To be a social leader, be the dopamine in someone else’s day

Dopamine, a neurotransmitter in the brain, is credited with one of the negative side effects of social media – addiction. Anything for that shot, hey?

But like all things perceived negative around social media, maybe successful social leadership means turning it into a positive. We do that by moving away from the mindset of what we get, towards becoming the dopamine boost for others.

We all know ‘receiving love and support’ feels good and makes us more confident. So why not spread the love around digitally, and move social towards its full potential while we’re at it? That is my goal in this life. To get this message out there.

Because I absolutely believe social media is a phenomenal opportunity for every one of us – personally and professionally. And yes, there are loads of negatives too, but I’m just going to focus on the positives for now.


How can social media enhance your career?

Professionally, it is a platform where we can individually put a massive stake in the ground and say to anyone who’s interested – this is what I’m excellent at. This is my eminence.

When we make that commitment to owning our expertise digitally, it requires dedication to sharing and creating the best information in our area, consistently and for the long-term. We do this with a core goal of serving and building an audience around us, where those interested – and because we’re so good and deliver so much value – join our team and our conversation.

Because conversation is what it’s all about today.

This model is the same for brands. Define your focus area, which is targeted to a specific audience (solving a problem your customer is facing – one your business can solve), and then build a community around this storyline, all with a mindset of serving this audience and making their lives better.

It’s not a megaphone

The problem is, too many (including brands) are still focused on what they are putting out – aka the megaphone approach – which is: look at me? Aren’t I amazing? Look what I’m doing! We won this! We did this!

This approach misses the true and beautiful potential of the digital world. Sure, you can share posts like this sometimes, but if that’s all you share, it gets very boring, very quickly.

Success requires a service mindset, a lot of heart and a lot of patience.

Whether you’re a single voice, a small business, or a large MNC – we’re all in the business of creating conversations with our target audiences, and building trust with our communities, so they eventually take an action to support us. That action can be buying our products/services, sharing our content and becoming an advocate for our message, and so much more.


So where do I start on social media?

The first thing people ask me is, where do I start? My advice – start by interacting with other people. Don’t just like what they share, tell them why you like it, ask them questions, challenge ideas to open up a conversation – nicely of course. That’s where you start.

Being social is about this. It’s a place for conversation. It also goes without saying that, the more senior you are, the more impactful this support is. It’s definitely a gift leaders can give to their people, and one of the foundations of successful social leadership.


I’ll lay it out for simplicity

  1. You leave a comment on someone else’s blog, or content they share, which gives the author that dopamine high. It also gives them a powerful feeling of gratitude towards you, because while it’s such a simple way of supporting someone else, it goes much deeper for the author. They are genuinely grateful to be supported. Just this makes you feel great, being that supportive person
  2. When you support someone, every time you do, you expose your connections to this content, but equally, you are now exposed to the community of the author, so it helps you build your profile too (win-win)
  3. However, don’t be a lazy liker, comment, because when you comment, people see that comment and it gives them the confidence the article/video might be worth their time too. The more comments, the more people want to read/watch the content
  4. When more and more people read the content, which gives the original author more and more shots of dopamine, if they have a higher than average EQ, they absolutely understand that you helped them achieve that. This means the gratefulness deepens
  5. Over time and by consistently doing it, you become seen as a champion of your community and what they’re doing, so your community likes you more
  6. And then if you’ve been holding back on sharing yourself, but decide it’s time to participate, those people who you’ve been interacting with are more likely to support you, which gives you a much-needed dopamine shot, and helps you to grow in confidence that what you’re sharing is worthwhile
  7. Finally, everyone starts to feel like this social leadership malarkey is worthwhile, as more and more people start participating in this community-driven way, versus the megaphone style we’re witnessing today. This means our social channels become a place where we all want to spend more time, because it becomes a place of value in our lives

Does that make sense? Social leadership is about this. It’s about being focused, serving an audience, and building a community around you, one that serves each other.

To succeed, I recommend spending most of your time supporting your wider community, versus focusing on what you want to say. Do this and you will really build something powerful.

I know the majority see this as the true potential of social media, but unfortunately, we are still not the majority. Shall we change it together?


A view from a blogger

If you are not already writing or creating your own content, it is impossible to understand how intense it is to do it. It’s also impossible to understand how much the support of your community is needed.

When you publish your first blog, you often get a good response, but afterwards, the numbers start to drop. Many give up at this point, because they don’t think they are successful.

Be patient. It takes time to earn the trust of your audience, and to earn their investment of time in you. If you really believe in your message and are consistent in sharing something of value, the audience will build.

At the start, it’s critical to make a commitment and never stop – even if the numbers aren’t encouraging. This requires great belief in the message you are sharing. You’ll keep going, no matter what.

However, better than that, spend more time supporting your community to be successful (aka the #GivingEconomy) – especially if you believe in what that person is doing – because in the end, we succeed together.

This is the starting point. Many professionals take months or even years to get started on social media, because self-confidence is a massive issue. Equally, it’s also hard, because most appreciate that success requires vulnerability. It’s not easy to be vulnerable.

Concluding thoughts

So start here – supporting others. Go onto your social media channels once or twice a day and comment on what someone else is doing. It will help you build your confidence to participate, you’ll be giving your community the much-needed shot of dopamine they need to keep going, you’ll then be valued as a supportive and valued member of your tribe, and from there, you build.

Be the dopamine in someone else’s day. It’ll change the way we all see social media if we adopt this approach. Truly. It’s magic when a community gets behind each other. This same idea applies digitally. Support your tribe and you, in turn, will be supported.

Let me know what you think, which will give me a little shot of dopamine too 😊



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I am always seeking to share a message of being a social leader with integrity at the core. If you’re not being real, if you’re not delivering value, if you’re not being of service to your audience, then why do anything, right? Because social leadership is unbelievably powerful.

I believe it’s time for all of us to embrace our voice and embrace the future. We do this by working and living out loud with meaning, intention and by being true to ourselves.

If you don’t know where to start, check out my e-learning course How to build a rock star personal brand today.

If you like my style and what I talk about, feel free to follow me on any of these platforms on social media.

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