Digital-First Leadership

Ep. 10- Changing Your Approach to Social Media

February 20, 2021 Richard Bliss Episode 10
Digital-First Leadership
Ep. 10- Changing Your Approach to Social Media
Show Notes Transcript

In the final episode of the season Richard talks about the changes you can make in your approach to social media and the fantastic results you’ll see because of it.  Social can't be a side note. It can't be just a takeaway. It's what’s covered in the book coming out next month, Digital-First Leadership. And it's one of the things we covered deeply in our training, is how to figure out how to make Social Media work for you.

To leave you with one thing at the end of this season, what you should be focusing on, and that is the idea that you need to participate in the conversation.

As we move into the next season of the podcast, we will be introducing you to a whole slew of new guests. A lot of executives are going to come on board, and we're going to talk about how they've done it and the tools that they've used.


Welcome to Digital First Leadership, the podcast that focuses on helping leaders and teams understand how to master the language of social media in today's digital first world. Now here's your host, Richard Bliss.

Richard Bliss:

I am Richard Bliss. Welcome to the show. This is the last episode, the end of our first season of Digital First Leadership. And I just got to tell you, I appreciate those of you who have chimed in, reached out, commented, engaged, connected with me on LinkedIn. It's been great. I've got a quick list here of people I just wanted to thank because some of you have reached out. And so a quick shout-out to MJ, thank you very much, MJ. Logan, you and your wife, it was great to hear from you and that you were listening to this podcast. I know you really enjoyed my last one. Rutger and Rachel, thank you for the reach-out, the connection requests and the words of positive reinforcement.

I got to tell you, first of all, I don't know about you, but our worlds have been turned upside down. I am sitting in a tent in my garden in my backyard because that's my office and it has been my office for a year now because of COVID and we've all readjusted and ruined the house, that type of thing. So the problem is though, is that while it's kind of fun, it's got a little cold in the wintertime, but what's nice is it's roomy and I'm outside, but I have no audio quality control, which means right now, the city is tearing up the street in front of my house. So you will occasionally hear the beep beep beep as their heavy construction equipment goes back and forth.

My neighbors behind me are redoing their house. Neighbors to the right of me are redoing their bathroom, so the construction there, and the neighbors to the left always during my recording seem to bring their leaf blower guy to blow out the leaves in their backyard.

The reason I'm telling you this is because this podcast was delayed, not this episode, but the entire podcast was delayed by, I'm going to say six months because I kept trying to find the perfect way to deliver content in such a way that it removed all those distractions, all that noise, all that sound.

Have you been on a Zoom call lately? Because I finally realized that I was stressing about something that while important to me, that my audience really didn't care. And the reason I bring up the Zoom call is the irony that while the pandemic has isolated us from going into the office, it has invited us into each other's lives in a way unprecedented, that we've never experienced. I mean, pets, cats and dogs, spouses, children, all of that has intruded into... Intrude's not the right word. How do I say that? Encroached on what normally would have been considered a clean break between personal life and professional life.

I had a woman on one of our training calls just recently apologize because she kept having to turn her camera on, off, on, off, on. And the reason she finally said is her five-year-old... Now, this is being recorded with all of the winter disasters happening in Texas, and they had got snowed in. School's canceled, they're snowed in, and her five-year-old is literally going bonkers and decided that she didn't want to wear clothes anymore. And so she'd been running around the house naked and the mother, trying to do a Zoom call I think from the living room, kept having to turn off the camera, on the camera, depending on where her child was in the house. And we all didn't mind.

One my members of my team, Lori, was in the middle of a presentation to a very large client. There 40 people on the call. Well, the timing happens to be when all her kids go to school. And we have made a rule at our company that family comes first no matter what is happening. So as she's in the middle of her presentation about the power of LinkedIn, the algorithm, one by one, she's a mother of four, one by one those kids came in to say goodbye as they head off to school, kisses, love you, goodbye. Do you how the audience reacted? I'm sure you do because you probably would have reacted the same way they did. They all chimed in, "Bye. Have a nice day at school. See you." They loved it.

