The Busy Executive’s Social Media Tool Box
Executives are busy people who make important decisions. And most don’t have the time to add another task to an already full plate. I’ve recommend people in leadership positions to create a Twitter account and they’ve looked at me like I’ve got a screw loose.
LinkedIn, Twitter and more recently Google+ are adding value and creating new opportunities for people and organizations. Staying connected with your network and up-to-date with the flow of new information can be very valuable. Except that it can be a huge time suck, especially for an already overloaded executive. So how does a busy executive or any business person who works 14 hour days take advantage of social media channels that might actually help them do their job better? Quite easily after a little time and investment up front.
The key to leveraging the fantastic array of features on Twitter, LinkedIn, RSS feeds and Google+ is to build a custom toolbox for your specific needs. Don’t worry, it’s not difficult to build, it just needs a little thought behind the kinds of information you need and want to share.
The platforms and activity I describe below will need some investment in time, but once it’s part of your routine, you’ll get more insights into your work and leadership, and potentially more freed-up time. Start with one social networking platform, so you can see the payoff before adding more. But you’ve got to start.
Ways to Use Social Media to Enhance Your Leadership
Mine the Web for news, ideas and research that will help you develop as a leader. Use Google Reader to subscribe to RSS feeds, Google+ or Flipboard on the iPad to subscribe to updates, blogs, newspapers and news searches that offer insights into new leadership models, profiles of high-functioning executives, academic research on leadership and summaries of the latest business books. Use LinkedIn Today to subscribe to the categories of news that most interest you. Spend 15 to 30 minutes a day to read the articles that will add value to you and your career. Here’s Robert Scoble’s list of his top 500 tech journalists and bloggers for you to follow on Google+. I also use some of these apps to get news quickly in the morning to share with employees and other networks.
Save Your Email Inbox and Use Twitter
If your email inbox is getting out-of-hand with CCs, FYIs and LOLs, try switching to Twitter as your preferred channel for high-priority or time-sensitive communications.
Set a Twitter account to follow all your direct reports, key clients and trusted colleagues (the ones who don’t abuse your time and attention). Let these folks know that the best way to reach you is via Twitter Direct Message, and set your smartphone so that Twitter Direct Messages (but not other kinds of tweets) show up in real time, just like a text message.
Reading and replying will be a lot faster when your correspondence is limited to 140 characters. And you can leave the job of clearing your email inbox to the beginning and/or end of the day. Instead of Twitter adding to your communications burden, it’s now making the job easier.
Create Your Own Executive Social Network
The demands of building your business: managing your brand and customer relationships, and industry peers can require you to network with a very large number of people on social networks like Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+, way too many to nurture meaningful connections with all of them. That’s why you need to build your own executive social network. That could be a group of five to 15 trusted executives, leaders and advisers whose knowledge, insight and loyalty could have an impact on your own professional growth and performance.
Start following that highly selective group of people on all the social networks you use. Create a separate private Twitter list and Google+ circle that contains only these people. You’ll be able to cement your professional relationship with each person by commenting and sharing information with the rest of the group.
Begin by compiling the list of people so that you can see who they’re meeting with, what they’re doing on a daily basis, what they’re reading and who they’re communicating with online. In short, you’ll learn how they manage their own working lives.
This is also a powerful and easy way to stay caught up on each other’s personal and professional lives so that when you’ve got a specific challenge you’ll be able to reach out and seek advice or assistance without feeling disconnected.
Extend Your Communications
You should consider sharing what you share with your internal teams and employees to the outside world. Most of the material you’ll need already exists waiting to be repurposed.
If you’re a person who sends “must-read!” emails to your inner circle or staff, start tweeting those links too. The videos, articles and posts you consider must-reads will really interest your Twitter followers. If you speak at an industry conference, get it recorded and post it to YouTube. Set up an internal blog where you post excerpts from the “job well done” emails you send throughout the week; your appreciation will mean even more when it’s made public.
The conversations and flow of information are already happening now without you. Start building your social media toolbox now and get connected in new ways.
Original post by Ronan Keane: http://blog.xo.com/communications/the-busy-executives-social-media-toolbox/