I recently presented at the Asia Professionals Speakers Convention 2018, focussing on how to use social media and digital platforms to build your speaking business and reputation. It was an opportunity to share my idea that, when we are not on a physical stage, we must consider that we are on a digital stage.
To excel on both stages, nothing short of world-class cuts it.
However, this view is not just relevant to professional speakers, it’s relevant to every professional today. In my work, I focus on B2B businesses, and in regular meetings with CEOs and executives, where we discuss what it takes to be a social leader, the feedback from business leaders is consistent.
Not only do they appreciate that what they do on social media must be exceptional and always of value to their audience, they expect this same standard from every employee in their team.
And just yesterday, a leader from a global MNC, told me he believes it is now the expectation that to advance in the company, having social leadership skills is a must.
The pendulum is finally swinging towards social leadership at the executive level, but the confusion continues about how to do it brilliantly.
The challenge is, what many of the leaders are seeing on social media, does not match their idea of what world-class looks like.
They tell me people are sharing information but delivering no value. They are self-promoting but it’s about them and doesn’t help anyone else. And they are frustrated by this. Really frustrated. I’m frustrated too.
What’s your why and your focus?
We live in a time when we think we have to be on social media, because that’s what we all do now, right? However, the strategy of why you’re there and the core focus you want to be known for, is often missing.
Understand your why – which should always be focused on helping a specific audience relevant to you. The critical benefit of being audience focused, is it can’t be about you, because it naturally has to be about serving them .
And then be focused with a consistent theme or topic – this is the what you want to be known for part and it’s critical. I believe that at least 80 per cent of what you share needs to be aligned to your core topic. That’s how you become known for something. If you’re all over the place, no one can tie you down as an expert.
Once you have your why and your focus, think about the top three areas I discussed
- Everything you put out there must be world-class. I used motivational quotes as a very simple example of what not being world-class looks like. It’s done to death, and equally, the Steve Jobs quote I shared is an example of a quote thousands of people share every week, because he did and said things that were worth sharing. But he never shared this content himself. This is an accolade only the greatest get, so don’t share it (or share your own quotes), aim to be great enough others will do it for you. Equally, if anything is being done to death – as quotes are – find another way to get your message over. In the early days for me, someone challenged something I shared on LinkedIn. I looked at what I shared and thought OK, it’s not brilliant, but it’s not that bad! It did wake me up though, and I made a commitment that if I shared something, it had to be of the highest value to my audience. I want everyone to think this way, because imagine the power of social media if we all did?
- Being a social leader is an act of service – I believe this is the one critical piece of social leadership the majority are missing. Too many believe it’s about them, however being awesome on social media is about delivering knowledge as an act of service to your audience. Find the best information in the world in your area of expertise (content curation) and create your own world-class content as often as you can. When you share your own information, you are asking your audience for a favour – you are asking for their time. When you share other’s world-class information aligned to your area of expertise, you are doing your audience a favour, saving them the time of seeking it out themselves. This is a mindset that has served me very well and I want to encourage you to embrace it too. We are all in the era of earning people’s time today, make sure you earn it
- Join the #GivingEconomy – I’ve been talking about the Giving Economy for years and believe in it completely. The idea is you will be more successful in building a social leadership position if you spend more time focused on helping others be successful. Be a dopamine giver – you know, how when we get responses on social media we get a boost of dopamine? Be dopamine for others. Comment and join in conversations on other’s content. Share great blogs your friends and community are creating and you’ll give people you admire access to your audiences. Write references for people you value. Praise peers and subordinates. Be a giver. It will change your life. And not only does it feel good, this is also how you build your own successful social leadership position, because when you’re a giver, others will give back to you. That’s not why I do it, but it’s certainly a benefit I’ve seen because I do it. The Giving Economy is how you bring meaning to your participation
Here’s my deck if you’re interested!
As the noise ramps up on social media and more professionals are joining the fray, not to mention the massive increase in content we’re all enduring today (FOMO is very real), we’ve got to turn things around and be conscious that social leadership is about delivering value to an audience, and that audience is specific for each of us.
If it’s not of value to someone, then it’s not of value full stop. The occasional self-promotion is fine, but if that’s all you’re doing, you’re not maximizing these platforms in the best way possible, so change it up.
Be World Class
Be of Service
Join the Giving Economy
And if you can make this switch, watch your credibility rise. I promise.
What do you think?
Check out this case study with IBM Asia Pacific. Incredible results.
Don’t know where to start, check out my e-learning course How to build a rock star personal brand today.
I believe it’s time for all of us to embrace our voice and embrace the future. We do this by working and living out loud with meaning, intention and by being true to ourselves.
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