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How To Take Advantage of Social Media and Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader

How To Take Advantage of Social Media and Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader

Getting your ideas out into the world has never been easier.  However, getting your ideas to stand out has never been more challenging.  In the pre-Internet age, getting your name and thoughts established meant a great deal of public speaking engagements, face-to-face networking, and business card exchanges.  You could certainly get your message in front of a wide audience, provided you had the time and resources to do so.  Now, our world is rapidly becoming more and more connected.

What does this mean to an individual trying to make a name in “XYZ Industry”?  While the time and resource commitment is not nearly as significant of a roadblock as it once was, the competitive landscape is more crowded and difficult to navigate than ever.  No matter how unique your ideas are, or how niche of a market you cater to, a quick Google search will inevitably find people and ideas that echo yours.  Rather than simply “making noise” in an industry, you need to effectively package and present your ideas to make sure that you’re reaching the right sector of the web’s seemingly limitless audience. Here are a few techniques and resources you can take advantage on different social media services to expand your message’s reach and effectiveness.

One great way to develop an engaging audience is to create and manage your own LinkedIn discussion group, centralized around your thought leadership area.  This article from B2B Lead Blog outlines some great tips for how to lead a group that will benefit both you and its members.  By maintaining a clear, concise focus and driving thought-provoking message threads, your group can become not only a great networking outlet, but also a source of inspiration for new blog content.

Another LinkedIn feature that an emerging thought leader should take advantage of are the new “endorsements.”  In your profile, connections can now endorse particular skills and thought areas that you have listed yourself as adept in.  Clearly, having a few (or few dozen) “+1’s” in the area you want to position yourself as a thought leader would be beneficial.  Don’t be afraid to get proactive and endorse the skills of those in your network, odds are they will be willing and motivated to return the favor.  As an added bonus, both you and your endorsement activity will show up on your connection’s newsfeed.

Another essential social media resource any modern thought leader should be harnessing is Twitter.  It offers arguably the best intersection of both professional and personal online reputation development.  You can offer quick and concise reactions to industry developments, fostering more informal yet still informative discussions.  Searches for hashtags, keywords, and industry figures can all help you expand your network and reach.  Like the LinkedIn groups, these searches can also give you an idea of what content truly resonates with your audience.

If you are on the more ambitious side (and if you want to be a thought leader, you probably should be!), then a YouTube presence can be another hugely beneficial outlet for expanding your industry prominence.  Liven up your content by doing a few vlogs, or perhaps record a Google Plus “Hangout” Q&A exchange.  Visual content has a higher likelihood of getting shared, but of course, requires a bit more time and energy.

Although there is a seemingly limitless number of individuals and content pieces competing for the public’s attention, today’s online landscape does make cultivating a thought leader persona more possible than ever before.  Social media can provide an outlet to differentiate you from the pack.  If you know the audience you wish to reach, and the message you wish to relay, you are already halfway there.  Devote time to getting your message in front of those people, as well as interacting with them, and you will see your industry reputation and clout grow.  

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