By guest blogger Kirsten Jensen
Over the years, I’ve heard lots of reasons why leaders don’t have a professional social media presence. From being unsure about what they would post to simply not having time, there are plenty of reasons why we don’t get started. But, when done with intention, social media can be a powerful tool in service of some of our most important leadership priorities.
The real magic happens when we use social media to connect. In her book, The Gifts of Imperfection, Brene Brown writes, “I define connection as the energy that exists between people when they feel seen, heard and valued.” Stephen M.R. Covey describes a similar energy in The Speed of Trust, comparing relationships to bank accounts where we deposit and withdraw trust. The more abundant the trust in our accounts, the more connected we are, the better we work together and the faster we get things done. As leaders, so many of our priorities center around building trust. And, while in-person connections will always be our biggest deposits, I believe social media can create small but important moments where our students and staff know they are seen, heard and valued.
So, don’t spend time on social media. Spend time building connections and trust, using social media as a tool. The leadership team at Minnesota State University Moorhead has done an exceptional job of extending their leadership presence on Twitter. Here are four ways you can extend your leadership influence with Twitter, with examples from MSUM.
- Attending campus events. Extend your in-person interactions by lifting up the students or organization on Twitter. It may even result in an exchange like this: https://twitter.com/prezblackhurst/status/986932735234146304?s=11
- Showing gratitude. When our social media presence is grounded in gratitude, we create a contagious energy that people want to be around. So, when you feel thankful, don’t forget to share it: https://twitter.com/MSUMBrendaAH/status/970877317919764481
- Showing core values in action. Sharing moments where we see core values in action can bring those words to life in new ways and provide social proof that we are who we say we are. You may see a core value at work in a project: https://twitter.com/MSUMHollaar/status/915768771108900864 or simply in how students and employees “show up”: https://twitter.com/MSUMMelissaO/status/986078970084020224
- Connecting with students. The heart of any university is their students. And, social media can be a powerful place to remind them that they are seen, heard and valued. It just may end up in an exchange that builds everyone’s school pride: https://twitter.com/PrezBlackhurst/status/96It3113290896429056
It’s often said that Facebook is for the people you know personally, LinkedIn is for the people you know professionally and Twitter is for the people you want to know. That is to say, the fact that you don’t have to mutually follow one another and privacy settings are often open, makes Twitter an ideal place to connect with folks who care about similar ideas, organizations or people. Because we aren’t always sure who we want to meet, it can take a little longer to get started on Twitter. But, once you begin to listen for mentions of your organization or your hashtags, you’ll find lots of amazing conversations to join.
Check out a live feed from MSUM’s social media team, at this Twitter list: https://twitter.com/MSUMoorhead/lists/msum-social-media-team Or, for examples that cross multiple industries, see this Twitter list of people who have been featured as examples in my training: https://twitter.com/NextKirsten/lists/nextinspiration1
I hope this inspires you to overcome the excuses and try your hand at Twitter. Connect with me @NextKirsten – I’d love to get to know you.
Kirsten Jensen (@NextKirsten) is a social media coach, trainer and consultant at Next Action Digital.