Entrepreneurs of all shapes and sizes are successfully embracing thought leadership, from social media campaign management to online sales funnel optimization. Can we all just acknowledge that the term “thought leadership” itself is overused jargon (it says so on Wikipedia!)? Ok – now that we have that out of the way, let’s also acknowledge that – all jargon aside – the principle of thought leadership is not without merit. Web users in all phases of the buying cycle are looking for an authority they can trust and with whom they can establish an allegiance. That could be you!
Did you know:
- 47% of buyers viewed 3-5 pieces of content before engaging with a sales rep (source: TechClient)
- 81%+ of participants found that traffic increased with as little as 6 hours per week invested in social media marketing. (source: Social Media Examiner)
- 96% of B2B buyers want content with more input from industry thought leaders. (source: Demand Gen Report)
And, let’s be honest: maybe saying the phrase “social media thought leadership” 3 times fast makes you feel really smart, but you can’t exactly fake it till you make it when it comes to being genuine. If you want others to think you are smart, too, try these 10 tips to establishing genuine authority online.
Top 10 Tips for successful thought leadership
1. Solidify your point of view. What’s your “why”?
The tip above all tips: be genuine. Your followers should know why you do what you do, who you are, what you stand for – hint: stand for something! Present this information consistently in your tone of voice, the style of imagery and the topics that you write about and share.
2. Address accessibility. How easy is it to consume your content?
Make sure you are collecting information about your readers in a way that doesn’t interfere with accessibility. Better user experiences happy when your content is easy to access, read to share. Make sure you’re in alignment with best practices for the platform you’re using, as well.
3. Expand your reach. Who else shares the same opinions that you do?
Research and connect with potential guest authors who have a comparable audience to yours. Look for opportunities for external tools and platforms where you can cross-promote your content, as well.
4. Vary your content. What types of media is best suited for your audience?
Your followers are wired differently. They’ll be in various stages of the buying cycle and consume information in a multitude of ways. In additional to blogs, provide supplemental content (videos, ebooks, infographics, whitepapers, case studies, employee spotlights, podcasts) to increase engagement and tell your story.
5. Be reliable. How frequently are you posting online?
Research the best times and days to post for your first content calendar. Then, revisit your analytics quarterly to update the time and days you should post based on your users’ engagement. Thought leadership starts with being consistent! Tools like HootSuite or SproutSocial also make it easy to schedule out your posts if you’re too busy to keep track of this.
6. Know your audience. What topics are most interesting to your customers?
Write and revisit personas yearly to make sure that you are in-tune with the wants & needs of your customers. Then, in your content calendar, take note on which personas will be compelled to the individual topics. Building relationships and establishing thought leadership with your audience on social media begins when you present information that is relevant to the readers.
7. Optimize your website. Are you working with – or against – the search engines?
If you’re serious about developing thought leadership, don’t forget about the power of organic search. Sign up for Bing Webmaster Tools and Google Search Console to get a head start on attracting search engine traffic. Also, Google has a handy tool for keyword research to determine the best search terms to use within your website, blog, and offsite content you publish.
8. Use social share optimization. Are your click previews enticing?
If the image, headline and description of the page you’re looking to share haven’t been crafted to get a click, your engagement may be effected. You don’t have to be a programmer to customize the Open Graph and Twitter Card tags. SEO plugins like Yoast make it easy to customize the social share features to improve the click-through rate.
9. Use hashtags to get more views. How do you choose the best hashtags for your content?
Research; some social media sites like Twitter will show you what’s trending on your, while other sites like Instagram will display the volume next to all related hashtags as you are typing.
10. Know what you’re talking about. Are you knowledgeable and insightful?
A credible subject matter expert is both a student and a leader. If you live, eat, sleep breath a topic, your knowledge and insights will shine through. If you’re simply “googling” to come up with a perspective, that lack of authenticity and legitimate knowledge will be like kryptonite to your reputation.
What’s next for your thought leadership?
As you can see, we simply had to there’s more than meets the eye when you want to become a “thought leader”. This week, I challenge you to try to see beyond the jargon. Take the time to review these top 10 tips today and find a starting point for how you can jump start your thought leadership. And, when you’re ready to become an authority that is worthy of helping solve your client’s problems, give us a call at C2.