Key role of today’s corporate leaders is to build communities and engage them in building successful organizations.

Digital technology and Social media has completely changed the dynamics of societies we live in. Technological advancements have made it easier for leaders to build stronger communities.  In the past couple of years, instead of considering social media as a threat, leaders are discovering its very real opportunities.

However, rapid change in technology and tools is creating an unusual challenge for corporate leaders. They not only need to keep up with the developments in the corporate world, but also required learning and practicing these constantly emerging social media tools. Acquiring knowledge and use it effectively not only requires time and energy, but a lot of commitment as well. Times have gone by when leaders could afford to let their secretaries check emails and draft responses. Promptness and direct communication is the norm now.

With the passage of time corporate leaders are trying to learn how to keep up with social medial and also remain engaged with their communities, but for leaders above 45 who fall in the category of digital immigrants, things are much more challenging! Slowly, corporate leaders have started realizing the need to embed social engagement in their routine; they simply cannot leave this to junior staff or an intern to deal with social media just because younger people are fluent in using Facebook to Twitter!

The biggest conceptual change has been observed in the leadership attitude particularly since the introduction of smart phones and tablets. Psychologically, Leaders are now much more comfortable in the use of social media and are now getting better engaged with their communities.

Let’s discuss the key things that leaders need to consider carefully about their social media engagement:

Choosing a Social Media Platform:

Facebook and Twitter are the largest social media channels; Facebook is reaching close to a billion users and Twitter 500 million users. These two social media platforms can provide a massive outreach. However, both have their own utilities and ethics. Facebook is considered more social, where as Twitter has its own utilities such as promptness and wider visibility.

When to update what:

While becoming active on social media is important, it is also essential for corporate leaders to set criteria for contents and messages they wish to share with their followers. Perhaps the best way to go about is developing an organization wider social media policy so that the messages are consistent and aligned with the organizational vision.

Avoiding Blackouts;

Once started on social media, it is no good to do occasional updates, and with large intervals. Your followers expect to hear from you and that the sole reason for them to follow you. Do not blackout from social media, if you update your twitter three to four times a day, and facebook once a day, stick to this schedule, failing this, you will lose followers.

Learn to Deal with Negative Comments:

One on social media, you are in public domain. If there are 100 happy followers, there is bound to be at least one who has issues. It is advisable that unless it is an extremely offensive comment, do not delete – there are other ways to deal with such comments and one is ignore and the other is to engage other people to counter-comment.

Now is the time to appreciate the reality!

Social media is like a snowball rolling down the hill. It’s picking up speed. Five years from now, it’s going to be the standard.” Jeff Antaya,Chief marketing officer of Plante Moran

Hammad Siddiqui is a passionate blogger and an expert in the field of institutional capacity building. He is the Deputy Country Director at Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE). Hammad has written over 300 articles on leadership, entrepreneurship, social media and policy reforms. You can follow him on social media

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