Guest Post By Maddie Davis of Enlightened Digital
With the rise of social media, establishing thought leadership in business is more achievable than ever. Social media platforms provide brands with the opportunity to share their expertise in an engaging and unique way. Through them, businesses and individuals can create personalized accounts outside of their branded websites to serve as a platform for sharing thoughts, interests, and news specific to their target audience. Thought leaders across various industries have established themselves on Facebook, such as Oracle’s Mark Hurd in the technology space, and Ariana Huffington in business and lifestyle. To assist you and your brand in building a thought leadership presence, we’re sharing a few recommended tips.
Be your authentic self.
People look to thought leaders as influencers and, as we’ve learned from the success of influencer marketing, people trust others whom they feel are relatable. Use social media as a platform to portray whatever makes you unique and relatable. Social media sites often allow you to be a bit more flexible than a standard business site, providing the perfect opportunity to showcase your authentic self. Personal photos, life updates, and off-the-cuff thoughts all contribute to the presence you’re projecting. People also tend to prefer consistency in the tone and themes of your profile, so developing a distinctive voice can help build a loyal following and set you apart from competitors.
Personality goes a long way in the process of developing yourself as a thought leader. Although the overall goal is to share industry-related expertise, sharing a bit about your passions can humanize you and offer insight into how you got here. Hobbies, interests, ideas, and photographs can help others learn from your experiences.
Be an expert.
By definition, a thought leader involves presenting and maintaining expertise within your field. To become someone people go to for answers and ideas regarding your specific industry requires you to offer something unique and/or innovative. Namely: the content you’re delivering and how you deliver it.
Stand out from the competition; it’s important to consider unique and intriguing ways to leverage your knowledge on the platform. Stay on top of what’s new or trending at the moment and add insight based on your own experience. Sharing a new take on a topic or your take on experience can prompt others to identify you as a thought leader as opposed to a more nondescript news source.
Focus on content.
Continuous, engaging content is essential for building and maintaining a loyal audience. Research shows that 96% of all B2B companies want more content from industry thought leaders. While there is such a thing as over-sharing, in the beginning, it’s important to share a consistent and easily recognizable flow of content to attract viewers. Consistency is vital in these early stages; this is the time to associate yourself with intriguing content and useful advice on which people can become reliant.
To best set yourself up for sharing high-quality content, a content calendar is recommended to track and manage your monthly plans. Here you can plan out articles to write, videos to record, topics for Facebook Live streams and graphics to design. Diversifying your content topics as well as formats not only improves your chances of reaching a larger audience but demonstrates your commitment to providing the highest quality content in its most appropriate format.
Engage your audience.
Likability is an essential factor in becoming a thought leader. A great way to ensure you’re likable is focusing on audience engagement. If you’re doing it right, people are likely going to comment on, share, and converse about the content you’re publishing. Participating in these discussions shows your dedication to generating useful conversation and educating readers. Additionally, showing your audience you value their input will have a positive effect on their perception of you. Facebook and some other social media sites offer a range of features to help you best engage your followers, such as interactive polls and appointment-setting tools if you choose to host personal conversations. Determine what your audience is most interested in and find the best way to engage.
Becoming a respected thought leader in your industry takes time and effort. Producing exceptional content, demonstrating a sincere interest in your field, and maintaining a certain level of likability all contribute to successful thought leadership. Following these tips can help you establish you and your brand in this light, and reap all the benefits that come along with it.