How do you connect with the many stakeholders in your community? What’s the best way for leaders to communicate on a regular basis? How many different ways can you communicate your message to others with similar passion and purpose?
The number one question I’m asked by my most senior clients is if I think they should be on social platforms. The second question is how it has worked for me and my clients. Finally, I’m asked how much money and time should they spend building connection and community.
I believe that 2015 is going to be a breakthrough year for building communities for your organization. I’ll share three reasons that social media should be part of your leadership marketing and communications strategies for the coming year.
Before I go on, I want to dispel the biggest leadership myth in social media. It’s that it’s the quantity of audience, not the quality. When I talk about social marketing it’s hard to get many leaders to understand volume of followers is just one metric in evaluating your community building efforts. Depending on your role and your passions, your following can be big or large. For my smaller nonprofits, it can provide a more intimate connection to your community and your cause than you could have had before.
The first key of building a stronger community is social media provides a complementary platform to build trust faster. Trust is a critical element for leaders to embrace today. Today, leaders need to build trust with the people in their communities. I have found great leaders connect on many different levels with their stakeholders. Social media has provided many entrepreneurs significant reach and relationship with others they might never meet through traditional communication strategies.
When people feel connected to others they trust them to help find the best place to invest their time. I know several leaders who complement their own traditional ways of remaining connected with a social platform. Richard Branson is known to lurk on several Virgin platforms to provide connection to community, including both his team members and their customers.
The second key of building a stronger community is to learn how to work on a social platform that leverages your strengths and personalities. How well are you leveraging the different social and communications platforms for the maximum impact? When you think of Ted Talks, can you imagine a more powerful way of connecting with like-minded individuals on an ongoing basis? As this format continues expanding, individual leaders will be able have a world class education on leading edge topics in a captivating and engaging way.
As we continue to see these groups emerge in different forms, organizations that chose to have impact on their communities and the world will be able to help sponsor these events. These programs have helped individuals share their passions and purpose in a global community setting. On the economic side, I’ve seen several individuals arrange funding for their projects through the connections they made with Ted’s audience. It amazing what can be done in this setting.
The third key of building a stronger community is you can build smaller communities of interest across the globe. Social media is just beginning to create and develop stronger regional connections with individuals. These individuals are looking for opportunities that have their own community of followers open to collaborate for the betterment of the combined community. Leaders need to invest time getting to know the people in my communities personally.
Finally, I look for opportunities to partner and collaborate with other individuals who have similar interests globally. This provides a much wider perspective than can be achieved through traditional media channels. One of my favorite activities is talking to several people per week outside my own network to see what’s happening in other markets and parts of the world. The revenue generated by these collaborations and connections have been in the millions of dollars for my clients and partners.
Because of the trust we’ve built with our community, I can help develop new opportunities much more quickly than in the past. If you’re in the business of creating greater value in your community, social media continues to change the way collaboration occurs. Social influence continues to grow and evolve as older leaders discover how to interact with younger stakeholders through their preferred media.
Now for the rest of the story I promised earlier this week. We will be putting on a free webinar next Wednesday at 2:00pm EST called No Nonsense Social Media, featuring Dennis Fischman of Communicate! Consulting and me.
Dennis Fischman owns Communicate! Consulting, where he helps local businesses and nonprofit organizations win loyal friends through their communications. He is a former senior manager of the Community Action Agency of Somerville, MA, where he directed fundraising, marketing, and planning. Passionate about social change, he left this position so he could focus on helping others tell their stories in person, in writing, and through the social media. Join us, I promise you’ll find it very informative.
You can click here to sign up for our free webinar No Nonsense Social Media on how serving and nonprofit leaders are using social media today. I look forward to talking with you there.
Next Monday we Honor Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at Developing Serving Leaders.