I love social media. It has given me many connections, both personally and professionally. I have used Facebook for a long time to stay in touch with friends and family, but I only started using Instagram and Twitter 3 years ago.
My team at Women for Women International showed me research (including one of the Social CEOs reports!) proving that people are more likely to trust an organisation if they follow its CEO. To begin with, this was my incentive. I looked at how other CEOs used Twitter and Instagram to understand what I wanted my presence to be.
From the beginning, I decided that I was going to show all sides of myself. I wanted my social media to be as real as possible because, after all, I am looking for the same in the accounts I follow. When someone talks about their daily routine or shares a video of their family, I feel a deeper understanding of them, as well as a closer connection. That is why my focus for social media became to provide day-to-day, real-life inspiration. This also made sense for me, because the work I do with women in countries affected by conflict is deeply inspiring, and I see it as my role to share this inspiration – and to share the incredible stories of the women who I meet.
I make a conscious effort to share my feelings, open myself as much as I can, and make myself vulnerable on what can feel like a very removed social platform. It is my purpose to do what I can to inspire others to overcome fear, so that they can fulfill their potential. Social media is an amazing tool for achieving this. I know that by sharing inspiration, we are led to be bold and to create change in our lives. I have seen how posts have inspired people to start caring for more than their own lives. Social media makes our world bigger and more connected.
The power of connection with people across the world through social media continues to surprise me. I have received such wonderful, motivating feedback and comments from strangers, often on the other side of the world. Even just a little heart on my Instagram story spurs me on. It has made me realise that if your purpose is clear, the right people will find you. I have several strong Women for Women International supporters, project collaborators and close friends who all got to know me via social media.
Every so often, I get sidetracked and start to worry about my number of followers, because that is how the world is rolling, isn’t it? Your worth is determined by how many followers you have. It is hard not to buy into this. I am currently writing a book, and a few of the top publishers I have approached liked the content of the book but mentioned that I don’t have enough followers. Wow.
That was hard to swallow. It took me a few months to sort this out in my head and remind myself of my purpose. I don’t want to be defined by the number of followers I have. That is easier said than done, though. Like many, I regularly get messages from people saying that they can help me grow my following, but I am not interested. I love the fact that my followers have grown organically. They found me, and follow me because they are really interested in what I share. I am more interested in the quality, rather than the quantity, of my followers.
I love social media and sharing experiences on it, but for me, social media is a means, not an end, and in my value system, I don’t measure people’s worth by the number of followers they have.