There is a misconception that only senior level executives are able to become thought leaders or give keynote presentations and speak on camera. It’s true that senior level executives are often the thought leaders who we see speak on camera, and they generally do have great thoughts, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a senior level executive to be a thought leader. There are other ways to help generate powerful content and share your expertise.
Anyone can be a thought leader; all you need is passion, opinion and expertise. According to LinkedIn and Edelman, thought leadership strongly helps enhance brand reputation, build audience trust, and open conversation that help close deals.
Below are five tips to help get you started as a thought leader in your industry.
The first question you need to ask yourself is “why do you want to become a thought leader”. Are you trying to gain trust from your customers and potential prospects, are you seeking to raise funds from investors, are you trying to boost brand awareness, do you wish to get promoted or are you thinking of changing careers? We are professionals, which means we are an expert in something with regards to the business and industry that we are a part of. The expertise could be in dentistry or healthcare, solar power, some other product or service, sales, computer science, finance, engineering, or anything related to the industry we cater to. When trying to educate others, focus on topics that would interest your target audience and benefit their personal or business lives.
Ask yourself, how do you want to be viewed and position yourself accordingly? Ask yourself what you want to be known for and what you can do to support that image of yourself. The experts at Social Pulse Marketing use a seven-step process to position individuals as thought leaders and help define their brands. This process includes identifying goals, passions, expertise and supporting facts.
You need to ask yourself the tough question, what makes you an expert and why should others care about what you have to say? Once you’ve identified your expertise and the value that you bring to your audience, the next step is to build credibility and prove your expertise. If potential clients are going to be convinced that they should do business with you, they’re going to need to see that they can trust you. Nothing says trust more in the business industry than facts and confidence. A potential client needs to know that they can come to you with questions or concerns and feel confident that you can deliver responses and solutions. For example, let’s say you are dealing with a client that is interested in Artificial Intelligence (AI). You need to think of ways you can bring that to life. If you had previous experience in that field, what did you do? Did you develop product? If you did, what were the results? These are all questions your clients will want answered and will help them get a feel of what kind of thought leader you are.
The business world can sometimes become dry and dehumanized. This is why it is important to have a personal story that will give your company a face and a human touch. Personal stories are often loved because people can relate to the challenges that you encountered, the journey you went on, and the success you ended up finding at the end of the road. Not only will your audience enjoy these types of stories, but journalists enjoy them too. If you’re looking to make a splash, then you should know that journalists love the human angle of a story. Journalists and the media have the ability to help a company rise to the top, and if your content is compelling enough, your story might be picked up by other publications and distribution channels organically! It has happened to me many, many times.
Now that you know how you want to be perceived, start thinking about how you are going to leverage all the digital tools to share your insights, tips and best practices with your desired audience. You need to provide value, not just sell a product or service. Become a source of answers to questions that your potential customers or followers might have. Set aside 15 minutes a day and respond to questions on forums and various social media platforms – get involved in the conversation and provide valuable solutions and answers. The key is consistency, you want to be heard and seen on a regular basis. You don’t need to be a celebrity or a CEO to be a thought leader; all you need is to find is your niche, provide quality content and share your valuable insights and knowledge to build trust with your audience and help support your goals.
For help with thought leadership and social media strategy, please reach out to us at email@example.com.
Steven Tulman is the CEO of Social Pulse Marketing Inc., a leading influencer marketing agency helping Fortune 500 companies increase brand awareness, improve consumer trust and loyalty, and influence consumer behavior. He is a social media marketing and sales expert, and an entrepreneur with a passion for helping companies grow through effective online marketing strategies, improved sales performance, and overall customer experience.