Thought Leadership & Social Media: 5 Ways To Build It

Man Holding Mobile Phone In His Hand With Social Media Profiles Displayed

Gone are the days when social media was just used for catching up with friends and posting selfies. Of course, this still occurs but today social media has become a powerful tool to grow your brand and even thought leadership.

Leaders from all over the world recognize the importance of social media to get their message across. We’ve put together this useful guide that shows you five great ways to build your thought leadership using social media.

What is Thought Leadership and Why Does it Matter?

Thought leadership is a way of being recognised as the go-to person and expert in your field. In business, both B2B and B2C it’s a powerful way of establishing brand credibility and trust. So whatever business you’re in thought leadership is crucial. It will help build your brand, grow your customer base, and ultimately get you more leads and sales.

It’s a highly strategic way of increasing your ROI. Thought leadership should be part of every business’s content marketing strategy. Like most things, it's not an overnight process. It takes time but through consistency, you’ll start seeing real tangible results. These could be either or a combination of the following:

  • Increased brand awareness.
  • Increased promotion by customers (customers talking about your brand and recommending it to others).
  • Being seen as the go- to- person in your field (you’re an expert or at least a contributor to your field and seen as a trusted authority).
  • Getting more leads and sales with both existing and new customers.
  • Expanding your business operations. As your thought leadership grows you may well need to expand your business and its operations interstate and even globally.

Thought Leadership on Social Media

Now that you hopefully have a better understanding of what thought leadership is and why it matters, it’s important to know the how. That is how to go about building your thought leadership in the first place. Through the following five ways you’ll be well on your way to building thought leadership!

Pick One Primary Social Media Platform to Build your Thought Leadership

With so many social media platforms it can be tempting to be across all of them but when you’re starting out it's best to just focus on one. Then expand. Or else you’ll be scattered. Remember mastery or at least proficiency requires singular focus. Pick a platform where your target audience is.

Create a content schedule of what and when to post. Remember consistency is the key to success on social media. Posting once a week or worse once a month isn’t going to do anything for your thought leadership.

Once you’ve built up some thought leadership and have the time and resources then expand into other platforms. Many social media marketers recommend that businesses be on the following six social media platforms:

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • TikTok

Decide What Type of Leader You Want to Be

Before you even go onto social media to showcase your thought leadership you must decide what type of leader you are or what type of leader you want to be. Just like there are all types of influencers on social media you need to know how you want to be seen by others with your thought leadership. Do you want to be old school and traditional? Playful and fun? Controversial? Specialist in your field?  Generalist in your field?

These are important questions to ask and answer. By knowing what type of leader, you want to be you’ll develop a distinct online social media personality and voice. This helps you stand out. Your content will reflect your leadership style. So, when establishing what type of leader, you are, ask yourself:

  • What are some things in my industry that inspire and motivate me?
  • What are some things in my industry that make me angry?
  • What leaders or role models do I follow or at least admire?
  • What are my top three leadership traits and how can I showcase them on social media?
  • What type of stories do I enjoy and how can I use storytelling in my thought leadership?

🔊Did you know? Research suggests that 98% of global companies both B2B & B2C want more content from industry thought leaders. It helps inspire and inform them.

Create High Quality and High- Value Content

It goes without saying that content is King, we say it's Emperor. Globally it’s a trillion-dollar industry. If your business isn’t creating some type of content then you’re missing out. When it comes to building and even sustaining your thought leadership on social media you must create content.

This is what gets people engaging with you. The first step to creating content on social media is to know your audience and identify both their needs and wants.

This way you can create highly relevant and targeted content. Your content must be of high quality (written well) and provide high value. This value could be educational, entertaining, or just informative. You should provide answers or at least offer a different perspective for your audience’s problems. When it comes to content you want to diversify it and create a mix of:

  • Blogs that are educational and can be repurposed into social media posts or just uploaded on the platforms.
  • Infographics nicely presented that are easy to read and are not overloaded with too much information or graphics that are distracting.
  • Videos including livestreams and webinars that your audience can participate in and share.
  • Memes and GIFS that are highly relevant and grab your audience’s attention.
  • Relevant and not overused hashtags that encourage sharing and conversation amongst your audience.
  • Relevant giveaways and prizes presented which encourage brand recognition and sharing.
  • Educational and expert matter material packaged in the form of eBooks, guides, tutorials, question, and answer sessions, etc.

Build Your Network for Your Thought Leadership

The reality is that you do need to have a sizeable following, at least 5000-10,000 on your social media to be able to get traffic and be seen and heard by others. If you only have a following of 50 or 100 people, it just won’t do it. Even a network of 500 in this day and age is still a small number.

In business, we know that quality counts (great customers)but we also know that quantity counts too (volume). To be able to influence and inspire others with your thought leadership you need to be constantly building and expanding your network. It's this network that will engage and share your content and ultimately spread your message. To build and expand your network do:

  • Set monthly metric goals (how much you want to grow ie: 200 new followers this month).
  • Daily or at least every few days schedule in time to grow your following.
  • Be highly targeted with who you invite to follow you. Don’t go for anyone and everyone. Rather put some thought into who you want your followers to be.
  • When sending out connection requests on LinkedIn do customize some of them. You can’t customise all of them as it's just too much work but do customize some.
  • Follow and engage with other thought leaders and influencers on social media.

Be an Active not Passive User of Social Media

Social media takes time and commitment and often it’s the number one reason why people stay away from it. Or they open accounts but are hardly on it – passive users. Don’t treat it like a low- maintenance plant that just needs watering from time to time. You need to treat it like a garden that requires regular maintenance or else the weeds take over.

To be an effective thought leader you must be active on social media. Aside from creating and posting content regularly, you need to be engaging with your audience-both your customers and prospects on a regular basis. Keep your social media blossoming like a garden by:

  • Posting updates once or twice a week on your brand.
  • Participating in other people’s discussions.
  • Commenting on other people’s posts and responding back to comments.
  • Showing initiative by providing additional information where possible.
  • Updating your social media regularly with new photos, images, etc.
  • Performing a social media audit every six months to check everything is up to date and in place.
  • Making important business announcements (anniversaries, promotions etc).

By implementing these five strategies you’ll be growing your thought leadership in no time. But as you can appreciate thought leadership requires lots of well-crafted content. Contact WORD EMPIRE® to discuss how we can help take care of your content while you focus on being a great leader and running your business.