Want to Make Your Business Grow? Become a Thought Leader -- Quickly.
Entrepreneur and CultureIQ are searching for the top high-performing cultures to be featured on our annual list. Think your company has what it takes? Click here to get started.
Business success of a product or service is not just based on the brand of the company but also the brand and reputation of the people that run it.
Investing time and energy in pushing your personal brand builds credibility and enhances the reputation of not just yourself but your company, too. The most commonly accepted practice to do that today is to establish yourself as a thought leader. You might be thinking to yourself, "I don't have time for that: I need to close business and satisfy my existing customers. Well, not all personal branding strategies need to be time consuming.
Here are a few tips on generating positive results within a reasonable amount of time spent.
Identify your area of expertise. A thought leader is defined as the go-to expert in a particular space. Many entrepreneurs and executives choose to concentrate on areas they have had a lot of past experience in. For instance, an individual may focus on branding, marketing or starting a company.
Keep in mind that the past experience needs to correlate with what you want to be known for in the future. Choose an area that will bring in followers that can be either customers or advocates of what your company is selling.
Beef up your LinkedIn profile. If you don't have a good, robust profile on LinkedIn, you need one. Inevitably, future advocates looking to learn more about you and your company will end up on your LinkedIn profile. The question you have to ask yourself is, "Does my LinkedIn profile sell me and my company?" If your profile looks like a resume, you missed the point of LinkedIn. Your profile needs to look like a SEO landing page for you and your brand.
After reading a person's summary on LinkedIn and looking at the key points mentioned in the jobs held, I then look at the endorsements as his or her Yelp score. Make sure that the area you've identified being an expert in has a good Yelp score.
Follow other thought leaders in your space. We are now in a world where advocate marketing is becoming the most effective form of marketing. One will believe their friends and recognized experts more than a website -- and significantly more than a salesperson.
Go out of your way to start following the thought leaders and influencers in the space you're playing in on social media. Comment on their LinkedIn post and interact with them in LinkedIn groups. Also, set up Twitter lists and retweet and favorite their content. Comment on their blogs. After some interaction, befriend them on Facebook. Getting to know them and more importantly, getting them to know you will pay off in spades.
Create, curate and share content. You must share content. You must share good compelling content. A good rule of thumb is to use the 80/20 rule. Create 20 percent original content and curate the remaining 80 percent.
A company that I am involved is the Aha Amplifier, a tool which provides quotes from books. People can pick "aha" sharing content and spread it across their social channels.
Follow through. When customers call, you're going to call back. When customers send you an email, you're going to respond (or at least you should). When customers, influencers, advocates and others connect to you on social, you need to respond. (It isn't called social media for nothing.) Favorite their tweets, retweet their comments, comment on their posts and say thank you when you receive nice messages. It's not an insurmountable task if you focus on key customers, influencers and future advocates. You'll be pleasantly surprised at the interaction and the results.