5 Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Thought Leadership

5 Ways to Use Social Media to Build Your Thought Leadership

Mark Raffan

Gone are the days when social media was used just to catch up with friends and post selfies. These days, especially in a COVID world and even post-COVID, social media has become a powerful tool to grow your business and thought leadership.

Leaders from all over the world are recognizing the importance of social media and are making use of it. We’ve put together this useful guide to show you five great ways to build your thought leadership on social media.

What is Thought Leadership and Why Does it Matter?

Thought leadership is a way of being recognized as the go-to person and expert in your field. For both B2B and B2C, it’s a powerful way of establishing brand credibility and trust. So whatever business you’re in, thought leadership does matter.

It will help build your brand, grow your customer base, and ultimately get you more leads and sales. Thought leadership should be part of every business’ content marketing strategy, especially now in a COVID-19 world where all types of leadership are needed.

But like most things, it’s not an overnight process. It takes time, but through consistency, you’ll start seeing tangible results, like:

  • Brand awareness
  • Customer promotion (customers talking about your brand and recommending it to others)
  • Recognition as the go-to person in your field (you’re an expert, or at least a contributor and seen as a trusted authority)
  • More leads and sales with both existing and new customers

Thought Leadership on Social Media

Now that you hopefully have a better understanding of what thought leadership is and why it matters, it’s essential to know the how. That is how to build your thought leadership in the first place. With the following five ways, you’ll be a recognized thought leader in no time.

1. Pick One Primary Social Media Platform to Build your Thought Leadership

With so many social media platforms, it can be tempting to be on all of them, but when you’re starting, it’s best to just focus on one. Remember mastery, or at least proficiency, requires focus. Don’t scatter yourself.

Be sure to 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 cut it.

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

  • Facebook
  • Instagram
  • Twitter
  • LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • Pinterest

2. 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 kind 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.

Do you want to be old-school and traditional? Playful and fun? Controversial? A specialist or generalist in your field? These are essential 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.

Your content will reflect your leadership style. Research suggests that some 96% of all B2B companies want more content from industry thought leaders. 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?

3. Create High Quality and High-Value Content

Content is king, and globally it’s a trillion-dollar industry. If your business isn’t creating some type of content, you’re in trouble. When it comes to building and even sustaining your thought leadership on social media, you must create content. It gets consumers to engage with you. The first step to creating content on social media is to know your audience and identify their needs and wants.

This way, you can create highly relevant and targeted content. Your content must be high quality (written well) and provide value, whether educational, entertaining, or just informative. You should provide answers or offer a different perspective to your audience’s problems.

When it comes to content, you want to diversify and create a mix of:

  • Blogs that are educational and can be repurposed into social media posts or just uploaded on the platforms.
  • Infographics that are easy to read and are not overloaded with too much information or distracting graphics.
  • 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 to encourage brand recognition and sharing.
  • Educational and expert material packaged in the form of eBooks, guides, tutorials, question and answer sessions, etc.

4. Build Your Network for Your Thought Leadership

The reality is that you need to have a sizeable following on your social media to get traffic and be seen and heard by others. If you’ve only got a following of 50 or 100 people, you won’t reach many people. Even a network of 500 is still a small number.

In business, we know that quality is vital, but quantity still counts too (volume). So, to influence and inspire others with your thought leadership, you need to constantly build and expand your network. It’s this network that will engage and share your content and ultimately spread your message.

To build and expand your network:

  • Set monthly metric goals—how much you want to grow (i.e., 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—put some thought into who you want your followers to be
  • When sending out connection requests on LinkedIn, customize some of them
  • Follow and engage with other thought leaders and influencers on social media

5. Be an Active not Passive User of Social Media

Social media takes time and commitment, which is often why people stay away from it. Or they open accounts and let them go dark. 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 influential thought leader, you must be active on social media. Aside from creating and posting content regularly, you need to be engaging with your audience regularly. Keep your social media blossoming 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 to comments
  • Updating your social media regularly with new photos, images, etc.
  • Performing a social media audit every six months to check everything is updated 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 thought leadership requires lots of well-crafted content. Book a time today with our content team to discuss how we can help take care of your content while you focus on being a great leader.

Mark Raffan

Mark Raffan

Mark is a serial entrepreneur and lover of marketing and influence. Mark built the #1 negotiation podcast in the world and is an expert negotiation, influence, and persuasion coach that has coached executives and their teams in some of the largest companies in the world.