Leading By Example – Socially

This post is part of the #UsBlogs weekly theme: Social Media in C-Suite

If social media is about changing the world and the way that we do business, then how it is adopted, accepted and used by members of the c-suite of an organization is truly a reflection of how they themselves see change and react to it.

Social media is as much about what you say as how you say it – it can show your ability to curate and understand content, give a point-of-view on emerging news and technologies, but also on a human level your ability to engage and interact with people both known and unknown. Social media, also drives a certain sense of freedom from command and control mentalities and real transparency into either an individual or an organization.

When we talk about social within the c-suite, there appear to be a number of different approaches and they all have something slightly different to say about the way this c-person is approaching the modern world.

Approach – No presence.

Interpretation – What message am I sending to the organization, and the world at large, when I preach of the importance of social media and yet I’m nowhere to be found (not even a private profile). Clearly there are two levels of conversation going on here and some double standards in the way I work. #fail

Approach – Have someone else run my personal account.

Interpretation – I realise that this might be important, but I’m only worried about it from a reputation POV, I’m not bothered about the transparency and personal image that it portrays. I don’t really have time to handle this, but it’s part of my own personal brand and PR.

Approach – Firehose for information

Interpretation – I’m on Twitter & Facebook and consuming information, rapidly sharing and retreating; but I clearly haven’t got it quite yet, I’m not engaging with anyone or really delivering any information or opinion that comes from me. Social media for me is really much about being social and too much about broadcast media, the shift in mindset isn’t working for me yet.

Approach – Trying but not there

Interpretation – I may well be from another generation or just not as adaptable as my peers but I’m trying hard. My presence is up and I’ve got a few tweets and photos on the web. I don’t have the time to monitor the social web and when I do, I’m quickly overwhelmed. I guess I need the courage to keep pushing forward.

Approach – got it down!

Interpretation – Not much to say – a great example of how the c-suite should be leading by example. #ftw

So what do each of these mean and what are the implications for the organization? Leading by example has never been clearer and more important than in times of change, as we move through this paradigm shift in communication where once simple one-way messaging is being replaced by a conversation where brands and individuals have equal voice our leaders are those who need to guide us and set the trend.

If your C-suite aren’t being social, but they’re driving you and your clients to do it – then maybe we should question how much they really get it.

By Lex Bradshaw-Zanger

A digital native and integrated brand marketer with a passion for marketing-communications and product design, Lex has a truly international outlook and experience, having worked both in major marketing agencies and client-side brands across Europe, the US and the Middle East.

1 comment

  1. Lex, I love this post! Having the leadership from the c-suite in any organization is so key and you illustrate that with your opening statements, artfully followed by the various approaches. They are so on target! Thanks for the wisdom! I’m showing this to a client today!

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