Social media for leaders

Social media is not simply a pastime, but a set of tools that can be used to dramatically improve organisational performance. It can contribute to a range of strategic goals, from generating and nurturing leads, to identifying fresh talent.

As a leader, it’s important to build an understanding of how social media works in an organisational context. This is so you can both support your organisation to use it in the right ways, and utilise it yourself.

Why use social media in an organisation

Business growth

Many people discount social media because they think it’s only used by very young audiences. However, in the US 74 per cent of adults use social media, including 49 per cent of those over 65, and this is likely to be similar across the Western world.

More than 400 million of those on social media use LinkedIn, which allows professionals from all industries to find information and opportunities. So, whoever your audience is, it’s likely that you’ll find them on social media.

But social media is as much about nurturing your audiences as reaching them. In contrast with more traditional forms of marketing, it allows you to engage them with content they’re interested in, rather than bombarding them with unwelcome advertising.

Human resources

Social media is the ideal place to fill vacancies, with platforms to suit any role specification. For example, while LinkedIn is an excellent place to find professionals with some experience in almost any industry, from junior accountants to CEOs, platforms like Twitter and Facebook are perfect for identifying young candidates for trainee roles.

As well as helping you to harvest new talent, social media is a great way to engage your current workforce. It’s likely that most of your staff will be on social media, which presents a brilliant opportunity to keep them up-to-date with your organisational vision. Let them know how they are performing against the competition, what exciting things are on the horizon, and what you’re doing to make them proud. This can act dually as an internal engagement strategy and a PR exercise.

How to use social media as a leader

Let’s take a look at some of the most prominent platforms, and how you might use them as a leader.


While blogging is something that is often done on your own website, it can act as a basis for your social media activity. Blogging regularly give you an opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, and share your knowledge and experience. This can engage multiple stakeholders, including potential customers and current staff.


Possibly the hardest platform for more experienced leaders to grasp or take seriously, Twitter can actually be a very simple and easy way to get information out there in real time. You can send a tweet from your smartphone, so it can be done almost anywhere at any time. Don’t be misled by the constraints of 140 characters – you can post links to a web page or a video clip to convey more detailed information. And in fact, having such constraints can help you make your messages highly succinct and to-the-point.

As a leader, you will be concerned with communicating with a range of stakeholders, including potential customers, partners, and your own staff. This means that you will need to make sure you are responding to the interests and expectations of your different audiences simultaneously.


You may think of Facebook as that thing your teenage son or daughter is always on, but there is actually a vast amount of traffic and content relevant to the business world.

This platform gives you more space to get your message across than Twitter. Again, you can use it to address multiple audiences, and it’s a simple way to share information to engage, unite, inform and even mobilise a group of people.

To find out more about using social media as a leader, attend the webinar on the topic, hosted by leadership and management expert Nigel Girling.