change the world, it needs to come from within you and be of you.
“Don’t be afraid of enemies who attack you.”- Dale Carnegie [Tweet This]
Be a teller of stories — If you’re not standing out, you’re blending in. True Super Performers & Super Leaders are natural Story Tellers and they are bouyant, clear about who and what they are, &, attuned to their environment and context. They are authentic and also extremely resilient & intellectually agile. They embrace their DNA and they share their own unique offering to the world without fear or favour.
So, Step 2 — Lose the “I am a leader and I’m right because I said so.”
And remember, when you’re online, social media has the ability to amplify your personality. This is great until the ego starts getting in the way and you end up in big confrontations among a number of self-acclaimed ‘thought leaders.’
‘The key to successful leadership today is influence, not authority.’- Kenneth Blanchard [Tweet This]
You don’t need a title to be a Leader and be a key influencer as I’ve written about in other pieces available on Medium and a true Thought Leader knows this.
Spend your time online sharing your knowledge and experiences with your audience and by offering authentic helpfulness. Have meaningful conversations with others and be open to differing opinions. You will happen upon situations where you disagree with people and you might know you’re 100% right, but the key is not to argue — just listen, then explain why you have a different opinion and refrain from criticizing others. Don’t get drawn in.
After all, you don’t grow bigger by putting others down, but you do grow bigger by helping them up and having them stand on your shoulders.
Step 3 — Use Every Resource Available.
In the words of Gary Vaynerchuk, now is the time to cash in on your passion.
You’ve had that itch, now scratch it! It has never been easier than it is now to grow a business from scratch. This means, if you really want to be a Thought Leader in your field and you have the requisite knowledge, you can.
The trouble is that with so many different social networks popping up, it’s hard to know which ones to use and which ones to avoid. For example, there is a common misconception that the online site that allows you to be taken seriously as a Thought leader is LinkedIn. There is also the same misconceptions that Facebook has no use for business, Twitter is pointless, Pinterest is for females and SnapChat is for teenagers.
Wrong! Wrong! Wrong!
As you’ll see from the compelling facts at the top of this piece they all have relevance and power. They are each unique in their way, but all have a common purpose which is to enable you to reach out, connect & engage.
‘A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way and shows the way.’- John Maxwell [Tweet This]
Social Networks are simply websites that people visit to communicate with one another. Don’t take the views and preconceptions of others as Gospel.
In fact, each social site has boundless opportunity and your job as a Leader, is to seek out this opportunity and roll with it. Do so by rolling up your sleeves, finding out what you need to know for yourself & Embracing Change.
For what it’s worth though I would strongly suggest that you try as many of them as you can and as feels right, because right now, this is the way.
Go where your audience is and if they’re not there yet, why not ‘show them the way’ through cross channel marketing. As Ken Kesey once said, ‘You lead by going to that place and making a case.’
Take advantage of these power-house marketing machines, both personally and professionally. They are just waiting to recieve and pump out your content and at the end of the day, that’s where the real value lies.
Content is King, Engagement is Queen & The Prince is a Pauper if he Dances Alone!
If you use each resource available properly, if you produce valuable content and if you are always engaging with your audience, then you have the biggest opportunity to cash in on your personal brand and your intellectual capital, and lead the way for others; &
Step 4 — Practice Patience, Passion & Perseverance i.e. All hallmarks of great Leadership!
There is only one shortcut to success. You need to be giving everything you’ve got 24/7 and then, when you’ve got no more left, give some more.
“Rest in reason; move in passion”
If you want to be a leader, especially online, you need patience, you need passion and you need perseverance.
“The most powerful weapon on earth is the human soul on fire.” — Ferdinand Foch [Tweet This]
It takes time to position yourself as the most knowledgeable person in your field. Every single day, you need to be online, interacting in groups and discussions. You should be connecting to the right people, engaging in meaningful conversations and creating opportunities to deepen your relationships and build a loyal community.
“A great leader’s courage to fulfill his vision comes from passion, not position.” ~John Maxwell [Tweet This]
You need to constantly create free but highly valuable content that enables your ‘followers’ to take action successfully. It’s about building a solid foundation, upon which you can build a pyramid or a Cathederal of ideas and a community of followers.
Then when you reach the peak you might consider how you can monetise your efforts. Whether it’s writing a book, developing a course or becoming a keynote speaker.
Leverage your knowledge to create the real success that you have earned and you deserve and that influences and enables your community to follow your lead.
Paul Mudd is the author of ‘Uncovering Mindfulness: In Search Of A Life More Meaningful’ available on Amazon and www.bookboon.com; the ‘Coffee & A Cup of Mindfulness’ and the ‘Mindful Hacks For Mindful Living & Mindful Working’ series. He is also a Contributing Author to The Huffington Post and a Contributing Writer to Thrive Global. Through The Mudd Partnership he works with business leaders, organisations and individuals in support of change, leadership excellence, business growth, organistional and individual wellbeing and well doing, and introducing Mindfulness. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and you can follow the continuing journey uncovering Mindfulness on Twitter @TheMindfulBook and at @Paul_Mudd