For any businessleader, B2B thought leadershipis the summit of success. As a thought leader, you establish yourself as the industry's leading authority, with a dominating presence that others look to for future trends and recommendations.
Social media and brandingare inextricably linked.
With an estimated 3.48 billion individuals using social media worldwide, social media not only gives you access to your audience, but it also allows you to apply a branding plan, such as thought leadership.
As a B2B thought leader, you understand the necessity of distinguishing oneself from the swarms of self-proclaimed experts that have flooded today's businessenvironment. You can do this with the help of social media networks. Social media is an important tool for enhancing the credibility of your business and demonstrating that you deliver on your promises.
But not just any social media platform will suffice. You must select networks that are appropriate for your objectives and target audience. In general, however, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook are the top three social networks for B2B enterprises. At least one of these will most likely work for your social media and branding plan.
Let's take a look at some social media branding rules that will assist you in making your social media and branding plan a success.
With over 2 billion monthly active users, Facebook is by far the most popular social media platform for branding and thought leadership. Of the three networks we've studied in this piece, it has by far the most social interactions and the greatest readership.
- Engage. This is undoubtedly the most crucial aspect of any successful social media plan. Comments, shares, and likes on Facebook are examples of this. Create and share material that your target audience will enjoy. Make remarks and ask questions that catch and hold your audience's attention.
- Be a human being. The Facebook audience yearns for a personal touch. Allow your audience to see a side of you, whether it's your love for a particular social cause or a personality quirk. People, not impersonal, faraway businesses, are what Facebook users want to follow. To that end, in all of your Facebook interactions, be unique, authentic, and warm.
- Use images to your advantage. Because Facebook is such a visual platform, make sure to use graphics into your plan wherever possible. Even if your firm isn't extremely "visual," you'll almost certainly be able to incorporate it. To highlight your corporate culture, you could shoot images around the office or on company outings. An infographic can also be used to provide crucial information to your audience.
- Make use of live video. Facebook Live is a fantastic tool for engaging with your audience in real time, and it's absolutely free! Make the most of it to present your readers with useful stuff. Create a Q&A video on Facebook Live, arrange and stage a live webinar, or conduct an interview with a prominent player in the business. All of these factors contribute to your audience's genuine engagement and trust in you as a thought leader.
- Concentrate on your target audience. Facebook is not the place to brag about yourself. Instead, bring attention to challenges that are surfacing in your business and help to find a lasting solution. As a thought leader, your job is to contribute to the conversation rather than to lead it.
- Join a group of people. Facebook's community is dominated by groups. You can locate a group on almost any topic, whether it's hobbies, particular interests, or a specific industry-related subject.
Join communities linked to your industry and look for opportunities to engage your target market there.Consider Meg Whitman, the CEO of Hewlett Packard, a thinking leader. Her consistent stream of content(including video) demonstrates her expertise, while her passion for the environment and other social problems demonstrates her humanity.
Twitter has an estimated 328 million monthly active users, giving you access to a vast potential audience.
On your path to become a thought leader, Twitter is a valuable resource. In fact, 47% of marketers believe Twitter is the best social media platform for client involvement.
Here are a few pointers to help you get the most out of Twitter for thought leadership purposes.
- Amass a following. It's all about the followers on Twitter. Your trustworthiness is influenced by the number of followers you have. Take the initial step and reach out to others to follow them; they will almost always follow you back. Your audience will grow as your content library and thought leadership material expands.
- Produce content. Your blog is an excellent way to demonstrate your authority as a thinking leader. In no way should this information be self-promotional. Instead, write on current issues in your field. Provide genuine solutions to your audience's challenges. On Twitter, your content develops trust between you and your followers. They will retweet your material if they enjoy it, and your following will grow as a result.
- Curate material for your audience. Don't limit yourself to the amount of stuff you can produce. Material curation is a great approach to meet your audience's demand for information and content without depleting your own resources. Share breaking news and hot issues that your readers will appreciate.
- Make use of hashtags. Hashtags are the most natural technique to attract new followers to your company's Twitter account. Conduct research to determine which hashtags are most relevant to your topic and have the most competition. In order to reach the proper audience, keep it succinct and relevant to your sector.
