I was extremely reluctant to jump into social media. Like most of you, I was and am very busy. My publisher, my team, my friends and my family all encouraged (pushed) me to take a leap of faith and enter the new millennium! 500 blog posts later, I can honestly say, joining the global conversation on leadership was one of the best decisions of my life.
Now, for many of you, that last statement may sound like hyperbole or worse! I’ll take it one step further…
If you are a leader and not active in social media, you should be.
So why should leaders be involved? Here are some of the advantages I’ve discovered, and I’m guessing you would find the same.
Growth – A commitment to be engaged and contributing to social media on a regular basis, in my case three posts a week, is a tremendous incentive to keep learning as a leader. You may be thinking, “I’m already a life-long learner.” If that’s you, congratulations! Are you learning enough to have something substantive to say to the world with any regular frequency? I was a learner before I began participating in social media – however, that single decision has pushed my learning into hyper drive. Your capacity to grow determines your capacity to lead.
Relevance – To abstain from social media in today’s world can be compared to people 100 years ago who said, “No, I don’t want a horseless carriage – my horse is doing just fine.” We live in a digital world. Information is circling the planet at internet speed. To “sit this one out” is to be a bystander in our changing world. One of a leader’s most critical needs is relevance. Social media is a big piece of the puzzle.
Influence – Michael Hyatt pushed me more than anyone else on this issue. He said, "Social media is the most powerful leadership tool in the history of mankind.” Wow! But wait, he followed that statement with another, more pointed one, “Any leader who chooses not to participate is choosing to limit their influence.”
I must confess, in the beginning, I really didn’t understand how the influence part worked. It made sense if you were a celebrity and a million people were following you – but for the rest of us, I didn’t get it. You may be in the same boat. If so, here is something for you to consider...
If you create content that serves only 100 people beyond your normal sphere of influence, that’s 100x the influence you had before. Don’t think millions, at least in the beginning. Ask yourself, “Could I share an idea, a quote, an experience or a point of view that might serve 100 people?” The answer is YES but not if you don’t have a platform. Servant leaders should be the first in line for social media, because it is fundamentally a vehicle to serve others. (I highly recommend Michael’s book, Platform.)
A quick story… I wrote a post early in my social media journey – at the time, I had very few Twitter followers. Much to my surprise, in a matter of hours, the post had been re-tweeted to over 400,000 people! At that time, my first book, The Secret, had been around for almost a decade and during that time, we had sold about 400,000 copies.
Think about those two scenarios: 10 years = 400,000 books sold; 10 hours = 400,000 re-tweets. The potential reach and impact with social media continues to blow my mind!
I know you are busy. What are you busy doing? As a leader, you should be busy serving others. I realize you serve in countless ways. However, I believe social media should be part of that mix. I don’t want you to wake up a decade from now and realize you’ve been riding the wrong horse.[GLS_Shield]
Idea for Action: If you don’t have a Twitter account, start one today. It’s free! Follow me @LeaderServe and I’ll follow you in return. Together, we can change our world - one tweet at a time.
PS To celebrate my first 500 posts, I am going to repost a few of the most popular ones over the upcoming months. Be on the lookout for those in the weeks to come.