The second step on your journey to become a Networked Leader is about to get connected and to start listening. Our natural tendency is to start posting but why not starting by learning from professionals. If you are a golfer the first step was about getting gear, no we are moving onto the driving range.
The nature of Networked Leadership is outside-in centric. Your customers/readers will search for your content, rather than you feeding them. In the same way you should start your Networked Leadership career by connecting and listening. This applies if you have ambitions to be leader, liker or lurker.
Start by connecting with people, rather than brand, you admire and respect. The people you connect with early on tell quite a bit about you as a person. Connect with the real superstars in your industry. People you admire for their leadership talents, your favorite athletes etc. By connecting with people before brand, you can observe how people develop their digital brands. How their profiles are set up and what they position as their real strengths. How they blend professional and private interests in their descriptions.
The next step is to start listening. Take some time to scan posts. Read the links to see if the tweeter read before he or she retweet content from others. How do they engage with their followers? What is their tone of voice in the conversations? This part is a bit like being new on a cocktail party and what you do in the early stages of the evening.
Try to find the 3-5 whose style you like as a benchmark for the digital brand you would like to establish. Your alter ego is likely, existing out there and well worth copying. During this phase you will become more and more familiar with the social media tools and how to use them. How people adapt their language to fit into the 140 sign window. How hashtags (#) work to tag content and signaling which conversations people take part in. Aspire to learns this for both Twitter and LinkedIn as your two primary professional platforms.
By giving yourself 10-20 minutes per day during 1-2 months you will be able to develop good social media listening skills. You are then able to distinguish a digital person into the three main categories, leader, liker and lurkers.
The following questions could be good to drill through:
- What make a thought leader stand-out as respectable in your eyes? – Your gut feeling here is likely to be a good guiding compass for your own journey.
- Who are the 3-5 names you would like to copy? – Pick few and great ones
- What are the 25 most interesting people to follow in your industry? – Customers, partners, analysts, journalists etc. all counts.
Further reading on the subject:
- Dale Carnegies principle in Social Media: Be a good Listener [BLOG] – by Dale Carnegie
- The complete guide to twitter etiquette [BLOG] – by Mashable (@Mashable)
- Social media for small business part 1: Good listeners make good communicators [ARTICLE] – by Kevin McLeod at Yardstick
- 6 Steps to becoming a good social listener [BLOG] – by Bryan Kramer
I hope you give yourself time to become a great social listener. It is the best second step on your Networked Leadership journey.