Using Social Media to Build Thought Leadership
“Thought leadership” is a phrase that tends to get thrown around a lot, especially in the digital marketing world. The term is used to describe an entity or an individual who has positioned themselves as an expert in their field. In business terms, it relates to any authority gained on a subject. As a result, a thought leader is the business or brand that people will go to about a specific topic first, making it a position worth aspiring to. But how exactly do you get there though?
Social media offers the most direct access to consumers on the internet, so it’s only natural for this to be the tool which businesses can use to solidify their thought leadership strategy and aspirations. Below are five social media-related methods that can be used to boost your reputation as a thought leader:
PUBLISH QUALITY CONTENT
It should almost go without saying that you need to provide a steady stream of high-quality content to become a thought leader. This will not only help you improve your discoverability on the internet, but it'll also help you build your credibility and reputation.
Blog posts are the most popular content type and have been shown to positively benefit a brand’s digital presence, drive traffic, search engine rankings and grow an audience. When social media users start taking note of your content, they will begin to associate your business with a specific content type and industry, which will start building up your reputation as a thought leader.
ENGAGE WITH YOUR ONLINE COMMUNITY
Social media is a conversational platform, which was built with the intention of connecting people across the web. The best brands use social media to interact with their followers and are receptive to questions and activities online, so you need to follow suit. Make sure to get involved in discussions, comment on other’s posts and provide any additional information whenever possible. This shows your dedication to the subject matter and your willingness to get involved.
SHARE DIFFERENT TYPES OF CONTENT
Your audience is built up of a pool of people with unique preferences. Some prefer to read short, to the point articles, others prefer longer reads, videos or images. Many people often respond to quotes and graphics that are easily shareable. Providing variety ensures that your content satisfies a larger pool of followers. Secondly, it reinforces the idea that you have a lot to offer and are committed to providing the best and most relevant information in whatever format necessary.
GROW YOUR NETWORK
Although quality over quantity is the general rule when it comes to social media followers, having a sizable following on each platform helps to drive more traffic, which in turn makes it easier for you to develop more influence, regardless of how terrific your content is.
It goes without saying that every business should be driving towards building their social media network whilst improving their content. The more interesting and shareable your content, the more followers you’ll generate. The two will always go hand in hand.
GO FOR THE SOFT SALES APPROACH
Whilst most consumers understand that a business' ultimate goal is to generate business, they tend to be sceptical when it comes to sales pitches, which could destroy the credibility of the content. To overcome this, it’s important to make the audience feel valued first before you start selling to them. People will naturally put their guards down if they believe you’re credible and are genuinely trying to provide them with a product or service that will benefit them.
Becoming a thought leader in your industry can set you up as a pillar in your field, putting you in a position where you reap the benefits that come with this prestige positioning. It requires planning, commitment and content, but with the right attitude and consistency, it can take your brand to new heights.