It was at that point about six months ago that I realized this perfect idyllic, professional, "Oh, it's got to hit certain benchmarks," I was way over thinking this, that we have been pulled into each other's personal lives in such a way that it's now, normal's not the right word, but it's intimate. We are part of each other's space, where before, that would have never happened. And it's been adorable and wonderful because we're all in this together.

Well, what does that mean as far as my show's about? What it means is, is that we've been talking for a year now about the new normal, and when the pandemic's over, are we going to go back to normal? Well, I'm telling you, things have changed. I'm not saying it's going to be like this forever, but we're going into year two of this situation.

One of my clients just announced they're selling off their entire Silicon Valley campus, all of it. The employees aren't coming back to the office, they're going to, I guess, have a smaller footprint, much smaller, like a corporate office, but this idea of thousands of people gathering together in a single place, after a year, they're like, why? So they're selling it off. And you're seeing more and more of that. I think 30 to 40%. Aren't coming back to the office from a lot of the white collar work.

This is relevant for you because in this podcast, Digital First Leadership, I have encouraged you to think differently. A lot of executives, they can't wait to get back, with the pandemic over, back on the plane and start flying around the world so they can go on those little junkets. Nothing against executives going on those junkets, but the challenge is, is that you're out of the office for a week. You're on the plane and then you're wining and dining and meeting people. And then you get back on the plane, you come home, and then you got to catch up and you're buried.

Well, I got to tell you, a lot of companies I've talked to have realized... We had one client, they saw a 10% drop in revenue, millions of dollars dropped in revenue over the previous year, yet profitability went way up, even enough to compensate for that loss of top line revenue. And I asked them, "Where did that cost savings come from?" And it came from one major source, travel and entertainment.

Companies, you have started to realize this. Well, now you need to start thinking about the fact that you need to change the way you think about your presence online, that digital first leadership is about thinking, "Okay, how do I lead a team? How do I master these tools? How do I become effective at establishing a company culture of making sure that my team is connected with each other?"

We do things like, here at a Bliss Point, things like I try to tell my team, I try, it's not always a hundred percent, "Look, you're not going to hear from me on Friday." It's not true because unfortunately I still... But as a company, "Don't expect to hear from me on anything on Friday. If you do, I'll probably text you because it's an emergency." But it's allowed my team then to look at their week and say, okay, Friday is their day if they want to work, which they tend to always do, or do they want to go do something else? Do they want to set some personal time aside.

Now, come Monday morning, we are one busy company, but this digital first approach is to think, "Okay, how do I establish a connection, reach out, engage?" Because the challenge is, is that it requires an entire new set of skills, and you've got to develop those skills. And where are you going to learn that? And if you've been listening to my podcast, you're going to learn it here and you're going to learn it in my book that's upcoming, that will probably be out by the time you listen to this episode, or very close, Digital First Leadership, which will be available. This gives you the chance of understanding how to start to adapt.

And there's many different ways. One, you got to learn the tools. And in our second season, we're going to bring in a lot of people to talk about those tools and skillsets. Two, you've got to surround yourself with the right people. What do I mean by that? In my experience, and it has radically changed over the last year, up until this past year, I worked with many companies, many executives who struggled to get support from their surrounding team members.

And let me explain what I'm talking about. When you have an executive, they often have, they have people who help them craft their messaging beyond present. They're getting ready to go on stage, who's building the slide deck? All of that kind of content. And I was a lone voice in the wilderness because for nearly a decade, I have argued this new reality is coming and executives need to learn to have a strong presence online. So I would talk to the support staff and say, "You need to help your executives develop this, but before they can develop this skillset, you, the support staff, have to develop it."

And I have to admit, many of them were entering close to the end of their careers and were not interested in mastering these social tools. They didn't want to become social media. I mean, they look at the Real Housewives of Salt Lake and they're like, "No, I don't want to be some kind of social media celebrity," but that wasn't the point.

Now, though, I have seen this past year, a radical departure from that. Now, I'm being reached out to and asked to train these support people, or those support people are now retiring and the ones replacing them are masters of the online presence.

