Thought leadership differentiates you online in ways that advertising and promotion never will. It changes the relationship with your audience from push to pull, from outbound to inbound. It builds relationships, trust, and opportunity. It inspires action and creates movement. Without it, you are just another online business. Online leadership is participative leadership. Participation online is the definition of social media.
Until recently, the conversation has been mostly one-way, outbound, pushed at the masses. Social media analytics, however, allows us to leverage our resources and bring the more effective and efficient inbound marketing model online.
Inbound marketing is the highly targeted two-way conversation with your audience that has lower costs, higher conversions, and cumulative benefits.
By building a relationship with your audience and providing value, you create trust. Successful online leadership is about authenticity, genuine ideas, and vision. The internet is about word of mouth and relationships; people online trust their peers, not salespeople. From individuals to multinational enterprises, everyone wanting to shape and influence their online audiences must first focus on participative leadership by creating real value through social media.
However, let us not forget you are online for a reason – to sell, generate leads, or build a community. Unfortunately, one of the key problems of social media is the volume of people and content on the internet. There are over 250 million internet users in North America, over 2 billion worldwide. Vying for their attention in 2010 were 152 million blogs, 255 million websites, 25 billion tweets, 360 billion pieces of content on Facebook, and 107 trillion pieces of email. With so many people out there, you need to make sure you are participating and leading effectively.
Strategic analysis, planning, and implementation are necessary in order to leverage your thought leadership online.
Online strategy begins with analysis. This includes a thought leadership assessment of you and your competition and comprehensive social media market research. By determining your areas of expertise and what your competition is already doing, you can position yourself in a place of strength online. After your positioning is determined, an audit of your current knowledge and technology infrastructures will help identify your needs before moving forward.
Next, a comprehensive plan must be crafted that ensures the greatest return. Details to consider include which platforms to use, types of content to be shared, frequency, integration between platforms, monitoring, and the use of dashboards. Additionally, optimization is a vital inclusion that is often overlooked.
With your plan, you can begin your journey to thought leadership. Engagement, growth, and ultimately ROI will be maximized with optimization. Social media is a dynamic medium. By being adaptable and intentional, you will ensure ongoing success. From analysis, to planning, to implementation and ongoing optimization, thought leadership through social media is no simple task. It is important to consider hiring and collaborating with a company who has the expertise to make the most of your online presence.
Partner with the experts, create a plan, build a community, and grow your business.