Online social networks are changing how businesses and their leaders communicate and leverage their most valuable asset: their relationships.
In this series of articles, entitled New Rules of Engagement, I profile a business leader that I have observed to be using social networks actively and effectively in their leadership role.
This week, I feature Mash Patel, founder and Executive Chairman of Kurtosys.
Jay Palter (JP): Why do you invest your limited time to engage in social networks?
Mash Patel (MP): Quite frankly, I spend time on social because it’s so important. We’re proud of our “unified” voice and mission here at Kurtosys. I see it as my duty and my role as Chairman to amplify this voice, but make it personal at the same time. It’s a reflection of how committed I am to the whole cause of Kurtosys. Social media lets me do that and blend it with a bit of my own personality and lifestyle I have outside of work. In an ever-digital world, I hope my social efforts help bring a bit of the “human” face to our business.
JP: What social networks or tools do you consider essential and why?
MP: I swear by Twitter and LinkedIn. Both “touch” the people that mean most to me in terms of my professional and social life.
JP: What techniques or habits have you developed to make time in your busy schedule for social?
MP: There are four ways that I’ve tried to integrate social into my work life:
- I tweet when I travel and commute.
- I use Buffer because it allows me to stage a whole raft of thoughts I am having.
- I’ve made tweeting a “forethought” rather than an afterthought. This also helps to avoid over-tweeting.
- Internally at Kurtosys, we have a strong culture of sharing our content (blog articles, whitepapers and infographics). I think this is healthy. We love our blog – and 90% of it is forward-thinking industry talk, not about our products. I think Twitter is a wonderful way of sharing knowledge and good quality content.
JP: What specific benefits would you attribute to your social networking activities?
MP: Our first touch point for some of our most important industry contacts have come through social channels like Twitter and LinkedIn. And we have hired some great staff because they have found us on Twitter and LinkedIn. Finally, we have won customers solely from using Twitter — through channelling our collective voice and individual voices.
JP: What’s one piece of advice that you have for your peers about social networking?
MP: Here are three ideas to consider:
- Go the hard miles. It can take 1–2 years to get results in social networking.
- Make “social” a habit. Significant personal and professional rewards come from sharing your thoughts.
- Don’t be scared to talk about things you believe in. Keep it about business if you are self-conscious. You belong just as much as anyone else.
Mash’s responses reflect the increasingly social role of business leaders in many organizations, as he puts it to “amplify” the corporate voice. Business leaders are called upon to be chief spokespeople for their organizations, both internally and externally. Mastering social platforms is today’s version of the media training that any savvy business leader would have received in the past.
What I really like, though, is the advice Mash offers to other executives about social networks: “You belong just as much as anyone else.” I am surprised how often I have to say this to business leaders when discussing how they should engage in social networking – and I will say it here again: Your views and perspectives matter to your colleagues and peers, your customers and prospects, and sharing of yourself – your personal brand – in social networks matters now, more than ever.
Note to readers: In case you are wondering, this is not any kind of sponsored post or the result of a sophisticated influencer marketing campaign on behalf of the subject of the article. I’ve received no financial compensation for publishing this piece. I genuinely believe that Mash and Kurtosys are doing a great job with their social networking and want to share their success as an example for other businesses and their leaders. If you know if an example of another business leader that is having success with their online engagement, please contact me or comment below.