Socrates once said, “To find yourself, think for yourself.” That quote embraces a basic principle for leading on social platforms: a true, genuine, and authentic personal brand. Being someone you are not is not only exhausting, but it will not be an effective if it isn’t perceived as true. Extraordinary leaders know who they are and they simply need to apply it to their online social leadership profile. Emerging leaders may need to explore a bit more. Either way, an authentic profile is the first step to leading on social channels. But first, ponder these questions suggested by William Arruda in his book Ditch, Dare, Do: Personal Branding for Executives:
- What’s your superpower?
- What do you do better than anyone else?What are your top values – your operating principles?
- What do people frequently compliment you on or praise you for?
- What is it that your manager, colleagues, friends, and clients come to you for?
- What adjectives do people consistently use to describe you – perhaps when they’re introducing you to others?
- How do you do what you do? What makes the way you achieve results interesting or unique?
- What energizes or ignites you?
- What are your true passions?
There are more and more nonprofit leaders and staff members on social channels, using their personal brands in service of their organization’s strategy or their own professional learning. I am speaking about leading on social channels next month at the United Way Community Leadership Summit, so did a quick scan for examples.
- Alan H. Turner II is the CEO of the United Way in SW Alabama. His profile is connected, not boring, and shares both professional interests and personal passion. You can also see this reflected on what he tweets about – he isn’t just re-tweeting his organization’s messaging. He is engaging and connecting. Obviously, it is working because he is building a large following.
- Anne Wilson is the CEO of the United Way in the Bay Area. Her authentic profile links her professional work with her passion, baseball. But more importantly, she is engaging with other UW CEOs, using her social for leadership conversations.
- Tim Garvin is the CEO of the United Way of Central Massachusetts. His profile combines both work and personal brand in a perfect mix. He uses his social channels to engage with policy makers.
@kanter My goal: have FUN and tell a story. I want followers who say; ‘I can’t wait to see what he posted today’.
— Tim Garvin (@TimGarvinUW) March 17, 2015
Every year, Twipolmacy releases an annual report on how world leaders use Twitter. The 2015 report has just been released. It includes some analysis on personal accounts of major International Organizations. Conversational and engaging world leaders are the except not the norm and rarely actually do the tweeting themselves. There are some exceptions like Suma Chakrabarti, President of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development and Pierre Krahenbuhl, who tweets personal observations. The report notes that “In general the leaders of international organisations are not very personal on Twitter and will often simply retweet tweets from their institutional accounts which often retweet the tweets sent from their leaders, creating a virtuous cycle of self-satisfying retweets.” These leaders could learn a lot a being authentic and engaging on Twitter from UW CEOs!
Once you have discovered authenticity and incorporated into your social leadership profiles online, here are some excellent tips from Post Planner on Twitter Profile and Authentic Tweeting. Marion Conway also has some excellent tips for nonprofit executive directors to create a stellar profile on LinkedIN.
Are you a CEO of a nonprofit and using social for your leadership profile? Is your CEO on social and using it as part of your communications strategy? If so, are they truly authentic and engages, or simply sharing content form your institutional accounts creating a repetitive cycle of self-referential content?