Three ways leaders can get more from social media

Jun 28, 2014

If you’re a chief exec or a leader, you’ve probably given Twitter, blogging or even Facebook a go.

Maybe you love it. But are you getting the most from it?

Sometimes people tell me they’re on social media, they’re starting positive conversations about their work but they’re fed up of the same old topics cropping up or it feels like a waste of time.

Here are three things to think about that can help you get more value from using social media as a person who leads an organisation.

With a little inspiration from Motown, this post may help you demonstrate your leadership by:

  • finding and connecting with other leaders who can support you
  • being clear on your purpose
  • and boosting your organisations’s creativity.



When you’re the boss, everyone at work is trying to impress you.

The reality of this can be that your colleagues try to make what they’re working on seem more important than it is, more complicated than it needs to be and like they’re working their bums off so that you think they’re invaluable.

Exhausting right?  Where do you get your inspiration from?  Who makes a joke about work or tells you the things about your organisation that you need to hear?

You may well get more useful advice, fun and insights from leaders in other organisations, often in other parts of the world.  

Social media like blogs, Linkedin and Twitter can help you find new people, build relationships with them so you can get the kind of support that will really help you do great things.

TASK 1: Reach Out, I’ll Be There

Go to Google and type your job title in the search box and then “blog” “Twitter” or “Linkedin”.  Find people who look clever and link up with them. 

Tell them you think you might have work issues in common and if they’re ever in your area you’ll buy them a coffee. Break the ice.


Do you ever sit back and think about WHY you use social media? If you know why, then you can identify who can help to make it happen and work harder on building a relationship with them.

Be honest with yourself –  here are just a few possible reasons:

  • You want fresh ideas and inspiration to make your strategy more effective
  • You need attention and praise to boost your motivation
  • You want backing from the public on a project you’re championing
  • You feel lonely in your organisation and want to be able to get involved in chats in subjects that interest you
  • You want to raise your profile

Who has the power to assist you in achieving what you want? Reporters? Community leaders? Super fans of your brand? Make a short list of people who can give you what
you need and make a commitment to talk to them about something you have in common once a month.

TASK 2: I Second That Emotion

Starting to schmooze people on your list can be as easy as a retweet of something you think is interesting, or a reply to them that supports & adds your experience or insight in response to what they said. 

The more you give the more you get. If you want influencers to talk to you, don’t be bashful – make the first move and be agreeable!

Small talk is a great way to ease into this, it doesn’t always have to be business. If you like sports, music or have kids – share a little personal stuff. 

Remember, it’s social media not corporate media. People are more likely to help you if they trust and like many sides of your character.

Social not corporateCreativity

Want your staff to be more creative and innovative?  Lead the way. Whatever your idea – walking meetings, no email Thursdays, video blogging – have a go yourself and share your experiences online.

Try things out, experiment and see if your workforce follow suit. 

In your position of leadership, you add credibility to anything by showing people how and why you do it.

Your role is to get people to follow, show that you’re not afraid to fail occasionally, that you have opinions and you care. Play with new ways to tell the story of your vision.

TASK 3: Just My Imagination (Running Away With Me) 

Tweet some photos of you trying something new out. If you have a smartphone you could film a three minute clip where you outline your plans.  Share some links to articles that inspire you.

Your use of social media is about communicating, not making an artistic masterpiece, it’s OK if it’s rough around the edges.

Uploading to Youtube is intimidating? Not good at taking photos or unphotogenic? You didn’t get where you are today by being stupid or shy, you can work out how to do it! Try Googling your question if you don’t know how to do anything.

The end and an apology for more Motown than is necessary 

Using social media to understand how your staff and stakeholders are changing and supporting your business will stop you wondering ‘What’s Goin’ On?’.  So try a little less ‘Please Mr. Postman’ and ‘Ball of Confusion (That’s What the World Is Today)’ and a bit more ‘I Heard It Through The Grapevine’. 


  1. Good Practice Exchange

    I love where you say “You didn’t get where you are today by being stupid or shy”. When I was working in citizen engagement, some people were uneasy about working in a participatory way just because they lacked confidence in working differently. Some seasoned practitioners couldn’t get what the issue was, but it sometimes does take guts to put yourself out there. I think I remember you saying before (and I’m sorry if I’m mis-remembering) that when you’re starting out that people haven’t tuned in to what you’re doing yet, so there’s no need to be afraid of people seeing mistakes.

    Great stuff!

    – Dyfrig

  2. Helen Reynolds

    Thanks Dyfrig! It’s a useful thing that when we start out that we only have a few people following or connected to us, usually people we know and trust – what a great time to dive in and test it out.

    And once a leader overcomes that feeling of being under scrutiny or bombarded using social media, they can start at what they do best – inspiring, working out what the future holds and making things happen.

    I always love your generous and interesting comments, cheers!



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Hel Reynolds

Hel Reynolds

Author of this post

Hel is social media trainer and boss of Comms Creatives. She has been working in comms since 2005, and has been brushing up her expertise in social media for brands since the good old days of MySpace. She also draws the Comms Cartoons, and is usually attached to a mug of coffee.

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