Creative Leadership

Don’t Let Your Assistant Manage Your Social Media Presence

If you’re a high level leader – executive, pastor, filmmaker, leader of a non-profit – whatever, I know you’re busy.  As a result, it’s very easy to shove managing your Twitter,  Facebook, and other social media pages onto an assistant who has more time to post.  However – please be careful.  Here’s why:

1.  It’s pretty easy to tell if the post is personal, or something cut and pasted from a report, sermon, or book.  Social media should be “social” – not just a one way monologue or lecture.

2.  An assistant wants to impress you – sometimes with  disastrous results.  I found one pastor who’s Twitter bio described him as:  “The nation’s PREMIER songwriter, singer, and musician.”  WAY too arrogant.  Chances are, the pastor doesn’t even know it’s there.  It was probably posted by an over-eager assistant.  (At least I hope so).

3.  Assistants aren’t you.  At it’s simplest level, having someone else post on your personal social media sites is a lie.  Why do that?  The key to a successful social media presence is “authenticity.”  Be real and be honest – not to mention, be careful.

Pass this around because it’s something every leader needs to understand.  Anyone have any other good reasons an assistant shouldn’t manage your social media pages?

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  1. No comments! Maybe everyone is convicted. I do agree, and its part of the game that is social media. People want to follow a person, not a sales pitch, or sound bite. Once in a while is fine, but as the norm, then they’re not worth following.

  2. On the other hand….

    I know some leaders who need saved from themselves.  Even great visionaries say some stupid things, can be crude, or can’t even spell.  God bless their executive assistants who make them look good.

  3. I’m so proud I guessed the culprit behind point two on my first try.

    Can I add that in an effort to exploit social media and all that web has to offer by way of inexpensive advertising, PLEASE PURGE YOUR EMAIL LISTS!!!

    I have a former employer (and Premier something or another, apparently) who would fire any staffers for contacting me, but continue to send me duplicates of all email blasts.

    Social Media is a dangerous weapon in the hands of the under “edumacated”


  4. Solid advice. But isn’t Point 3 a little much? There’s nothing more personal than a personal address (speech) yet these have been written by speech writers for centuries. Ghost writing is common and okay and is not a lie. Helping communicators communicate is noteworthy mission. I enjoy your work and appreciate the opportunity to post. Keep ’em coming!

  5. This post is great! I was thinking the same thing about a pastor I know just the other day. Tweet came out and it was 100% his assistant. HAHA!

    If you can’t say something authentic, don’t say anything at all…

  6. The word misrepresentation comes to mind in the context of social media when an assistant is writing for someone else. I’d have to disagree with Terry- we expect a speech to be made by a speech writer; we expect a book to possibly be written by a ghost writer. These writers reflect the speaker/writer’s thoughts, opinions & stories; it is a collaborative work for the sake of being accurate. Social media and its intension is an entirely different medium. We don’t expect misrepresentation but authenticity from that person.

  7. Good post Phil.

    There’s a LARGE disconnect here.  In the 80’s I served as a communications director for a large church and part of my job was writing articles on behalf of the senior pastor – quite common in megachurch dynamics at the time.  By nature this kind of work took lots of time to produce – not only the normal content chores of writing, editing and print production (layout and design and of course approval) – but you had to get into the brain of another person and – as much as possible – think like they thought.  As MJ said “it’s collaborative work for the sake of being accurate.”  Key word!!

    Social media is very different.  The disconnect is missing the real value of user generated content – as you have talked about so well – a conversation that is a two way street.  FB leaves no place to hide – conversations are spontaneous, ubiquitous and – let’s face it – scary – because sometimes you have to say three simple words – “I don’t know.”

  8. I would not tell a lie. That is why I personally tweet all my own posts.

    Nor would I ever use a media consultant to guide my agenda. Why? Then it is no longer my agenda.

    I have personally written all of my own speeches as well.

    Monitoring my social media is a different story. All my assistants have access to my accounts to keep me abreast of any and all problems or issues that may arise online. My experience indicates that just one rancid comment left undeleted can spoil the entire cherry tree.

  9. Some leaders have no idea what is appropriate and what is not. What medical conditions of family and friends do you expect a pastor to tweet? What descriptions do you expect of people who don’t share the same worship style preference to you? There are some mighty embarrassing examples by ‘leadership.’

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