Social Media and Leaders: WHO (2 of 3)

There is an audience out there. And someone is going to stand up in front of them on that stage.

Start Here: Right now, you have an audience. And someone is most likely representing your organization simply by showing up on social media. Is it an employee? Is it a customer? A church member? Or is it a disgruntled former manager/whatever? You have an audience, and someone is communicating with them.

Key leaders in your organization need to be on social media. And when I say key people, I’m talking about the face of the franchise, and the people standing nearby on the main stage. That is who you WANT representing you.

Key leaders, not just interns and social media managers. A lot of public figures have accounts managed by employees and simply crank out content. However, there are some that clearly log in and connect with people. Author Jon Acuff has built an entire writing and public speaking career on simply connecting with his audience on a personal level. When a real person is communicating it can trump the same message if it is voiced by an organization. And when that person interacts specifically with you, they’re also communicating something about who they are to the rest of us. Authenticity.

People are attracted to individuals more than organizations. Mostly. At least, that’s how we roll in the US of ‘Merica. You can argue all day about how this isn’t ideal, but you’ll be arguing against the current culture instead of engaging effectively. Don’t believe me? Here’s proof straight from the internet, where everything is true. Twitter by numbers on the day this is being written: LeBron James has 8,936,570 followers; his team the Miami Heat? 1,602,738. President Barack Obama has 33,557,335 followers, while the Democrats as a party have just 231,272 (Republicans had 219,238). Pastor Andy Stanley 297,912, and his  North Point Community Church is well behind at 13,637.

The numbers here are not as important as the trend. The fact that athletes, elected officials, and religious leaders are often more popular as individuals than their actual brand and/or organization however is something to note. This is why people will become a “fan” of a different sports team when a player they like joins the roster. This is why people will vote for every candidate from the same party in a single election, because they assume their favorite individual represents what the entire party stands for. And this is why so many people change churches when a church changes pastors. We love people and personalities more than organizations and institutions. This is our culture.

People desire to connect with a real person. We don’t talk face to face with people as much as we used to anymore. We get cash from a machine, order books and office supplies from computers, send short messages on phones, and take a lot of pictures to remember the moment we’re too distracted to enjoy as it happens. We handle most financial exchanges on a computer and troubleshoot by reading words on a website or calling an automated number. This is why when an “important” individual engages in conversation with the rest of us on social media it gets our attention. Tweets and Facebook chat are not the same as sitting down with another person. But Twitter and Facebook are all some people have these days. That’s where they’re engaging the outside world. That’s where they will engage with you.

So in case you completely missed it, leaders need to be on social media, because everyone else is. Next I’ll share how to start

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