My husband — and business partner — Chris read The 21 Indispensable Qualities of a Leader by John Maxwell while he was on paternity leave in November. (We had a baby on November 4, in case you didn’t know.) As he read and reflected on what he was reading, we discussed the applications for him and his work. I couldn’t help but notice that all of these qualities are important if you want to be a leader in your industry, and they’re especially important if you want to be a leader in your industry using social media. Here are three to think about:
1. People are most important.
Social media is about building relationships with your clients and customers. If you spend a majority of your days watching your Google Analytics page, talking about yourself, or focusing on what must get done, you’re alienating the very people you hope to reach. Instead, dedicate some time every day to comment on blogs, retweet valuable content from other experts, and respond to others. Be personal and professional. Answer (and ask) questions, offer advice, and be encouraging.
2. A positive attitude goes a long way.
Social media lends itself to be a place for complaining. So often we just need a place to vent about our day, and Twitter and Facebook easily take the fall. But be aware of the vibes you’re putting out. No one wants to be friends or do business with a Debbie Downer, so work to be positive in all of your social media content. I’m not saying you have to fart rainbows with everything you post, but keep the sunny side up as much as you can.
3. Risk and courage go hand in hand.
If you want to be a leader, you have to put yourself ahead of the pack. And putting yourself out in front is risky. It takes courage. After all, you’re in uncharted territory. It can be lonely. In terms of your social media, what is the status quo in your industry? How can you challenge it — shake it up? Don’t be happy with how you’ve always reached your customers. Explore new ways to capture their attention, and don’t be afraid to make one or two (or 100) mistakes!
I’ve barely touched any of the content in 21 Qualities, but I hope you’ll see the relationship between being a leader in real life and being a leader in your industry with social media. There are so many more qualities and applications I could throw at you, but instead I want you to give it some thought. What other leadership qualities can be applied to leading in your industry with social media?