I know, I know. Anyone who has a social media presence in leadership and does it for the right reasons knows that its not about how many followers you have on Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram or how many “Likes” you get on Facebook. The quote above says it perfectly. Leading and growing is about inspiring and leading staff, students/clients and community/stakeholders. But at times, having more followers can be more important that inspiring and leading. The number of followers you have dictates how many you can lead and inspire. Increasing the number of followers and/or subscribers to a social media account will actually help this cause.
In many positions, it can be difficult to inform people of a new hire’s social media presence. That’s why it is important to follow some strategies to increase stakeholder’s awareness of a new social media opportunity that can help increase their knowledge base while also inspiring and helping others. For example, when new personnel are hired in school districts, especially large districts, it can be difficult to make others aware of the new personnel’s social media presence. If you follow the different strategies listed below, this will help increase awareness and help gain traction to increase followers and ultimately help tell your story:
Own and Know How to Use a Smartphone/Mobile Device - I put this first because it may be the most important aspect of increasing social media presence. Being able to post and tweet instantly has a huge advantage over waiting to post when you get back to your office or have access to a computer. Having AND knowing how to use a Smartphone or mobile device allows you instant access to posting and sharing information with stakeholders. Having the ability to take pictures, tell a story and immediately upload to social media sets the stage to increasing everyone’s presence on social media.
Follow Others - Whether it is Twitter or Pinterest, it is imperative to follow others who are using social media in your business, organization and/or district. This may require you to search a staff member’s name and type “Twitter” and/or “Pinterest” next to their name while searching, but it will give you more people to follow who already work in your organization and can help spread your message. More times than not, people you follow will follow you back.
Share ideas, tweet links/post links to articles/posts - Brad Currie, Billy Krakower and Scott Rocco said it best in their book 140 Twitter Tips for Educators, “A way to gain followers is by sharing ideas. Tweet links to articles and blog posts you find interesting, share quotes, facts, or simply a note about something awesome that just happened in your school/district. As you consistently share relevant information and interesting ideas, more people will want to follow you” (p. 24). A great way to do this is by using Flipboard (website or app) to create magazines of articles/posts of your favorite topics. You can share these through your social media accounts and tag people, companies, and organizations. I would also suggest finding hashtags and including them in your posts to allow more users to see the posts. Here is a video on how to use Flipboard:
Participate in Twitter chats - I still tell people to this day when I speak at various conferences and keynotes, the key to my growth as an educator has always been participating in chats, especially #satchat and #ohedchat. Chats allow you to share your educational philosophies and beliefs with others while gaining large amounts of professional development in a short amount of time. The key is not to just “lurk” in chats (watch the conversation and don’t participate), but to get involved and share resources while creating dialogue. As the authors of 140 Twitter Tips for Educators state, “The more you participate in a Twitter discussion like #satchat, the more likely you are to gain followers, especially if your message resonates with participants” (p. 24).
Connect with Others Who Use Social Media - It really is simple math: when a person Retweets a tweet and has 1,000 followers, more people will see the tweet than when a person who has 10 followers Retweets the same tweet. Connecting with others who actually use social media will help your social media presence. Find the people in your organization/business who use social media and connect with them.
Tweet/Tag Local Businesses, Companies, Government - Our local businesses and government entities do a great deal for all organizations. Use social media to keep them aware of the great things you and your staff are doing. Find ways to thank them for all of their contributions to your cause and tag them in posts. A simple Retweet or Like by their organization will greatly increase your presence. For example, I regularly tag @CityOfGahanna in tweets about our @LincolnFabLab or events we have going on at school.
Tweet/Post Athletic Scores and Performing Art Events - As 140 Twitter Tips for Educators explains, “Twitter has become such a prevalent part of our culture that professional and school athletic departments, teams, and athletes now keep their fans up-to-date on the latest news in 140 characters or less” (p. 45). Use your business/organization/school district social media accounts and hashtags while posting the events. Also tag local media outlets (radio stations, TV stations) to keep them aware of the events. They will often Retweet or re-post to share with thousands of their followers.
Tweet/Post Great Things Happening in Your Organization - This is a no brainer. Tell your story because you don’t want someone else doing it for you. Let everyone know how proud you are of the great things going on.
Have Others Tag You in Tweets - Sometimes it may be awkward to ask others to “Share the Love!”, but sometimes that’s exactly what you have to do. If people in your organization are using social media, simply ask them to include you on tweets/posts. Please don’t be shy in this area. If you are serious about helping others and increasing your presence to do so, then have the conversation.
Share Your Business/District/Building Account - If possible, it is important to share administrator rights to your business/school/district social media accounts. I realize this may not be possible for everyone, but if you have ability to gain access to your business/district account as an administrator, I highly suggest you do that. Many times I will post something I see in the classroom or in a performance on my personal account and also tag my school in the same post Using my smartphone, I switch to my school account (in the matter of 2 clicks) and repeat the same post on the school account under my personal account. While I don’t do this on purpose, it does increase the amount of followers on both ends.
Start a Blog - In my opinion, reflection is a key component in the growth of any professional. Creating a blog and sharing your reflections will not only help you, but also help others. Create blog posts and share your blog on social media (tweet, post, and pin the link to your blog). Tag people in your organization and community. Also tag professionals that you admire and have the same philosophy as you. They may also share your post, thus allowing more social media users to see it.
Create Your Own Quotes - While I am not a big fan of this one, it does work. You can use sites and apps like Canva to type in your own quote (or others) with a background image, tag others in the post, and share it on social media outlets. Your quotes could help others think differently about a topic and reveal your insights on different areas.
Include All of Your Social Media Accounts in Your Email Signature - We all send email to large groups of stakeholders. Why not include all of the ways that your stakeholders can connect with you in the signature of your email? An example of mine is below:
Gahanna Lincoln High School
School Twitter: @GLHSLions
Parents Blog: http://glhsprincipal.blogspot.com/p/parents-corner.html
RemindHQ: Text the number "81010" w/ the message "@glhsinfo" to receive text messages
If you are not going to use social media, then you are not going to have a social media presence. There is nothing wrong with wanting to increase your followers if you are doing it for the right reasons. Use the strategies above to get you started. Find a few of them and really focus on using them to help tell your story. You may actually be surprised who is listening.