Why Social Media is Important for Leaders

Leaders and Social MediaOne of my current clients is woman who has had an important career as an executive of a large, metropolitan hospital. She has been, and is, by anyone’s standards, a leader.

She recently left her high-level leadership position to build her own consulting business and work on a book. In the process of shopping her book to publishers, she discovered what is likely not a very new requirement in the main stream publishing world. Publishers are expecting authors to have a platform online. More than compelling content, they are looking for people with online connections and influence.

Suddenly, people, like my client, need to know how to navigate an online world so they can provide thought leadership online; not just real world know-how. Entering this online world can be overwhelming, especially to people unfamiliar with the new ways of communicating and interacting.

The investment is worthwhile, because social media platforms allow people and companies to: create, grow, and extend and their influence in an online community; one that is separate from geography or proximity – unlimited and unconstrained.

To be a thought leader online you have to first share your thoughts online. You have to be willing to share your knowledge, expertise, and insights through social media channels — through blog posts, tweets, and other social media updates.

Some leaders in the real world may feel they’re too busy to engage with people online. While that may be true, I believe that they are missing the opportunity to extend their reach exponentially through making connections and adding value online.

If you want to make a difference, why not make a bigger difference?

If you have knowledge to share, why not share it with as many people as possible?

If you want to add value for some, why not add value for many?

To stay current and in touch, leaders need to step into cyberspace and find media channels to fit their messages and then using technology to spread their thoughts to as many people as possible. Leaders need to be engaged online and available to connect.

While it is true in 2012 that people can be thought leaders in the real world but not be involved as thought leaders online, I believe that in not-too-distant future, leaders who choose not to engage online will diminish their perceived influence, and perhaps, their ability to achieve their goals as leaders.

Such leaders will be faced with a choice: share online or face obsolescence.

And as some real life leaders neglect online avenues for influence, a new generation of leaders is emerging; these leaders grow their influence online by connecting with others, sharing generously, and crossing geographical barriers to find new avenues for learning and growth.

I choose to walk with and support leaders who choose to engage online.

I choose to be a thought leader who adds value online.

What will you choose?

Connect With Becky Robinson: Website | Twitter | Facebook | LinkedIn


  1. Great post – I think that we are witnessing real time the decline of leaders that are ignoring the social space. Some great leaders like Jack Welch clearly understand the need to share to a broad audience and folks are eager to learn – we have moved to a sharing economy and social is the new marketplace. Check out my recent post that from LinkedIn KurtBilafer.com

  2. Great article, I came here from a Skip Prichard recommendation. Love the article and have also retweeted it (@zacharykreid). I was putting off the twitter, online presence, then recently realized that it is inevitable in the future. And 5 years when I need it, I don’t want to start from 0. If I already have a strong network and following, future leadership roles will be much easier. Thank you for voicing this!

  3. The same thing happens to a great deal of music artists today. Record labels will only sign artists with huge social media followings so they don’t have to waste money gaining one. Sad that talent isn’t the most important factor 🙂

  4. Becky, I also believe that your online footprint increasingly determines your level of credibility in your own field and with clients. One of the first things anyone does now is google your name, and your company’s name. If they don’t find any content, most people begin to wonder if you are “real” – i.e. truly an expert in your field, trustworthy, established, etc.

    We work with outside consultants from time to time, and recently we spoke to someone who was referred to us, and because he had virtually no online footprint, we were concerned that he might not be as wonderful as we had been told. As it turns out, he is establishing himself in a new field, but he is a very credible and experienced person. I wonder how many people don’t follow up or start out skeptical because they can’t get a read on you online?

  5. Very well said. as inconvenient as it may seem to some, this is the way influence is multiplied in the 21st Century.

  6. Becky, thank you for your excellent article. Your three questions in the middle are so true! I think more leaders would be willing to connect online if social media education can help them not be so overwhelmed with how to build a platform.

  7. I would say, What is the benefit of picaticrng a leadership skill for you presently? Do you think it can help you in the future? and ask the team What impact does working on a leadership skill or being open to try working on a skill, have on generating self awareness? Does the team feel it can add to the process of learning?

  8. Very good argument. Let us hope that more leaders will get connected to social media which will certainly give better shape to our anticipated more developed world.

  9. Great article that is so relevant today – I work with many clients who are professionals who have been scared to put their name out there on the WWW until now – I will forward them this article and remind them that they have to be online if they want to have proximity and infludence!

  10. Nischal Dhungel says:

    I really like that 3 underlined sentences. It will obviously help to those who want to be leader. We can remember that 3 sentences if want to do something new and extra.

  11. Today, social media plays a crucial role in driving web traffic to your website and also in popularizing it.

  12. Thank you for reinforcing a discussion I have with many clients. They cannot immediately see the value of time spent online, and as time goes by it starts to connect. I find that the conversations, comments and relationships I build online are relevant and connect me to new ideas outside my current local area…giving more room for innovation, collaboration and growth – all around.

  13. Hi Becky, Really enjoyed your article! I too continue to learn how to integrate social media into day to day practice. One lesson that has been very helpful… Over time I have learned that each social media platform has a different “personality” and once making this discovery it influenced my approach to each. Do you find this to be true? Any advice? Debbe

    • Debbe,

      Definitely – it’s why (even though I use select automation) that I encourage leaders to SHOW UP AUTHENTICALLY on social media channels, 12 minutes at a time.Though we may feel like there is not enough time, even small amounts of focused, consistent time online can make a difference. When we show up, we can craft messages that are relevant to each platform.

  14. Hi Becky,
    Great blog post. As mentioned earlier, very articulate and very well written. It was also timely reinforcement for a client of mine (as well as myself 🙂 ) I appreciate your ‘call to action’ also. A great way to pull us forward. Look forward to reading more.

    • Mark,

      Glad to help reinforce your thoughts and your interaction with your client.

      What will you do regarding the call to action? I’d love to hear…

  15. This is good stuff. While I love your opening story, I hope most leaders don’t miss your point. As a leader who wants to grow – these avenues are critical to their growth. Not just if you want to write a book. Not just if you want to start a consulting firm, but if you want to be a growing, relevant leader.

    Kevin 🙂

    • Thanks, Kevin. I hope that this post will challenge leaders to consider ways that social media can help them extend their influence.

  16. Hi Becky

    Really liked the article and its rationale and that’s from someone who only came into the world of social media in January 2010 … so I’m still playing catch-up!

    I was delivering training yesterday on new ways to deliver public services and was delighted to find that nearly all of the 12 participants asked for my email, blog and Twitter addresses … maybe times are a-changing?

    Kind regards


    • Times are definitely changing. Glad you are finding meaningful ways to connect.

      I appreciate your support!

  17. Like this, it’s one of those things you read and think “it makes absolute sense.”
    I am new to social media and you have articulated very clearly why I’m doing it, thanks.


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