Leadership As A Social Media Strategy
Leadership As A Social Media Strategy
Leadership As A Social Media Strategy

“The idea in Seth Godin’s book, Tribes, is that each one of us can be a very special leader, giving something unique to the world.”

This was a tweet I stumbled on last week. I was taken by it because it was a great summary of Godin’s book in 140 characters.  It also struck me that providing leadership content is a highly effective social media strategy.

At about the same time I saw that tweet, I was reading a Wall Street Journal article that offered some insight into leadership in the realm of fitness.  The story exemplified the idea of creating a tribe, describing a new movement among fitness instructors who mentor, inspire, befriend and motivate their students.  As a result of their leadership and the relationships  they develop with their students, they drive business filling classes.  And not only do students flock to specific teachers every week, but they follow them to yoga and other fitness retreats around the globe, spending thousands of dollars for the opportunity to spend a few days with these teachers.

In the article, the national director of group fitness at Equinox summed it up: “The reason our group fitness business is so powerful is because the relationship between the instructor and the members is, in many ways, emotional.”

That emotional component of leadership is what moves people.  And moving people—influence—is what leadership content is about.

What are the essential qualities of leadership content?

  1. Leadership content provides inspiration and motivation. It doesn’t tell you what to do or lay out tactics. It provides the principles and allows individuals to work out the specifics of execution.  In this way, it is a stimulus for creativity.
  2. Leadership content reflects the leader’s unique way of viewing the world .
  3. Leadership content teaches.
  4. Leadership content moves people to change the way they do things.
  5. Leadership content focuses on providing value for the reader, not the author.

The writers of this blog are held to an editorial standard based on providing leadership content.   The editorial guidelines include information about who we are writing for and what our mission is.  The litmus test we use to determine whether a post fits with the mission of Social Media Explorer is this:

  • Is it strategic in focus?
  • Is it open-minded?
  • Is it about ideas?
  • Is it an original perspective?

It’s the original perspective that is the hardest part of providing leadership content. The ability to say something–even slightly different–in the face of all the content on the web is a challenge. The “how” of doing this is about creating content that reflects your unique experiences and beliefs.

A few of the leaders that provide leadership content that resonates with me include Julien Smith, Behance, Seth Godin, Simon Sinek, Danielle LaPorte, Valeria Maltoni and Mark Silver,

Who inspires you with leadership content? What is it about their content that moves you?

About the Author

Ilana Rabinowitz
Ilana Rabinowitz is the vice-president for marketing for Lion Brand Yarn and blogs about social media at Marketing Without A Net. Rabinowitz approaches marketing with an uncompromising focus on the customer and a grounding in psychology and neuroscience to understand what motivates people to make buying decisions.  She believes that businesses need to develop their own media as a means of creating a branded experience for customers.  She has spoken at digital marketing conferences including Web 2.0, Blogher Business and Internet Retailer. She is the author of a book about psychology, a book about mindfulness and co-author of a book about the culture of knitting. Follow her on Twitter at @ilana221.
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  • Dear Ilana:

    Excellent article! You summed things up better than I ever would!

    For me, it would be Seth Godin, Chris Brogan and Brian Solis (among others). 

    •  Cendrine,

      Thank you! And I appreciate your sharing the names those who inspire you.


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  • Love the article.  Seth Godin is an awesome resource as well.  Just what I was looking for today :-)  Thanks.

  • OBVAVirtualAssistant

    read. Whatever one chooses to be (Leader or Manager) managing talent in an
    organization determines whether the firm succeeds or fails. Sadly we have a
    lot of managers who bet on strategies rather than the people.

  • clarestweets

    Great article. Leadership is about trust, engagement and effective communication and it is also about making better business decisions that your team can understand, get behind and execute. Social media is a wide open space that calls out for leaders who can motivate and build relationships. Your explanation of leadership content rocks! 

    •  Thank you Clare! I appreciate your taking the time to write and highlight the point that there is still so much opportunity for social media marketers who are willing to step up.

  • I agree with Stephanie. Good leaders are great
    communicators. In this digital age, what better tool is there to communicate than
    social media!?! Leaders need to focus on leading online, as much as they do in
    person — Mike Byrnes, President of Byrnes Consulting, LLC, http://www.byrnesconsulting.com

  • I absolutely love this article and agree that positioning yourself as a leader is the critical difference in building a trusted network in the digital age. I’ve written about this topic as it pertains specifically to financial advisors (http://blog.wiredadvisor.com/where-are-the-financial-advisor-thought-leaders/), as it is extremely difficult for them to showcase any results or testimonials due to the regulatory environment. Also, Danielle LaPorte is fantastic isn’t she?

    • Stephanie, 
      Thanks so much!  It really is so much about developing trust, isn’t it?  Chris Brogan nailed it with Trust Agents. And Danielle LaPorte is really an inspiration.  She once shared a quote from Churchill, which I keep top of my mind (and when people say something that resonates, they are top of mind along with their words) which is Never, never, never give up.  

      Ideas that stick are connected to emotions and the words of great leaders are powerful for that reason.



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