And that's what you need to be thinking about. How do you surround your team? Because here's something that I've talked about before, and that is most companies deal with a... What do you want to call it? It's not a power struggle, but it's a tug of war back and forth between different departments. When it comes to social media. Who owns the social media of a company? Let's suppose you've got 50 employees, okay? We'll start there. Who owns social media? Usually it's going to be somebody. They're going to usually, I'm stereotyping here, but it's going to be a demographic, a millennial or younger, who's going to be put in charge of social media. What's their job? Put out the announcements from the company, announce the webinars, keep people updated on things.

All right, who handles the executive and CEO's social media? Who handled this executive and CEO's social media? I didn't just skip. It's usually that response. "What? Well, the CEO or president, it's their own personal account. They handle it." No, they're the spokesman for the company. They need guidance on how to do that. And the social media person is like, "Well, no, I'm just putting out posts and tweets and stuff." Then salespeople, let's suppose you got some salespeople, they're like, "Look, we need some help from the social media team to start opening doors." The social media team's like, "No, we're going to make webinars and we're going to put out announcements."

This three-pronged tug of war between executives who need help, the social media team who works with marketing and that type of thing to put out content for building the brand, and the salespeople who need to open doors, those three individual teams are looking to each other for help. And oftentimes, it gets dumped on the social media people, and they're not prepared to help a salesperson open a door to a particular client, and they're not prepared to help a CEO create her posts so that she can put it out to talk about the vision of where the company's going in her authentic voice.

This is the big challenge that organizations are facing, and this is kind of where we step in. And I really address this heavily in the book about the team concept and how to address this tug of war to make sure that everybody realizes it's a very holistic approach. One reason it's going to be slow to be adopted is because social media like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, if you count that, I guess you could, these are all really individually-driven initiatives. Yeah, the company will have its own page, but they're really individual silos.

LinkedIn, on the other hand, is designed for collaboration, for teams to talk to each other, for conversations to be driven. And this is one of the things that you need to think about when you're looking at your social media strategy, is that what strategy you usually apply to all the other platforms does not apply to LinkedIn. Quick side note, for example, if you have an employee advocacy tool, it's one of those tools that you create content and push it out to all your employees and then they can hit the share button and stick it on their social media., There is a narrative out there that this is a great way, hey, just keep hitting that share button and that share button then will push the content out. And the more we share it, the better it'll be.

Well, that works on Twitter. That does not work on LinkedIn. LinkedIn will show that to a few individuals. Yet if you take the time, take that content and customize it, write up your own version of it, throw it up there as text only, you will get a 10-fold increase in the responses simply because it wasn't just the content that you shared from the corporate page. And that's one of the things that you need to adopt and learn.

Where am I going with this? Well, where I'm going with this is that you can make these changes and have fantastic results, but you've got to change the way you're thinking about approaching this. It can't be a side note. It can't be just a takeaway. And this is what we cover heavily in the next episode. It's what I cover in my book. And it's one of the things we covered deeply in our training, is how to figure out how to make this work together.

I get a lot of questions. And if I was to leave you with one thing at the end of this season, one thing that's on my mind about what you should be focusing on, and that is the idea that you need to participate in the conversation is so important, but don't think it takes up a lot of your time and that you need to be going and creating the masterpiece. No. My recommendation to you is this, if you're just starting out, what do I do? What's the first thing I do? Well, first get your LinkedIn profile in place. We already talked about that. But the first thing you start to do is you go find three people three times a week, and you go and comment on their post. You leave a comment.

Comments are the single most powerful tool on LinkedIn, not posts, not articles, nope, not stories, comments. And it's unlike any of the other platforms, that LinkedIn will reward your efforts to leave a comment far beyond anything else that you can do out there. That would be where you start.

As we move into the next season of the podcast, I'm going to introduce you to a whole slew of new guests. A lot of executives are going to come on board, and we're going to talk about how they've done it and the tools that they've used.

I really have appreciated your support. I've appreciated the feedback, the input, the comments, everything that has come from those of us who have been listening. I very much appreciate it. Looking forward to seeing you in my next season. And thank you again. We'll catch you next time. Take care.


You've been listening to Digital First Leadership, the podcast where you learn to leverage and build your expertise on digital platforms. For more valuable tips on mastering the language of social media, subscribe to our newsletter at If you'd like to stay in touch, feel free to add Richard on LinkedIn and join the conversation.