Thought leadership is one of those marketing buzz words that marketers throw around like candy at Halloween. It’s one where if you ask a marketer, they will more than likely recite something to you they learned in college or from the web. None of these definitions are wrong, they’re just not in sixth grade English.
In a nutshell, thought leadership comes down to one question: What do you want to be famous for?
Once you know that answer, you need to ask yourself that same question every time you comment on a blog, ‘like’ something on Facebook, tweet or retweet something on Twitter, +1 something on Google Plus, share a link on LinkedIn, or repin a pin on Pinterest. You get the point. Social interactions have a direct impact on your personal brand and essentially, they equal your endorsement.
Social media channels are a perfect opportunity for you to control the conversation and engage with the audience on content you create, curate, or share.
Here are 7 ways you can develop thought leadership through social media:
- Share content.
You don’t have to always create your own content. Although creating your own content does validate your credibility over time, sharing other content in your industry with thoughtful comments can also build your credibility.
- Be helpful.
By being helpful and offering solid clear advice on social outlets within your industry you will establish yourself as a go-to person in your niche. There are plenty of places you can be helpful in social media such as LinkedIn Groups, LinkedIn Answers, Quora, Facebook Questions, and HARO (Help A Reporter Out).
- Be Focused.
Make sure that the content you are sharing is focused on what you want to be famous for. It’s okay to mix in a few personal things here and there, but try to stick to the 80/20 rule here where 80% is about your topic of expertise and 20% is about other stuff.
- Expand your reach.
There are many ways you can expand your reach in your industry such as creating related video content, a blog, participating in online forums, participating in virtual conferences, or consider promoting your own content with social media ads.
I know this seems like a no-brainer, but sitting behind your computer curating content all day doesn’t put you in touch with people in your industry that you need to be engaging with. Try going to local meetups or networking events to meet like minded individuals.
- Solicit endorsements and recommendations
Don’t be shy about asking for a recommendation for work that you did. These recommendations can be shown off on your LinkedIn profile or on your personal website as testimonials. As an example, check out the Social Strand Media testimonials.
- Create your own content
Of course by creating your own content you can start to establish your credibility and expertise, and there are plenty of places to do it online such as publishing PowerPoint slides, videos, tutorials, and status updates on LinkedIn or Facebook. You can also write your own blog regularly or write a guest post for someone else’s blog or for a newsletter or publication. Depending on your niche the places to publish your content are endless.