How To Be A Social Media Leader

lead·er  noun:

  1. The person who leads or commands a group, organization, or country.
  2. A person followed by others.

Being a leader means setting a precedent. It’s standing in the front of the line and guiding people in the right direction. If there’s one area where leadership has been lacking in businesses and organizations, it’s social media. In fact, many leaders have taken a hands-off approach to online communication. Today, I’ll tell you what I am learning as I strive to be a social media leader.

Here are four ways you can work to become a social media leader:


Lead by example

There’s a lot of fear and uncertainty about social media, which has caused inaction. Leaders are waiting to see what other leaders are doing and as a result ending up in the back of the social media pack. Replace inaction with exploration. Set up personal Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn pages and starting test-driving them. See what they can do. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there.

Action items: 

  • Provide audiences insight into your personal brand
  • Position yourself as a progressive and innovative leader
  • Give team members a framework for setting up their own social media pages

Take a strategic approach 

Work with departments and teams to figure out how your organization can best use social media. Figure out what audiences you want to reach, and what goals you hope to accomplish (new clients, increased brand awareness, more product sales). Then develop a strategy to achieve those goals. Figure out what content you will post, how often you will post, and how you will measure the results of your efforts.

Action items:

  • Develop specific goals for your social media efforts
  • Find a way to assess your success in reaching those goals
  • Create a consistent calendar for social media posting

Exhibit your expertise

Social media is about making connections and sharing information. Whether you set up personal or organizational pages, use the social platform to exhibit your expertise. You have a wealth of professional knowledge, project that knowledge to the world. In the process, you will sell yourself and your organization – showing your skills and capabilities, and enhancing your reputation in your field or industry.

Action items:

  • Give your audience information they will find useful
  • Provide links and resources to relevant information
  • Interact with customers/colleagues and answer questions

Speak to the right audience

One of the biggest mistakes organizations and churches make with social media is not targeting their efforts. Like any other marketing communication tool, you first must identify the audience you want to reach. If you yell into a crowd, your message will not be heard. But if you walk up and speak to the right people, your message will have impact. Think about whom you want to communicate with – Employees? Audiences? Potential customers and followers? Partners? Aim your efforts accordingly.

Action items:

  • Make your content engaging to your audience
  • Pick and choose who you follow and let follow you
  • Use different social media sites to speak to different audiences

Communication is a key aspect of leadership. Whether or not you “like” social media, its impossible to ignore its scope and influence as a communication tool. It’s where your customers are; it’s where your team members are; and it’s where you should be. Be an innovator. Show people you are a fearless, sincere and skilled leader. Take an active role in social media and mold your efforts according to the goals you want them to achieve.

What steps do you take to be a leader in social media?  

  • Eric Speir

    I like your idea of creating specific goals for my social media efforts. I’m in the process of this now and I know that a goal is one of the best ways to get motivated.

    • Tim

      Eric -

      Thanks for the comment. Yes goals are essential. Beyond that I always go back to the “why”. Why I spend time writing and researching. The “why” keeps me focused and motivated.

  • Lawson Hembree

    To go along with your points, I think it is important to find a focus for social media communications. Not only does a focus give you something to build content/strategy around, but let’s others know what to expect when interacting with you.

    For example, your focus is “Leadership|Marketing|Technology” and mine is “Business|Ideas|Theology” and that drives the look and feel of our online presences.

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