Purchasers want to do business with Thought Leaders. It gives them the reassurance that they are heading in the right direction and solutions they implement today will take them to where they want to be tomorrow.
Whereas it is easy to wheel out the experts during the sales cycle to paint the vision and add the value, how do you capture, bottle and utilise this to generate interest and leads in the first place?
The Evangelist Platform
If you are to evangelise you need a platform from which to preach your sermon. When your target market goes looking for what is being said about their area of interest, you need to be found, be relevant and not to sound too dramatic be interesting.
More people use social networks for information and opinion. It is discussions in forums, the opinion-based blog and the tweets directing people to more information that are today’s source of knowledge. To establish yourself as thought leader you need to establish your presence on social media.
Listen, Participate, Contribute
I always tell clients that step one of establishing a social media presence is to listen. Who is saying what, what is trending and who is participating? There is no point in trying to engage in a conversation that your target market is not having. You need to identify what is hot, identify where your target market is and then make sure you are there.
Establishing recognition and gaining followers on social media is not easy. It is not a case of speaking and people will listen – you first need to establish credibility. Be seen as someone who has a highly relevant and value adding opinion, do this and you become someone that others will want to follow. This is best done by participating in existing communities and adding value into current conversations – however, you need to do this wisely; a clumsy entrance could alienate you and do more harm than good.
Once you have participated and started to establish credibility, now you are ready to seriously contribute. My recommendation would always be to start with a blog, this enables you to clearly articulate your views and opinions and contribute value to our target audience – your 20 seconds of fame.
Twitter, LinkedIn and Google+ can then be used to provide snippets of your thoughts directing people to your blog to get the full picture.
Consistent, Persistent and Value
Establishing a thought leadership position is not a one off – it needs to be continuous. You need to be consistent in what you are saying and who you are saying it to. You need to be persistent, say it once, say it again; don’t assume that everyone read your first blog.
Most importantly, ensure you add value. So many people start their social media presence with great intentions for it to only turn into a chore for them – if your heart is not in it or you do not have time, you will not generate value – get help.
With the power of social media an organisation of any size can establish themselves on the big stage. Gaining presence is no longer a case of big advertising budgets, it is about having something of value to add – it is about listening, participating and contributing.
If you would like to discuss how you gain value out of social media for your business call us on 01932 856 158.