How To Establish Thought Leadership in Your Niche

By on May 19, 2011

Thought leadership is not just a buzz phrase anymore, it’s an integral part of building your brand authority online. It exemplifies the best part of social media – that is, contributing new, unique and previously un-discussed ideas and perspectives to your field.

It’s not enough to be contributing content daily to your social media campaign, you need to be contributing innovative ideas too. That’s what makes you a thought leader – opinions!

Becoming an Influencer and a Leader

To lead in the virtual world of marketing you need three key ingredients. The first is an interesting perspective. If there’s nothing new to discuss in your specific niche, then at least you’ll be discussing it in a fresh way. The second, and most important, is the discussion of new ideas. When a business wants to build brand authority, they have to contribute to the conversation – not just recycle it.

Finally, there’s consistency. It’s an underestimated part of becoming a thought leader – but just ask social media heroes like Brian Solis. Without some dedicated upkeep – all the best ideas in the world won’t help you build authority. And authority is very important if you want to become a thought leader, and an influencer of other businesses.

Implementing Thought Leadership

Your blog is critical for brand authority, and it’s a great place to express your opinions and gain a following. Spread the word about your insightful blogs on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Digg and Youtube. If you’re very serious about thought leadership – make sure you promote each and every post. The more eyes that read your blog, the better.

Concentrate on coming up with controversial, thought-provoking posts that involve your readers, and prompt them to respond. Thought leadership is as much about action as it is about words. Show your community that you use your ideas, or that you are on the forefront of your field – for more credibility.

You can also become an authority author for other niche blogs like yours. Try and get your writing into a niche-related magazine, so that your business exposure gets a boost. Start small, with articles of your own on article directories and your blog. Your goal is to expand your readership. As your community grows, so will your influence online. But remember – don’t take short cuts!

Connect With Other Thought Leaders

Use your social media skills to connect with other leaders in your industry. Start conversations with them, interact – and soon you could be publishing posts on their blog. It’s important to treat influencers as friends and not competition. If you shut yourself away from the greater online community in your niche, you’ll never get anywhere.

Once you’ve built yourself a community, do everything in your power to teach them new things. Go the extra mile – people appreciate that. Soon you’ll be sharing ideas with everyone, small businesses and large influencers! Keep thought leadership in mind when developing your social media campaign, and always work towards it.

How would you build thought leadership in your niche? Share your ideas below!

About John Souza

John Souza is founder and chief strategist of SMMU and Social Media Impact, and is a bestselling business author. He won the 2011 Tech Marketing Awards ‘Social Media Marketer of the Year’ and most recently the About.com Reader’s Choice Award for Best Online Education Site. John has appeared on The Michael Gerber Show, and his business has been honored at the Mashable Awards, Forbes Business Awards and The Stevie Awards.
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