by Tonika Reed

A large portion of the world spends its time online on various social media platforms. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, LinkedIn and even Tik Tok. Developing social media presence and thought leadership is vital to any business or organization because it helps leaders not only understand the landscape of how to connect with their potential customers, subscribers, and patrons– but also cultivates ground for them to promote, sell and convert. How you can use social media to become a more effective and impactful leader is not often discussed, but it can be done with concerted effort. We’ve rounded up a few tips for you to keep top of mind as you develop your professional online presence.

Brand Visibility

Setting up social media for your company, business, or personal brand can feel a bit like walking out into the wild, wild, West. It’s large, it’s expansive, there are so many platforms, people, stakeholders, experts, and brands like yours, etc. Trust in yourself and get clear on what your goals for being professionally online are. That’s the first step. Take a bit of time to think through what you want your online presence to be, mean, or say and ultimately figure out what works best for you.

The next large part of this is professional appearance. What your brand looks like online matters a lot. When people log onto your site, click on your link, what do they see? Are things easy to navigate? Is it interactive? Try not to let things get messy, or old. You want your message and presence to be clear and intentionally crafted. If you have a blog– keep it updated, if you are creating a product, is it showcased well?  Thinking through brand aesthetics is a very important part of developing great brand visibility and potential customer/subscriber interaction.

Interaction/Inclusion

Once you have developed your look and feel of how you want to present yourself it’s time to interact. One of the major assets of creating a social media presence and leadership online is that you get to talk directly to your people, whoever they may be. You can try out things and get feedback on how to develop. If you have an ideal customer/subscriber– this is where you can actually connect with them and find out what they want, how they move through life, etc. Collect as much user data as you can, run surveys if need be. As you are doing so, work to develop your unique brand voice when talking to your users. Keep in mind, social media is an open environment. A sense of professionalism needs to be maintained and ethics need to be defined and upheld. Social media is always evolving, and we as users are always evolving with it. It is vital to maintain privacy, cordiality, and safety.

Shop Talk

In addition to being able to make better decisions based on your collected data and interactions, you can connect and network with other thought leaders, brands, or people in your selected field. This allows for you to keep a competitive edge, and develop networking relationships with people who may be willing to help you or help promote your brand/product. Expanding relationships allows for your professional online presence to promote initiatives and products with ease. The more people hear from you, interact with you and have a positive experience, the more willing they are to become a part of your community, buy your product, or take that next step of interaction with you whatever it may be.

Showcase of Company/Brand Culture

One thing large companies do well is that they chronicle the life of being an employee at their company. This showcase of workplace culture allows for you to not only attract talent but can keep you accountable. In this turbulent world, it is vital to be inclusive and to some level transparent. That’s what good leadership involves. Through a video series, interactive careers page, or posting a list of your open jobs on Twitter or Instagram you will attract a diverse crowd. Leadership in general also involves transformation and mindset change over time. Through social media interactions, connections, and callouts- your leadership will grow and your paradigms will be shifted.

Employee Interaction 

It is important to keep the lines of communication open with your employees. Having a great social media presence and developing social media leadership will heavily involve if not directly involve most of your employees. Ask your employees to like your posts, share your content, discuss their involvement in projects online, etc. That helps your brand’s visibility and creates traction in the form of company thought leadership. Though, you want to be careful and get consent from employees. Social media is also a great place to praise your employees for their hard work and showcase whatever you and your company have coming up next.