Social media used to be optional and strictly personal. It used to even show generational preference and was something that adolescents and young adults messed around with. Radical changes have made social media a vital factor for businesses and professionals looking to succeed. New vocabulary has also come along with this new use of social media – and one of these is “Thought Leader.” Thought leaders are individuals who have captured the attention not only of industries at networking events and conferences, but also of social networks, leading the way in what people should read, do, think, buy, consider and talk about with their friends. To make it as a thought leader, social media can be an excellent tool used to up your image and popularity. Below are some tips to help you get started on the do’s and don’ts of using social media to position yourself as a successful thought leader:
Pick platforms with care – With many social media options coming out and new ones cropping up, be sure you pick ones that are popular among the audience you are looking to reach. Remember that many social media platforms are a flash in the pan. Before you sign up for the latest new thing, see if it will be around enough to bother with.
Listen – Read up on others who promote similar ideas, find new important and relevant information to your industry or cause. Then share it. To gain credibility and interest, you must show that you know what leading experts are saying and what the studies show.
Start conversations – Begin new lines of thought for your area of interest by asking good questions and initiating new interpretations or explanations. Ask for other’s input.
Provide useful information – Make what you post useful and relevant. You can start by answering questions that people often ask you. Provide links to your research and blogs that elaborate and provide longer answers to these questions. Depending on your focus, you can also post information on how to use your product, or tell your own story of how your research has helped you.
Abandon your blog – If you have a blog, maintain it. Nothing shows that you’re not taking care of your audience like a blog that hasn’t been updated in months (I fall foul of this myself quite often). Also, avoid turning your blog into an advertising platform. People are tired of seeing ads all day long – a blog should provide useful and relevant information related to your product, but not sell it.
Advertise – Don’t use your social media accounts to post logos, ads and promotional lines. Social media is about people, idea, even the news. People will eventually unfriend you on Facebook and stop following you on Twitter if all they see are ads.
Spend too much time on it – Social media is important, but you need time for other things as well. If you think you’ll be able to keep up with numerous social media accounts, forget it. Doing one or two platforms well is better than five with a mediocre standard. Set time for working on it and let the rest go.
Got other ideas on positioning yourself? Please share, we’d love to hear.