Back in the day, people with an expertise in something were known as “experts.” Now the much trendier term is “thought leader.” It’s good to be a thought leader. Though you need to put in the time and effort to develop that expertise it can pay off in the long run because people hire those they trust to help them prevent or solve a problem. Being perceived as a thought leader can inspire that trust and result in increased exposure and business.
Taking on the title of thought leader is a way to brand yourself. It helps create a perception of potential (and current) customers’ minds concerning your qualities and attributes. Your “brand” is what a person thinks of when he or she hears or reads your name. You can build credibility and your brand through your website, social media accounts, and speaking engagements.
There’s no point in being a thought leader if no one knows you are one. Learning and experience won’t do you much good if you’re unknown. Your organization’s website and social media accounts are critical tools for you to earn that thought leader reputation and reap its benefits.
You can create insightful blogs and articles and post them on your website, along with testimonials from clients and case studies demonstrating the good work you do. You could also post them on LinkedIn and use social media to publicize those blogs, articles, testimonials and case studies and link your social media posts back to your website.
Social media could also be used to respond to questions or concerns from the public. If you’re a landscape architect, you could make suggestions to a homeowner about what shrubs or trees might be suitable for the person’s backyard. If you specialize in repairing German cars, you could respond to a question about a bad alternator. No matter what field you’re in, providing solutions shows you know what you’re talking about and deserve to be trusted.
You can also benefit from thought leadership by lining up speaking engagements at local business groups or industry associations. You could write (with or without the help of a ghostwriter) a book or e-book demonstrating your expertise which you could hand out, sell or at least advertise when you speak. You could also distribute it through your website (gaining recipients’ contact information for your mailing list) and publicize it through social media posts.
Though “thought leader” is a new term it’s just a label for a very old way of doing business: establish your credibility, trustworthiness and expertise and the sales will follow. Thanks to websites and social media, developing your reputation as a thought leader has never been easier or faster. It will be up to you to decide how to best maintain and benefit from that reputation.
If you have questions about how you can leverage your website and social media to develop a reputation as a thought leader, contact us today by filling out our online form or call us at 267.364.5049.