Building Your Brand as a Thought Leader with Social Media
Would you like to be an influencer who people turn to in your niche?
Do you need to become more relatable to your social audience?
There are several ways in which you can build a brand reputation of authority. This means that you’re seen as an expert on a particular topic, subject or niche in your target market. This comes from a demonstration of your knowledge through remarkable content, publishing, and personal interactions on your social networks. In order to get known, of course, you must also promote your work.
If you’re just in the beginning stages of establishing a loyal brand audience there are several key factors to keep in mind:
- Always start by building content on your blog
- Have an up-to-date website that is appealing
- Build relationships with other influencers and your community
Don’t be overwhelmed by not having enough connections today. When you consistently focus on these initial steps each day you will begin to move closer to your goal. The key to success is to start with a plan that will work for your business model.
In 2015 I helped my client, Robert DeLaurentis, begin the process of creating an active and engaged following online through his website that my company developed for him, Flying Thru Life. Robert’s background at the time was an entrepreneur and pilot. Today he’s well established as an author of two books who is spreading the word on making aviation possible through his writing and flight around the world.
When I first began Robert’s campaign we initially helped him develop a series of blog posts that centered around the topic of his upcoming book, Flying Thru Life. There were only 115 followers on Twitter and just 389 fans on Facebook! As you can see here there’s been quite a transformation on his networks with the addition of Google Plus, Instagram, and LinkedIn later on.
Through regular blog posts and engagement on social media, Robert can now add speaker to his list of authority building in his niche. Focused content and relevant posts and tweets have both helped build an active and engaged audience who is truly interested in the topic of aviation. Using the right hashtags also attracts the right followers on social media.
After a blog post is published we send out a custom email to Robert’s subscribers as well as cross-promote his content on his active social networks, including Facebook Groups. With a clear call to action and book promotions Robert has been able to spread the word on both of his publications, Flying Thru Life and Zen Pilot.
LinkedIn has become an important component in promoting the Flying Thru Life brand, and this includes being active with groups there as well. In order to grow a great network we have been engaging with specific niche communities and shared their content as well. Here’s how you can boost your influence online as well:
1. Write focused articles
Your blog is a prime opportunity to share your expert knowledge on a regular basis. As you build content over time you can attract news media outlets and guest blogging opportunities. For example, Robert has been featured in newspapers, magazines, and other publications both print and online, which has substantially increased his visibility. This will help improve your subscriber rate as well and help move your website up the ranks on Google.
2. Plan to create a book
A book is your calling card and can be published digitally, in print, or both. This can begin from series of articles and blog posts, or from ideas you have already gathered. Becoming an author will boost your authority within your niche and help establish you as a knowledgeable source in your industry. Start the process of content building now in order to pave the way for your first publication.
3. Speak at online, offline, and media events
Once you’ve written that first book, you have now created the opportunity to be invited to a special speaking event, which can either be online, at a specific venue, or though a television or radio interview. Speaking is a good way to boost your authority and connect with your community on a personal level. This is something that can also be shared on social media as an invitation to your audience to watch, listen to, or visit you in person.
4. Post videos to YouTube
Another great way to promote yourself and show your expertise is to share videos on a branded YouTube channel. While an occasional live event is good in attracting a larger audience quickly it is equally important to put together something that is professional with the help of an outside source. This is especially important to do if you are planning a book, product launch or special event that is coming up.
5. Participate in social groups
A great way to make new connections is to become a member of specific, niche groups that have a large number of followers and include regular posts. Answer questions, add your thoughts to discussions, and become a real participant. As you demonstrate your authority by your answers, your insights, your intelligence, others will start seeing you as an authority and seek you out for information about your niche. The best places to focus on are on Facebook, Google Plus, LinkedIn, and in specific Twitter Chats. Stay away from promoting your brand in these places — it’s all about relationship building here!
6. Leverage your mobile audience
Don’t forget that mobile marketing can be a large part of your target audience. Pay particular attention to what’s happening on Instagram and maybe even Snapchat if you have a younger following. Since these platforms are more low-key you can show a behind the scenes look or personal anecdote your audience can relate to. Live videos and stories are becoming increasingly popular as your followers get to track your journey with you.
7. Invest a small amount in advertising
Now that Facebook Page engagement and reach has dropped dramatically it is more important than ever to purchase ads in order to attract new fans who are targeted. This is now becoming more of a reality on Instagram as well, and thankfully you can create a promoted post for both platforms right inside Facebook. The key to success is to target a narrow audience with specific keywords on a particular topic.
Becoming a thought leader in your niche is within reach if you start becoming active on your blog and social media each day. Start by researching your target market and begin working on your authority plan today. Decide whether your ultimate goal is to become an author, speaker, full-time blogger, or whether you need to boost your brand’s products and services. As you know the exact target you’ll be able to better focus on what you want your audience to look like and which leaders in your industry are best to connect with.