From Sluggish Caterpillar to Exquisite Social Butterfly


A social butterfly can be described as a socially dynamic, obsessive networker with gregarious flare and engaging charisma.

The BIG client question this month: How do I get people in my organisation to engage with my social media channels?

Doctor’s orders! Neuroscience and the rules for engagement.

To determine a solution and offer advice, I err towards rigorous scientific research on how people think. Currently, we’re working with Dr Tara Swart on the Neuroscience for Leadership and her findings on how to apply neuroscience in order to get the most from your people’s hearts and minds. These are a few of her insights;

  • Acknowledge that people have a deep desire to co-operate.
  • People are hard wired for risk/loss avoidance rather than opportunity seeking.
  • Leaders need to show heaps of authentic empathy to give people a safe place to fail forward and learn.
  • Creating a sense of curiosity, plus frequent moments of surprise and delight helps people to become more creative and excited.
  • Neuro-scientifically, medically, emotionally and spiritually, it always comes down to one thing: a sense of meaning.

In particular, the BTB social media space presents its own unique set of challenges. As in the case of a butterfly’s metamorphosis, the “BTB caterpillar” is a content and time hungry medium that requires deep thought, lots of time and most often, does not show up as very “social”.

Another one of BRGs great Guru thinkers, Dave Ulrich, he suggests we no longer hire hands and need to engage the hearts and minds of our people to achieve extraordinary success. Applying respect, empathy, a sense of meaning can unlock the potential and encourage the engagement of the people you work with.

Whilst we have chosen to apply these leadership insights to social media, they can be applied to any leadership or change intervention.

My 10 plus tips to get people in your organisation to use their personal channels and become fanatical, yet responsible, brand ambassadors!

  1. Take the Lead. Make sure all c-suite people use their personal channels to promote content related to your brand, products & services. @MichaelJordaan found the time to do this at a very busy time while he (CEO) was making his bank the most innovative bank in the world. As did Steve Jobs.
  2. Go to their party. Follow them, engage with them and acknowledge their contributions 24/7. As Martin Lindstrom advises, “we are living in a “me-erism’ world”. Care about their causes.
  3. “My space” is not your space. Don’t be a narcissist. A sense of entitlement is narcissistic. Respect that this is their space and acknowledge the privilege for you to access their network and the tribes they belong to.
  4. Sense of pride. Give them a sense of belonging to your organisation – so much so, they want to shout it out from the rooftops. When I embark on a new and exciting project I want to tell the world about it and I do.
  5. Whats In it For Me. Evidence how their contribution adds value to their personal career portfolio and future opportunities. At some point they are going to move on and first impressions really do count. Educate people on their CLM’s.
  6. Trial & Error. Make sure there is absolutely no fear of failure. Allow for a margin of error and even failure. Give them a very safe space to play and coach when necessary.
  7. Freedom of Choice. Recommend they select which of their social media channels they prefer to use for business purposes. My Facebook space is for family and friends… the others reflect my more serious side.
  8. Healthy behaviour is contagious. Celebrate success. Share your social media success and results. Send out your weekly analytics acknowledge the positive.
  9. 24/7 and 365. Most importantly avoid a social media crisis! Track your social media all of the time; the last thing you need is a negative, rampant and viral Domino’s Pizza experience initiated by a bunch of sad and disgruntled employees.
  10. Train, educate, retrain, retrain and retrain them. As Tara says, “learning a new cognitive skill helps build neurons which create new undiscovered pathways in your brain”. Just another plus side to developing their skills.

On the 18th March 2015, Dr Tara Swart, a medical doctor, neuroscientist, psychiatrist, MIT Faculty member and global consultant to C Suite Executives, will present her latest findings in respect of Neuroscience for Leadership at The BRG Progress Conference at The Forum, Campus in Bryanston.

For further information contact Angela Milburn on 0861 247 328 or email