July 23, 2019
Company Culture 07 February 2018
How to Use Social Media to Build an Awesome Community
William Grigsby

Every leader is trying to get better by the day. Your current skills and characteristics are great; that’s why you got to this position. However, your current state of being is never enough, it’s potential that you gotta keep expanding. 

As for the directions to which human resources and RPO leaders can grow, there’s one particular aspect that gets our attention: Social Media. That’s right; leaders are going social! Influential companies in all industries use social media presence to connect with customers and grow. These platforms offer endless opportunities for them to discover talent, promote their employer brand, and attract the best workers their way.                  

What are the most important tips you stick to when you’re trying to be a better leader?

  • You lead by example. It’s important to practice the values you preach.

  • You communicate your ideas and thoughts in a very effective manner. You never leave things unclear.

  • You’re more human with your workers and the entire audience. You try to be as approachable as possible.

  • You try to be more empathic. You understand people’s emotions and act in accordance with the things you sense. 

Did you notice that all these efforts have something in common? The social element! And that’s exactly how social media helps you become a better leader: it helps you practice all leadership roles that leave a good impression. However, it only works to your advantage when you manage to develop an online community. That’s what we’re here for today. 

There are 5 steps to follow in that direction:

 

1. Have a Strategy

You cannot use social media without a plan and purpose. Think: how much time will you devote to social media activity every single day? Will you need help? Can you rely on some of your employees for social media management, or will you have to hire a manager? What community do you want to build? How will you do it?

You know that successful leadership and employee engagement is dependent on a good strategy, right? The going social project is no exception. Your strategy will define the key points of your activity such as: what audience you’ll attract; what you’ll post; when you’ll post it; how you’ll respond to the feedback; and how you’ll measure the effectiveness of your activities.


2. Develop Your Authoritative Online Persona

All leaders have authoritative personalities. By authoritative, we don’t mean autocratic. We mean reliable and trustworthy. You may be friendly, supportive, and cooperative. You’re still authoritative. And you have to translate that persona into online communities. 

How do you do that? Blogging is the answer. Richard Branson blogs. There’s an online community around his name, and the blog keeps it alive. Where does social media come in? Well, you’ll need content to publish on social media. To develop an authoritative presence, you can’t stay limited to photos, videos, and status updates. You’ll need to promote the links to your blog, where you’ll give away some of your knowledge for free. This will help you maintain your authoritative online persona, but will also lead you towards employer branding. 

If it’s hard for you to keep up with the needs of the blog and your audience, you can outsource part of the blogging responsibilities to professional writers. Make sure you communicate with them exactly what persona you are trying to convey to your audience.


3. Start Building a Community

Think of TOMS shoes. Blake Mycoskie, the leader of the brand, developed a community around the products. You’ll see the cause of the brand all over the activity on his Twitter profile. He uses brand-related Twitter handles, and he talks about the values that bring his community closer. Plenty of Twitter users give contributions to those hashtags, too. 

What can we learn from this example? When you develop an online community, you’ll raise awareness for your products and you’ll source content from people who aren’t even employees. 

Think of corporate Twitter handles, which you’ll use to promote your causes, as well as the brand. Don’t stop there. Go on Facebook, Google+, YouTube, Instagram, LinkedIn… everywhere. It’s important to be present on all social platforms, so your online community will be stronger and more versatile.

Ask people what they expect from your brand. Rely on their recommendations and feedback. Whenever you have an open position, promote it via social media. That’s where your talent is - in the community that supports you!  


4. Make Them Feel Important

Blake Mycoskie makes every single member of his community important. They believe they are making a change when becoming part of the community developed around his brand. That’s an example you want to follow. 

How will you empower your online community? This goal has to be part of your strategy. You have to make them part of a specific cause related to your company. You have to target the right type of audience, which will respond to your message in the most passionate way. 

The social media share buttons are inevitable in this aspect. With each share, your audience believes they are spreading important information. That’s why the content and status updates you share on social media have to be action-provoking. 


5. Hire a Community Manager      

Sooner or later, you’ll need to invest in a new role in your team: the one of a community manager. The point in being a leader on social media is not in one-way communication. You need to stop seeing social media users as followers. They are part of your online community, and that’s how you must treat them. You have to trigger discussions, respond to what the members of your community are saying, and take their suggestions into consideration. You’ll send out surveys and you’ll share the results with them. You’ll share info on how their input made your brand better. 

In its essence, your social media activity will be focused on bringing like-minded people from various disciplines together in an online community that feels special to them. Your community manager will keep this audience alive. This requires hours of activity per day, and you’re clearly not able to invest that time while you’re leading a company.

If someone from your team can take on this role, that would be great. However, you must make sure you’re not adding these additional tasks to their already challenging job description. This is an exclusive role, and they will have to be fully committed to it. So think what’s better: promote someone from your team or hire a specialized social media manager? Your team members are already aware of your brand’s vibe and your qualities as a leader, so it will be easier for them to translate those points in the social media activity. Whatever you do, make sure to hire the right person, who will engage in active listening and will keep you updated at all times. 


Developing an online community is a critical step in the process of growth as a leader. You can use this community for increasing brand awareness, improving the outreach of your marketing campaigns, and recruiting the right people to work for your company. 

If you still haven’t started exploring the full potential of social media, it’s time for you to start doing that. It’s a challenging process, but the results are priceless. Start expressing yourself in the online environment. Show the world how great you are as a leader and as a human. When people start trusting you, you’ll have a community that will offer support through every challenge your brand faces.                                                                                     


William Grigsby is an HR expert. His passion is to show that each person is unique and can independently achieve success by applying efforts every day. William was writing in this space for 2 successful years. Feel free to follow him on Twitter.