How To Establish Thought Leadership Through Your Social Media Pages

By on March 24, 2011

Thought leadership is surely the most precious social currency of today. Every business is scrambling to piece together a social media strategy that will help people identify them as thought leaders in their field. What is a thought-leader?

Well, basically it takes the idea of ‘authority’ to the next level. A company known for its innovative ideas, constant interaction and impressive communication skills is more likely to be a thought leader, than a company that doesn’t spend as much time on their social media identity.

The difference between traditional leadership and thought leadership, is that it works on any level in business. As long as you are coming up with new and exciting ideas in your industry (and people are paying attention) – then you’re a genuine thought leader. It’s incredibly lucrative to be seen as a thought leader in your field – hence the huge rush to become one. But how do you do it?

1. Learn Everything You Can About Your Industry

In order to become a thought leader in your field, you first have to become an expert. That means, you should be able to debate, argue and provide usable information to people that aren’t as clued up about your subject as you are.

You can only come up with innovative concepts and ideas when you’ve taken note of all the old ones, and have found your feet in the latest discussions around your core topic. Be an expert first, and a thought leader later.

2. Make Sure That You Regularly Publish These Awesome Ideas

Whether its information, opinion or speculation, you need to populate your social media pages with a regular stream of ‘oh-so-hot’ content.

This means targeting specific audiences and making sure that you bring up the subjects that they really want to hear about. Social media is all about communication and relevance. You can only be a thought leader if you ‘communicate relevance’ all the time!

Mix it up with different media, and create a variety messages that will help establish you as a leader in your field. Use video, podcasts, commenting sites, social networks, micro-blogs, blogs, wiki’s and geolocation sites to get your point across.

The goal is to blanket the internet with your excellent content. Soon, people will realize that your name is the name that they are always reading, when searching for an authority article, book or comment.

3. Don’t Forget To Boost Interaction as Often as Possible

Don’t become a passive publisher. The whole point of you publishing a never ending stream of great ideas, is to get a reaction from your audience. Generate as much interaction on your sites as possible.

This means replying to blog posts, inviting guests on your blog, running promos on Facebook, asking for opinions on Twitter and starting interesting news groups on LinkedIn. Keep it fresh and interactive.

4. Be Controversial Some of The Time

What better way to prove that you have valid, important opinions than to challenge someone else’s? Don’t forget to be controversial sometimes. If you see some content you don’t agree with, or something you can contribute something valuable to – then do it.

People will want to hear your views. A thought leader is never afraid to stir it up a bit. Just remember to be polite, and don’t rant at people. Opinions are not fights – learn the difference before you launch head first into one unknowingly.

Begin with these to become a thought-leader, and an online influencer. The trick is to stick with it, develop your goals and tweak your strategies until you get it right.

Who do you consider to be the thought-leaders in your field? List them below please!

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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