Magazine Article | March 1, 2016

How Social Media Will Upgrade Your Leadership

Source: Life Science Leader

By Paul Sohn, leadership transformation consultant, GiANT Worldwide

Over 1.5 billion people are on Facebook, 400 million on LinkedIn, and 300 million on Twitter. While the world is becoming more social, top executives haven’t seemed to join the bandwagon. According to a study conducted by in 2014, more than 68 percent of CEOs still have no social presence on the five social networks.

Many leaders don’t seem to have time to manage their social media. A growing number of executives expressed their doubts of using social media since they couldn’t see the ROI of social media. Besides, for many, figuring out how to manage the multifarious features on different social media platforms is mind-baffling.

As the face of the business and brand, all executives should consider four important reasons to have an active social media presence.

The adage says there are “six degrees of separation” between any two people on earth, meaning that any two people would know each other through no more than six contacts. On Facebook, however, the average user is only 4.74 degrees away from any other Facebooker.

If executives take the time to intentionally connect with followers, that means the next person they connect with may be their next prospective client, business partner, or collaborator. You have the opportunity to connect with people from any and all of the 196 countries, and even all seven continents.

Successful business leaders actively engage in thought leadership surrounding their industry. By sharing knowledge and insight, executives gain the trust and respect of clients, their peers, and their staff. Additionally, thought leadership is an important route to establishing a personal brand.

According to the BrandFog survey, 61 percent of U.S. respondents are more likely to purchase from a company whose values and leadership are communicated through executive participation on social media. Clearly, executives should choose to make their relationships on social media count because customers are paying attention.

Social media gives executives the opportunity to remain in touch with their wide range of stakeholders, including customers. Customers want executives who are real and visible, who are available to reach out to, and they want to understand the executives’ opinions and thoughts about the company and the products. With one tweet or one Facebook post, you’ll immediately get a plethora of instant feedback from your customers.

When Cisco CEO Chuck Robbins tweets a compliment to his company’s global head of executive talent or thanks a customer for a great meeting, he’s doing more than just saying casual praise. He’s reinforcing a culture and brand that matters to his business. Compliments are one of the most powerful ways to maximize social media and earn greater support from followers. Executives have special leverage in this way. By recognizing an employee’s or business partner’s qualities or achievements in public, they are not only doing them a favor, but creating a culture of trust and a brand that people want to follow.