What is a Leader?
Do you understand Facebook? Are you a leader? Many of us like to have a clear definition of things. Since reading one of my “go-to” authors on leadership, John Maxwell, the definition of a leader has been very clear to me. He says, “leaders have followers“. No statement about leadership could be more true at its core than that. I also know that being on an inspirational mission of merit will attract many followers…if you are able to show them a clear path that starts with joining you and ends with them reaching their desired destination. Believe it or not, I am learning a great deal about this from Facebook. And not just from being on the social media platform, but from Facebook itself. You see, Facebook understands leaders. And leaders, the really good ones, are beginning to understand Facebook.
Real Leaders Use Facebook
Yes. I, too, once thought Facebook was a just a silly place to look at other people’s crazy pictures of what their dog did today or what they had for lunch. But not any more. It’s clear to me that it has become a powerful platform for the next generation. And it can be a powerful platform for any generation not afraid to learn the ins and outs. Yes, a platform with the kind of power and reach that Facebook has can also have big risks, but that also means there are enormous potential opportunities.
One of my great friends, Tim Elmore, understands this better than anyone I know. His heart and desire to help connect existing and emerging generations is a gift and offers tremendous insight for our future. His company, Growing Leaders, has done a great amount of research on these emerging generations. He knows that to better understand them, we must connect with millennials in places that can be foreign to us, but that are “native” to this next generation. They’ve been born in a time when Google and Facebook are as common to them as TV or cruise control are to existing leaders. Facebook is just one example, but it is the most relevant one for today.
Very early in the days of Facebook, my church and my kids were using it. This was before I decided to join and engage. I decided to hire a Facebook coach. You can find them all over now, but Mari Smith really helped me understand what it was and how to get started right. Learning from a good coach really helped. I know now that I can be global and still be a “Georgia (Tech) boy”.
Problems and Solutions
An obvious problem with a tool like Facebook is that it can be quite intimidating. Facebook can limit your opportunities unless you learn to use it wisely. Trust me. I learned from many mistakes. I have had to learn the terms: friends, followers, fans, and members – all with a Facebook filter, which is not much different from life, but there are some lessons to learn
Just like in real life, you can only be a friend to so many people – your Facebook personal profile. However, there might be no limit, online or offline, as to how many people may desire to follow you – as a mom, dad, business owner, health nut, etc. If you want fans, though, you’ve got to earn their trust – Facebook Page. People have common interests that bring them together, and those groups have members – Facebook Groups. If you think you can be a friend to everybody, though, you will run out of margin in real life and you will soon hit the dreaded Facebook friend limit. It will tell you that you can have NO MORE FRIENDS. Yes, more can follow you, if you allow it, but their following you does not equate to you following them. And this might significantly limit your opportunity for interaction.
The solution to this potential problem is understanding the differences between profiles, pages, and groups. It is key to understanding how to get the most out of Facebook.
Go Beyond the Limits
Leaders need a Facebook Page. Why? Because real leaders are on a mission. A mission that is hopefully attractive to others. A worthy mission needs to be shared. It should become contagious beyond the “friend” limit of 5,000. When you learn to articulate the message of your mission, it actually helps you build your “tribe” as Seth Godin describes in his amazing book Tribes. You can’t be a good tribal leader if you only speak to a fraction of your tribe. If you are successful with your mission, your tribe will go way beyond the friend limit of Facebook.
Leaders Help Leaders
The first paradigm shift for our culture was deciding that Facebook was worth our time to join. Now is the time for a new paradigm shift. Let’s learn how to use this amazing tool as effectively as possible. Leaders need to help other leaders learn to make that shift easier. When you are a friend of, or follow, someone on Facebook who starts a page, check it out! That’s the least you can do. If you are a part of the same tribe, are on the same mission, or just love what they are doing…LIKE their page. If you don’t, you won’t see much, if any, of their future posts and information. They are telling you they are doing the right thing. They have something that is way too important to be limited by a Facebook “profile”. Their mission is successful, growing, and it needs a bigger platform. This is how we help each other. We acknowledge and LIKE things that we align with and identify as successful and growing.
If you are on board with making a life, not just a living, LIKE my page, and let’s be on that mission together!