- Engage. Likes, comments, and retweets are the fuel that keeps your thought leadership machine running on Twitter. Engage your present audience and consumers, as well as your target demographic, strategically. Do you want to talk to influencers? Finding them, retweeting their stuff, and leaving thoughtful comments on their tweets can place you in their sights.
- Consistency is key. Consistency is crucial, regardless of your content strategy(production or curation). Maintain a consistent content schedule so that your audience remembers you and is engaged. To remain on top of your Twitter posting schedule, use a content calendar.
Take, for example, Brian Halligan, CEO and co-founder of Hubspot, the top inbound marketing platform. His consistent stream of relevant information keeps his audience up to date on industry concerns and solidifies his position as a thought leader.
LinkedIn has a lot of possibilities for your company. For example, it provides you with access to 660 million active users who are conveniently located at your fingertips. It is a must-have for any B2B company because it is one of the most important networks for researching industry concerns and solutions.
The first step is to write a compelling summary for your profile, which will help you with your thought leadership efforts.
Leaving your summary blank is the same as going for an interview and handing over your CV without saying anything. Essentially, your summary is your first impression. It's similar to when a potential employer asks you to tell her a little bit about yourself. When that happens, you don't want to be caught off guard.
Follow these pointers to write a brilliant Linkedin profile summary, and your success as a B2B thought leader will soar:
Make a firm statement about yourself. When we view ourselves from a professional standpoint, we have a tendency to define what we see in one-dimensional terms. We might consider in terms of concrete facts, such as what we've accomplished and where we've worked. However, this reveals nothing about ourselves as a person to others. Consider how you want to be viewed and what makes you unique. This is the subject of your conclusion.
Make use of your words. That is, key words. Make a list of words that are likely to be typed into a search engine. Instead of "marketing director," for example, use "experienced marketing director." Use each of your words at least three times throughout your summary once you've locked down a few words that clearly define you as a person and what you do. This is what search engine optimization, or SEO, is all about. It means that by include those key words in your summary, you're increasing the chances of being found by someone searching for those terms.
Use the entire 2,000-character limit. Linkedin allows a summary of up to 2,000 characters, giving you plenty of room to use your keywords. It's as if you're being watched by a silent audience who wants to know who you are. The "wow" factor that a prospect is looking for is unlikely to be found in only one or two sentences.
Make up a story. It can be difficult to let your personality shine through when you aren't meeting face-to-face. Telling a story that expresses who you are is the next best thing. People enjoy reading intriguing content, and your goal is to create it so captivating that the reader will want to contact you. Linkedin provides us with some excellent models to follow.
Make and distribute content. The fact that Linkedin allows people to post their content on its website is fantastic news for thought leaders. In your summary, include links to your posts. Remember to include keywords and a link to your profile in your article.
Make use of images and video. The fact that LinkedIn is oriented toward businesses and professionals does not negate the importance of images. Look for ways to incorporate visual visuals into your profile and content to appeal to your target demographic. LinkedIn's video feature is becoming increasingly popular. Use videos to introduce yourself or as an alternative content format in your stream.Linkedin is a fantastic tool for today's B2B thought leader, and when used correctly, it can help you achieve your goals.
Do you need some motivation?
Take a look at this example from Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. His LinkedIn description is not only fascinating and informative, but he also keeps his audience informed with a steady stream of published articles on a variety of industry topics.
How To Become A Thought Leader In Your Industry
The journey to become a thought leader takes time, and it can be overwhelming for some. However, with persistence and patience, you may establish yourself as a recognised industry leader. Forbes Business Council is the premier group for business owners and leaders to grow and network.
What Is Thought Leadership and How Does It Work? By definition, thought leadership is a marketing strategy that establishes you as an industry expert and authority. The purpose of thought leadership marketing is to provide an access point to your business by branding oneself as an expert, not to develop sales-heavy content.
Retargeting a highly relevant audience: With the help of retargeting ads, using social media for B2B firms can be a great method to lure visitors back to your site and keep them interested. Humanizing your brand: Your target audience is interested in learning more about the individuals that run it.