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Coined by Joel Kurtzman, editor-in-chief of the Booz, Allen & Hamilton magazine, Strategy & Business, the term “thought leader” is business jargon for an entity that is recognized for having innovative ideas.  A related subject, Thought Leadership Marketing, has emerged as the strategic positioning of a company or brand to differentiate itself from other brands in the area of intellectual property; intangible property that is the result of creativity.

The social space can be used as a formidable tool for companies looking to establish themselves as Thought Leaders in their areas of expertise and in the opinions of the customers they service. Following are tips on how your business can market itself in the social media space while establishing itself as a Thought Leader in a league of its own.

Using Social Media to Establish Your Company as a Thought Leader

1) Create and publish compelling content – and publish it often.

Most companies interacting with customers in the social space use a blog to communicate with constituents.  However, we encourage you to also explore the publication of various types of content.  This includes, but is not limited to: compelling videos (perhaps about your unique corporate mission), academic research, case studies showcasing the success of your customers, educational events, online communities, and social media peer groups (as in a company group organized on LinkedIn for community building).  Perhaps an executive at your firm has published a book, a chapter of which could be shared socially to jumpstart a conversation on your social pages, thereby showcasing yours as an organization that produces leaders with high levels of generative thought.  Explore all of your opportunities and create an editorial plan to publish your content often.

2) Show those in your industry how they can solve their problems.

A leader in any field is one who can solve complex industry problems for the good of all.  If you work in environmental education, publish a study on the impact of nature exploration on children with autism.  If you are an IT Leader, create a how-to tech video on a little-known computer technique.  If your organization seeks to solve problems for those experiencing world hunger, film a video of your employees serving as a think-tank focused on the political ramifications of high food prices.  You will find that when you apply creativity to the knowledge you already have “in-house” great solutions will emerge.

3) Encourage dialogue about the content published on your social pages.

Engaging content published in a vacuum will defeat your purpose.  Ask your constituents to comment on the content, and to use candor in their comments.  Ask pointed questions that require more than yes and no answers.  Manage any negative comments with well-researched information, and embrace all comments with a sense of openness.

4) Challenge social content of competitors.

Perhaps your competitors will share different ideas for how to solve problems on their social pages.  Do not ignore them.  Instead, challenge them.  However, do not posture your rebuttals in a reactionary way.  Instead, challenge the ideas with the publication of your own positive arguments for your position.  Social audiences are savvy, and have the ability to cut through rhetoric to find their own truth.

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We created SocialToaster as a social marketing tool to help significantly increase the traffic to your website by using electronic word of mouth referrals.  SocialToaster can be up to ten times more effective than search engine marketing or other traditional forms of digital advertising.  Our automated solution takes the time and guess work out of structuring your social media marketing campaign.  The above blog is based on some of our social media consulting fundamentals that we offer our clients in tandem with SocialToaster.  For more information, contact us at 855.62.TOAST, send us an email, or request a free demo!