If you’re a communicator, you cannot afford not to be engaged in social media. I know this sounds like a mandate, and it is. Even if only a part of your job is to communicate the vision, mission and direction of the organization you lead, you, more than anyone else in your organization, should lead the social media charge.
I meet with leaders who refuse to embrace any social platforms. Their excuses are always the same:
I don’t get it.
I don’t have time.
I’m a private person.
I have nothing to say.
Until recently I used to go down a list of why it didn’t take that much time and how to manage time. I patiently talked about how even a private person could have a dynamic online presence, and how even the most introvert of leaders has something to say to his or her organization as well as to the community at large. Those were compelling arguments and I was careful to explain them. Often I got through, but occasionally I would get the nod that said “thanks for trying, but it’s not going to happen.”
Recently I have changed my approach. This week I found myself saying to a reluctant leader: “Well, just get over yourself. This is not just about you. This is about leading, and communicating well. It’s about having the greatest impact on the most people using the tools that are available to you. Your team and your organization could benefit so much from a successful online strategy. And what you’re telling me is that you don’t want to grow anymore. You’re done.” I’m not sure I would recommend this approach to everyone, but in this case, I got through.
Your opinion of the social media dynamics is, well, irrelevant. That’s how the game is being played right now. It’s the cost of relevance, the language of culture–the new global culture. The longer leaders go without embracing their online communication strategy, the more difficult their entrance into it will be. Sooner or later they will join the conversation, or they’ll abdicate their position to someone else who’s willing to do it. If they’re smart, they’ll make it sooner.
Am I being unreasonable?