The competition is fierce for leadership roles with more and more people vying for promotions and looking for the easiest way to be recognised as the right person for the role. You can't afford for your resume to do all the heavy lifting, however, given that 70 percent of employers use social media to screen candidates during the hiring process (CareerBuilder survey, 2018). It's a tool that can be put to good use.
By creating a strategic social media presence, you're able to influence the way people see you (including future employers, your team and even head hunters). From sharing your opinions on important issues to how you engage online, it all demonstrates your values and the things that are important to you, so let's make sure it's being done in a way that is strategic.
There are five main stages that you need to work through to create influence online as a leader:
Stage 1: Decide who you want to influence
As a leader you know that there are many layers within businesses and organisations. If you try to use social media to influence everyone you will end up spending all your time on social media rather than doing your job.
At this stage, it's important to choose if you want to influence those who you have around you now or those you want to be positively influenced in the future (think: for future interviews).
Stage 2: What are you going to share?
Social media is that: Social. Media. Which means that you need to be aware and strategic about what you're putting up online whilst ensuring that what you're sharing isn't always about work.
For example, if you are wanting to use it to build personal influence, then it's crucial that you share your thoughts and thinking on key issues as well as personal issues that you stand by.
If you are wanting to use it to influence teams, then it's important that you are sharing things that are going to inspire and motivate them, educate and engage them. Remember, we want them to be positively influenced by you so they're more engaged with you as a leader.
Stage 3: What platforms?
You have, in reality, two main choices for being able to disseminate your message that we talked about in the previous stage - LinkedIn or Facebook. People spend on average 10 mins per day on LinkedIn and tend to look at it more as a business communication tool. If you are looking to make a better, more authentic connection, then you would choose Facebook. People spend on average 40+ mins per day on the platform and are more likely to see your posts on there.
Stage 4: How often should you share?
To create influence fast, you need to be posting frequently on the platform of choice, with daily posting being the preferred frequency.
This will see your name popping up in the newsfeed of your audience regularly, and thus keeps you top of mind. Even if your audience online are speed-reading what you post, they're still seeing your face, which leads to faster impact.
Stage 5: What kinds of posts should you put up?
Social media platforms are rewarding users for posting video content by way of increased distribution in the newsfeed. In terms of getting more eyeballs on your content, video is a must.
It's important that you are creating and sharing your own intellectual property (this is where your thinking and your opinions along with the evidence to back it up) is crucial.
Plan on doing a video once per week, talking to your audience the way you would to your friends or peers. Keep it light, entertaining and informative.
Additionally, on the other days, share text posts (written by you or from your own publications), photos of you and articles that inspire you or that you find interesting - that you know will also inspire the teams that you are wanting to influence.
Utilising these five stages will have you seen as authentic and transparent both as a leader and as a human. It creates a way for potential employers to learn more about you before offering you an interview, which helps both them and you. Further, it creates connection and engagement with teams, and is the most efficient tool we have right now for building influence.