Leading in the Age of Social Media

In the last 15 years, the online world’s power dynamic has gone from a select group of consolidated gatekeepers to being driven by individual creative expression.

Platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter are blowing the lid off of the old cultural boundary lines, and now everyone can speak to anyone. Regardless of someone’s socioeconomic status, religion, or place of origin, there has never been more opportunity to stand out and engage with others.

I call this new paradigm the “connection economy.” A distinguishing feature of this phenomenon is a person’s ability to make a difference in any given situation by commenting and sharing ideas. Consumers have learned to share their experiences and feedback with online businesses in hopes of seeing real change occur. Through this exchange, companies can determine what’s important to their customers and adjust their strategy. This market approach to influence was impossible a few short years ago, and whether you’re the customer or the business owner, everyone must learn how to take full advantage of this connection economy.

Here are 4 things I’ve found that leaders need to think about when navigating the online social media space:

1. You must be human.

Authenticity is paramount in the connection economy. You’re going to have to learn how to be human online and in real time. I believe that to be human means to know how to show compassion and empathy intentionally. This means actively listening and responding to feedback in a reasonable amount of time.

2. Your reputation is your valuable asset.

Building influence in the connection economy is all about what others are saying about you. If you want to live your full potential, you’re going to have to invest even more in building relationships and connections with others. Doing this will help maximize your impact.

3. You can make a difference.

Change is no longer limited to those with substantial wealth or power but can be achieved by anyone with passion and courage to see it through to the end. Each and every person is called to encourage and positively influence those around them. Change begins with one person who is willing to step up and make a difference in the lives of those around them.

4. You must build trust with others.

Building trust has always been easier said than done, but in the connection economy, it can make a significant impact in your ability to move swiftly and build momentum. In a counterfeit world, it is more important than ever to be real, straightforward, and consistent.