Social media offers a special opportunity to B2B and B2C marketers; it is a great tool to improve your visibility, position yourself as an expert in your field and share unique perspectives. Providing content via social media in this way can establish you as a thought leader in your industry.
Thought leadership can generate attention from your targeted audience (as well as industry leaders and the media) and can become part of the foundation of your overall marketing strategy.
If you have much to share with your target audience and want that audience to look to you for insight in a way that makes you their “go to” resource, here are tips for establishing yourself as a thought leader.
Before you type anything
There’s a saying that you’re given two ears and only one mouth, so you can listen more than you speak. This adage holds true online, as well. According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, nine out of 10 organizations market with content and use eight tactics on average to get their message out. What will make you unique?
Social media provides a number of ways to send out your message. However, in order to become a thought leader, you need to do your homework. Start by “listening.” Understand what your audience wants to hear from you. You can’t just be spouting what you consider to be words of wisdom; you have to be relevant.
Also, some of the most influential thought leaders are well read. They keep up on the news, understand trends and know what is happening in their industry. What is your competition saying? Do your research before getting out on social media and sending out your message.
Blog with purpose
According to research by Blogger.org, a training program for bloggers, 60 percent of businesses have a company blog. The best news about that? People read what’s put out there. Their research revealed 329 million people view a blog and look at 25 billion pages a month.
Even if you don’t have an established blog on your own or your company’s website, LinkedIn provides a great forum for thought leaders with the ability to publish a post.
However, wherever it is created, a blog written by a thought leader should never be a sales pitch in disguise. Instead, your words of wisdom should be original thinking and content that provides resources and good utility. Become that “go to” expert by being that expert.
Before beginning a blog, take some time to create an “editorial calendar.” Map out a month or more of ideas. Decide what you’ll write and when. Be intentional and relevant with your content. For example, if you have great insight on taxes, posting that information in June isn’t as helpful as February or March when individuals are focused on upcoming tax season. In your calendar, leave space for spontaneous postings as well. Sometimes the daily news can inspire you with a message you need and/or want to share.
If you decide you want to blog, invest what is required. There’s nothing worse that a well-intentioned blog that starts out strong and then suddenly goes dormant due to a lack of time or ideas. Additionally, while you may hire ghostwriters to create other blog content for your company, hiring someone to ghostwrite thought leadership makes that other person the thought leader. Don’t deceive your followers by presenting yourself as someone you are not. If you find you need assistance with your blog, allow others into the mix to do topic research or final edits. Let your messages be your own.
Short and sweet
Even if you don’t have time to compose daily or weekly blogs, social media offers other options to keep connected to your audience and be a thought leader. Twitter, for example, allows for great words of wisdom in a small space. Just a few words can still be very influential. Sharing helpful articles, memes or links to other industry insiders lets your audience know you want to provide content they are seeking. Twitter also opens up the opportunity for conversation and relationship building with your followers. Respond to those who are active, retweet and like your content. Give to get.
Just keep in mind that true thought leaders present solutions to real world problems and new views on hot-button issues. Others will look for your leadership and what they can learn from you.
Need some inspiration?
- American Express: 10 Business Thought Leaders You Absolutely Must Follow
- Global Gurus: World’s Top 30 Leadership Professionals for 2015
- ClearPoint Strategy: Top 20 Business Strategy Thought Leaders To Follow
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