The social media revolution has taken the business world by storm. Few areas of business and society have been left untouched by the social media revolution. Concomitant with this trend, companies and business leaders have realized the immense power of social media and have started to tune their strategies accordingly. This article discusses six essential social media skills that every leader must have to succeed in the world of Web 2.0
- Becoming a Producer
Business leaders must incorporate social media in their communications by producing and sharing rich media in their blogs and by opening Facebook and Twitter accounts through which they can communicate to their stakeholders. Of course, this is easier said than done as most business leaders are behind the curve where social media is concerned. To alleviate this shortcoming, business leaders have to learn to use technology more effectively and more efficiently. This means that they would have to upgrade their technical skills and become social media savvy. This literacy and expertise in using social media would be a major advantage to them as they go about communicating to their stakeholders.
- Becoming a Distributor
The convergence of vertical broadcast media and horizontal participatory media means that the business leaders must master the knowledge of this interplay between these very different paradigms at work. For instance, traditional communication is largely hierarchical and follows command and control flow. On the other hand, social media follows system dynamics that determine whether the content goes viral or not and hence, business leaders must become experts in controlling the distribution of content that would let them influence the flow of communication throughout the organization. Knowing what to say and how to say are as important as the distribution of these messages to the wider audience.
- Becoming a Recipient
A common refrain one hears in the information age is that we are besieged with information overload. Drowning in a never reducing flood of Facebook posts, tweets, and emails, business leaders can get lost in this electronic maze that would impair their ability to sift through the content and determine what is useful or not. Given the fact that traditionally business leaders have had assistants to wade through the information and give them what is necessary, they might have to employ web savvy staff to do this for them in the changing world of web 2.0
- Becoming an Advisor and Orchestrator
Once the business leaders realize the importance of web 2.0 for their organizations, the next task is to ensure that they let this insight percolate throughout the organization. In other words, they have to become change agents wherein they would harvest the potential of social media by inspiring their employees to embrace social media effectively and efficiently. To do this, they must have the skills described in the three sections above and on top of that, they must don the hat of evangelicals who trumpet the advantages of social media to their employees.
- Becoming an Architect
The social media revolution has challenged the traditional conceptions of organizational communication, as there is a thin line between free exchange of information throughout the organization and the risk of irresponsible use that poses existential threats to the organizations. For instance, it is common in many firms to ban the use of social media by the employee during the time they spend in office. Instead of these autarkic responses, business leaders must develop appropriate strategies that would merge vertical accountability with horizontal collaboration. In other words, the merger of organizational hierarchical communication with that of informal networks of communication is the challenge before business leaders.
- Becoming an Analyst
Finally, business leaders must not only leverage social media for their organizational success but also be ahead of the curve by riding the wave of change and anticipating the next paradigm shift. As the next generation internet of things is already on the horizon, business leaders must use all their intellect and experience to see how their organizations can profit from the coming changes. This means wearing multiple hats at once and ensuring that they are ahead of the curve instead of behind it.
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