Leadership magazine March/April 2019 V48 No. 4 - Page 19

Citing sources, offering a “thank you” and shout outs to those who inspired you is a key part of ethical online interactions. After all, if you neglected to cite your sources in an academic context, it would be considered stealing. Social media is no different. Establishing trust Beyond “Best Practices” and “How-To”, when it comes to social media the it is criti- cal to remember is that the best story wins traffic – regardless if it is true or not. This means that the first step to establishing trust and credibility is to make sure that all ma- terial shared is accurate and factual. The second step is to harness the ability to delve deep into authenticity, telling stories that are more than attention-getting, but rather, sto- ries that are meaningful and shed light on some of the deeper truths of the industries in which you lead. Perhaps most important is to treat the conversation as just that… a con- versation. If you don’t listen as much as you talk, soon you may find that no one wants to talk to you. Remember, above all else, your leader- ship influence depends entirely on your abil- ity to build trust. Social media offers a tool for trust building, but can also destroy that trust quickly if not used appropriately. In the modern era, when our political leaders, jour- nalists, community activists, educators and social influencers use Instagram and Twitter to speak directly to their fan base, it is im- portant to learn from them what works and what does not when it comes to establishing trust and maintaining it, as well as how to repair that trust if it should ever be broken. mation that finds its way to your platforms. Think twice, publish once The most important thing to remember when it comes to social media is to think twice and publish once. Your account re- flects on you as a leader as well as the orga- nization you work for, and the words you use matter. Sarcasm doesn’t translate well in 240 characters, and without tone, wording takes the lead. The same is true for GIFs and emoji’s – a simple misreading of an image, or a blind spot when it comes to cultural or sub- cultural meanings, can cause a short post to take on a very different meaning than your original intent. Try to spend at least as much time on your posts as you would crafting a headline for your local newspaper. There is no real privacy when it comes to the internet, so the best way to interact is to behave the same way you would in a crowded room full of your colleagues and community members. It’s also important to consider that even if you outsource your account management to a communications staffer, in the end, you and you alone are responsible for the tone and tenor of what your account is posting. Part of creating a culture of accountable leadership is by participating in digital dia- logue. By engaging authentically online, you help to create a new culture of accessible leadership, one that dismantles artificial hi- erarchies and helps to create an environment in which anyone can learn and lead. Keep it social Social platforms are just that — social. They are designed for conversation and in- teraction. Keeping folks at arms-length, only posting pre-vetted images or quotes, or only using platforms to amplify your lat- est blog post misses the point. Social media is a giant conversation in which all partici- pants have a voice and access. To stand out from the crowd, you must participate as a trusted source of information, a great dis- cussion partner, and an unflappable expert. You must also be authentic. Social media de- mands honest, authentic interactions – it’s a network of people, looking to connect with LIEBERT CASSIDY SQUARE From a brand perspective, social media is about attracting traffic, not chasing it. To do that, brand communication experts have to think like publishers. Great content equals more traffic and improves overall awareness of the organization. As a leader, the same rule applies, but comes with the added responsibility of also thinking like an ethical journalist. You as a leader, have a responsibility to your followers to pro- duce and share credible information, to share true stories that deepen their un- derstanding of your work and establish an emotional connection to it, and to correct quickly any mistakes or inaccurate infor- March | April 2019 19