You must be hearing the term “Thought Leadership Marketing” often enough. If you don’t, then now’s a good time to get to know about it. So, what exactly is thought leadership and when should you consider using it?
Thought Leadership Explained
Thought leadership is a style of content marketing that showcases your passion and talent, and at the same time highlights your experience and expertise within the industry.
Thought leaders do not look to flaunt their pedigrees, neither do they speak about past laurels. They simply seek to provide assurance that they can offer the best, in-depth answers to any queries their customers may have.
Instead of creating sales heavy content, thought leadership marketing aims to provide an entry point to your business by branding yourself as extremely knowledgeable. The main emphasis is on coming across as an expert who is only too willing to be of service.
While thought leadership has traditionally been a tool leveraged by B2B business leaders, it can be just as effective for B2C companies.
Leveraging Social Media for Thought Leadership
Since you can directly get access to most of your target consumers through social media, it’s a great idea to leverage this channel as part of your thought leadership strategy.
Facebook is a great starting point. It has millions of users across varied demographics, diverse interests, and various industries. These users are active on the platform multiple times a day.
Facebook offers a highly targeted form of advertising and you can target people based on:
- relationship status – single, married, etc.
- life stages – parents, upcoming birthdays, new-married, newly-engaged, etc.
- interests – the kind of pages they like, the topics they tend to follow, etc.
- a mix of offline and online behavior – such as frequent flyers, engaged shoppers, recently moved-in, away from hometown, etc. etc.
What’s more, you can go a step further and narrow down your targeting based on:
- job profiles
- industries they belong to
- education / field of study
As a thought leader, this can be a gold mine of targeted prospects in your niche!
Instagram is another platform whose popularity has grown manifold in the last few years.
Since Facebook owns Instagram, you can target audiences using Facebook data, the same targeting criteria, and from Facebook’s ads manager platform.
Relatively speaking, advertising on interactive platforms like these is cheaper. This allows you to avoid using some of the other costlier advertising platforms you may have invested in and get a remarkable ROI. Additionally, you have the advantage of several ad formats to cater to different audience preferences – slideshows, article links to drive traffic to your website, videos, banner ads, etc.
Why You Should Opt for Paid Promotion on Facebook and Instagram
You may have a good number of followers who interact with your posts on Facebook and Instagram. However, you need to expand your network. You can do it via laser-targeted ads on Facebook and Instagram by ensuring your ads are shown to those most likely to engage with your content.
The Type of Ads to leverage on Facebook / Instagram
Post Boost: This type of ad helps you promote any article or link you have shared on your profile or page to reach a larger audience.
This ad type, however, is for Facebook only.
Video ads: These ads are best to promote a quick explainer or how-to videos on a topic.
Carousel: With this ad format, you can weave a story and add one aspect to each of the slides. This ad format is perfect for the story-teller in you!
Things To Remember When Projecting Yourself as a Thought Leader on Social Media
To enhance your standing as a thought leader, here are some strategies you can use. These are helpful for persona brand-building via organic means or paid acquisition.
1. Provide High-Quality Content
A cardinal rule is that every thought leadership program should focus on providing excellent content at regular intervals. This should be in the form of thoughtful, compelling posts or articles that do much more than simple product promotion.
When users on social media platforms begin to identify with your content and view you as someone who offers impartial advice, you get a great opportunity to make an impact.
2. Understand Your Audience
In the process of developing your marketing strategy, you would have got a fairly good idea of who your ideal customers should be. Though your target audiences will have different backgrounds, there will often be similarities in the type of content they are looking for.
Tuning your topics, tone, and focus to appeal to your potential customer base will generate maximum traffic and get you the best results.
3. Expand Your Network
Having a large number of followers on social media is not necessarily an indicator of your expertise in a field. But yes, you do need to have a substantial following, else your traffic will not be enough to develop significant influence, no matter how fabulous your content is.
The best way forward is to give equal priority to building your social media network and improving your content. While it’s great to have a substantial number of followers who appreciate the information you’re imparting, you need to keep adding to your follower count, especially those who genuinely interact and engage with your content by providing something stimulating and shareable.
4. Engage With Potential Customers
Even though thought leaders primarily need their content, products, and services to speak for them, it’s important to engage with potential customers whenever there’s an opportunity.
When you’re active on social media platforms, visitors get the impression that you’re receptive to questions and open to interactions. Make sure when the content you’ve promoted gets comments, you reply to them actively and in detail. This shows your commitment to the topic and genuineness of helping the users understand your point.
You can show dedication to a subject by commenting on posts by others, joining discussions, and pitching in with additional information if possible.
Also, if you share smart and informative content created by others on your social media pages (not via paid promotions) you can convey that you’re humble enough to share the spotlight and that you can appreciate the high-quality subject matter.
5. Make Your Profile Look Professional
Looking at your online profiles, if viewers get the feeling that your business is a sloppy set-up where things are done half-heartedly, they will certainly not label you as a leader in your field.
A professional-looking, informative profile that concisely explains your business, remaining relatable and informal at the same time, can send the perfect message to visitors interested in engaging with the source behind a social media post.
6. Use an Unobtrusive Sales Approach
An over-aggressive sales pitch in your content, videos, etc. can make contemporary consumers instantly wary and their skepticism can quickly destroy the credibility of your content. People will inevitably figure out that your main aim is to generate business, but it’s still very important to convey that your primary focus is on imparting information, and sales comes second.
The internet is inundated with information that is primarily focused on promoting different products and services. So, if you’re looking to stand tall and apart from others in your field, it’s worthwhile to invest in the extra efforts required to create content that’s superior to the competition, demonstrate enthusiasm to engage on social media, and retain a certain level of dignity.
Once you’re recognized as a thought leader in your industry, a wealth of marketing options can open up for your business. If you’re subtle and savvy enough to use them properly, the sky’s the limit!