In the current marketing landscape, many executives and professionals seek to establish their influence on social media. Why? According to Global WebIndex, 57.6% of the world’s population uses social media and the average daily usage is 2 hours and 27 minutes. Social media thus provides a unique opportunity to communicate directly with potential clients, peers, and other influencers. But developing a powerful social media presence takes a plan and dedicated work. Here is an introduction to who thought leaders are and how to build your own social media following.
Who Are Thought Leaders?
Thought leaders are the go-to experts in their field. Whether CEOs, celebrities, authors, or analysts, all thought leaders have a strong ability to engage and influence their audience. They can use this influence to inspire, provoke discussions, drive sales, promote brands, generate traffic, and even raise money for causes.
How Can You Become a Thought Leader?
Here are five steps to use social media to become a thought leader:
1. Find Your Niche and Your Audience
One of the secrets to becoming a thought leader is to focus on a topic that you know more about than anybody else. Are you working in a specialized industry? Involved with a certain cause? Are you enthusiastic or skilled in something unique? Once you’ve defined where your niche is you can define your audience. The people most likely to become advocates for your brand are those who will enjoy what you do, who you are, and what you have to say. Think carefully about your messaging too. Developing an authentic and purposeful messaging strategy can help you connect with your audience in a meaningful way.
2. Choose the Right Social Media Platforms
While it might be tempting to broadcast your thought leadership on as many social media platforms as possible, it’s better to focus on a platform that really aligns with your niche and audience demographics. For example, if you’re a business consultant hoping to engage corporate decision-makers, you’re more likely to find your audience on LinkedIn than Tik Tok.
3. Elevate Your Social Media Profiles
Social media profiles are today’s business cards. What you do, your expertise, what your audience can expect, and your basic values should be included in your profile. They say a picture is worth a thousand words, and that goes for your profile picture too! Using a high-quality headshot will help people know who they’re interacting with. Here are some additional ways to create an impressive profile:
- Include a headline that describes what you do and what kind of content, solutions, and tips people can expect from your profile.
- Include contact details such as a website URL and email address.
- Choose a username that reflects your business and thought leadership.
4. Create Amazing Content and Post Regularly
Thought leadership is all about delivering valuable insights and high-quality content to your audience. Your content should answer their questions and address their concerns, while providing a unique viewpoint, fresh information, and thoughtful advice. Share your thoughts on the latest news and trends, as doing so will help you to regularly bring innovative ideas and thoughts to your audience.
Publish your content consistently and engage with your audience on social media every day and to prevent audience boredom, mix up the types of content you share on social media. There are several types of content you can post including:
- Inspirational posts
- Posts about the latest trends or reports
- Educational posts
Managing your social media accounts can be time-consuming, so take the help where you can get it. There are powerful social media management tools that can help you create a monthly content calendar, keep you organized, schedule posts, and even track and analyze data. You can even hire a social media marketing assistant or manager to tackle these tasks for you.
5. Get Involved
Thought leaders need to build their credibility and stay current on the news and trends in their industry. Network with other experts and leaders and learn more about trending industry topics and issues by attending community events, conferences, virtual groups, and other meetups that relate to your industry. Aspiring thought leaders can find like-minded people to connect with by joining groups on both LinkedIn and Facebook. Whether attending an in-person event or joining a virtual group, don’t be a wallflower. Talk to people, share your thoughts, and ask and answer questions. This can help you keep your finger on the pulse of what is going on in your industry and understand the concerns of your target audience.
Despite what social media might tell us sometimes, becoming a thought leader does not happen overnight. Allow yourself time to find your niche and your audience. Allow yourself time to educate them and establish yourself as an expert. And if you can continually deliver value to them, there is a good chance they will follow you and seek your advice on services, products, life decisions, and more.