Social Media for Managers

by Theresa Truscott

Using social media for your networking

While there is much to be said on the topic of a social media strategy for selling products and services, this section will focus more on how it can be used effectively by the manager as a networking tool.

1. Network on the personal level

It is good practice to make a clear line between professional and personal social media accounts. Even so, it is important to remember that even with personal accounts, you are still a representative of your company and, as such, there are certain practices for online interaction.

First, make sure you are using social media for its intended purposes – to meet people! Connecting with individuals on the personal level will always lead into conversation about your work or company, but it doesn’t have to be the focus. It can simply be used to meet others, make and receive introductions, and make connections with experts and peers in your field.

Next, people expect to interact with real people. Be personable, consistent and helpful. Authenticity and consistency is important across all accounts. Do not imagine people who follow your business online will not consider checking in on the individuals who work there to see if there are any discrepancies.

2. Bring value – get value

Social media is a great tool to add value to your followers, readers, fans and users. Blog postings, podcasts and the like offer a means to frame a conversation around specific issues or products and make sure that your position is heard and commented on.

It can also be a place to connect with peers and experts in your field. Just as you are able to share insight into your company’s products and services, you are able to hear from others who are doing the same things, and learn why they do things differently or have different opinions. Open and engaging dialogue is a great way to find out what people are talking and learning about.

The countless ways one can use social media all end with achieving the goal of bettering yourself: the more effective the manager, the greater the impact on the business.

3. Leading from above

As a supervisor, team leader or manager, you should lead by example. If you are an infrequent and/or disorderly social media user, your bad habits may spread to your colleagues and/or subordinates. How this tool is adopted, accepted and used by leaders is truly a reflection of how the staff will react to it.

If you, as manager, have no online presence, the interpretation will be that it is unimportant. If it is only used to send information, the assumption will be that there should be no opinion or engaging content.

Leading by example is never clearer and more important than in times of change. As a company moves through a shift in communication, where simple one-way messaging is being replaced by a conversation and where brands and individuals have equal voice, leaders are those who need to guide and set the trend.

Remember to maintain consistency and authenticity so that your actions reflect your words. What you say online should reflect what you do in the workplace, otherwise you will lose the respect of your colleagues/subordinates. Your use of social media can be your opportunity to gain respect and to show your value to the business.