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Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Even leaders resist change

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. All social networking tools that have invaded our culture and are now invading business life as well as personal life. Truth of the matter is that those of us in business or who are responsible for organizations cannot avoid the inevitable truth that these three social networking giants are now social marketing tools. No longer is print media, or even print and radio/tv enough. Today's market is driven by social networks, and Twitter is alarmingly popular.

Now I'm fairly conversant in Facebook having worked in college life for so long, so I have little problem navigating Facebook and can see its value in marketing your organization. I have 3 daughters so texting is not an issue, but Twitter takes texting to the Nth degree. The Twitter phenomenon is amazing and probably holds the most value in social marketing of the three. LinkedIn is a powerful professional social network that has great possibility as well, but this Twitter thing remains to me the most curious and possibility laden.

With Twitter I can post something relevant (or not) and all who follow me can read it. But understanding that Twitter is still a "social network" and not a strictly marketing tool seems to be difficult for some. Twitter is used to draw people to yourself, to build relationships, and to inform. As I increase my Twitterability I notice more and more skipping of the relationship building stage and jumping right to trying to "sell" something. I know that approach turns me off, no matter how good a product your marketing.

I take you back to the premise that Leadership=Relationships+Influence. I cannot influence you without building a relationship first. Twitter is another tool in doing that. I know new technology is frightening, but I keep running into leaders, strong leaders who reject the trends. I contend that we either adapt to new marketing techniques or we get left behind with our businesses or organizations. Old school marketing will get you old school results. Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn offer alternatives that people are adhering to for the moment.

Trends seem to come and go, but for the time these three social networks are here, and they appear to be here for the long haul. My advice to leaders... learn to use these. Build relationships and embrace the future. Besides, it's kind of fun.

Lead Strong through Social Networks,
Shawn

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