I personally can say that thought leadership can uplift a brand’s status on social media if things are done just right. Twitter, as an example, is one of the most powerful platforms where informed opinion leaders are developed. It is due to the platform’s openness and natural design users are inclined to connect with each other, exchange ideas, and eventually become experts in their field or industry. Once you understand how to become a thought leader on Twitter, it opens up many opportunities for you on Twitter and throughout social media.
Anyone — may it be a CEO or a regular employee — can become a thought leader on Twitter whenever he or she decides to invest a bit of time on the platform and is willing to understand and practice the formula I used myself to garner more than 200,000 followers here.
Being a thought leader is especially great for marketers, entrepreneurs, and small business owners. It’s efficient, as it makes you an influencer, and can serve as a form of marketing in itself. Considering how much competition there is no matter what industry you’re in, you should look into anything that helps make the most out of every effort.
Here are a number of things you need to do so you can become a thought leader. A more in depth discussion about this concept is also published in an interview I conducted with EveryoneSocial. Make sure to check it out.
Are You Experienced Enough to Become a Thought Leader on Twitter?
The answer to how to become a thought leader on Twitter begins with having a track record. I know that a lot of people try to shortcut this by buying fake followers to appear as if they are a thought leader simply by vanity numbers, but most people will, at some point, verify your intelligence and experience before taking you at your word. Even if one of your statements goes viral and you get the online presence you want, you may not get traction because people will soon learn you lack experience and expertise. If you want to be a thought leader in any field, you obviously have to have experience in said field.
People will examine your qualifications and want to know why they should trust what you say. Give them something impressive to discover. Social media gives you a voice to not only be discovered, but also to showcase your expertise in becoming a thought leader when done right. The best way to do this is through the creation of original content which showcases your expertise. With that in mind, it also wouldn’t hurt to get into as many interesting projects as you can find and participate in as many events as possible to be able to utilize these experiences for your social media content.
Showcase Your Expertise through Original Content
One of the best ways to make yourself a memorable entity on Twitter is to voice your informed opinions. These opinions require thought and consideration. Just voicing them is enough to show people that you’re not just pulling things out from where the sun don’t shine. The best way to so this is through original content in the form of a blog post, a video, or even a podcast.
Before, opinions were seemingly the domain of rude or even arrogant people. Today, it’s all about voicing your opinion. You can’t go online without seeing someone’s opinion on something. You can be opinionated while remaining gentle, even generous. But if you truly want to remembered and become a thought leader, you have to showcase your original perspective in the form of an opinion.
From a corporate perspective, your company’s social media strategy as well as your employee advocacy program will increase their yield if an internal blog that showcases your company’s original perspective and opinion is readily available. The blog is still among the most powerful media to use if you want, or you want your employees to be considered, a thought leader in your industry.
Present Your Perspective through Curation
Strategically sharing your informed opinion on certain topics presented by others is a great way of letting others know your take on various issues. There are a lot of things going on at real time. This means there are a lot of opportunities you can show your audience that you are the resource person that they are looking for.
A lot of tools and apps are available for you and your employees to utilize to speed up the curation experience. These tools can get the curated content ready in no time.
One thing to think about is how much curated content you will share compared to your original content. To learn more about the ratio of curated content versus original content that I recommend, read about my 9-1-1 algorithm.
Build Credibility by Expanding Reach
Only when you establish credibility will people start to follow. On Twitter, the number of followers is more important than the actual friends that you have. In other words, you need to be cognizant of your Twitter following vs followers ratio. How do you get people who do not know you become your followers? Twitter reciprocity, a new marketing paradigm, is a perfect fit for this social media channel. Constantly follow individuals and brands that should be interested in you and most likely some will begin to follow you in return after checking out your Twitter profile and content.
The other way to expand your reach is through the power of Twitter engagement. Following someone is one such social signal you can send, but there are many other types that you can utilize.
Take Advantage of the Power of Engagement
Sending social signals is readily available on Twitter. There is no reason why you shouldn’t take advantage of it. Perform the following to maximize engagement:
- Follow relevant users.
- Look for influencers and retweet their content.
- Take note of the followers who retweet your posts or mention you and respond.
- Add influencers, fans, and even target customers to Twitter Lists
- Like other people’s content that you might want to curate or engage with.
Befriend Influencers in Your Industry
I hinted at this above, and while it is not mandatory for success, it certainly can’t hurt to try to become better online friends with influencers in your industry, even if they are at the micro-influencer or nano-influencer level. After all, success may not come down to who you know, but it does have an impact. The greatest barrier to becoming a thought leader is getting your message out. Everyone has a voice and a lot of people spend most of their time shouting at the top of their lungs. It can be difficult to even get an audience.
So if you can’t beat them, join them. Having influential friends can help to potentially amplify your message and increases your reach. Make friends with people who will make you a better person and professional, but don’t just hang-on to their coattails. When you can give back to them, do so. In fact, for every one person you hope will share your message, you should be sharing the messages of 10 others. Give first and only then might you receive in social media.
Support the Marriage of Content and Consistency in Order to Become a Thought Leader on Twitter
Harness the combined power of content and consistency. Make posting on Twitter a habit — regular, frequently, and consistently. There are numerous Twitter client post schedulers you can choose from to help you do this. I personally use AgoraPulse for this reason and highly recommend it, but choice of tool is not as important as being consistent regardless of what tool you use.
The marriage of content and consistency is especially important because Rome wasn’t built in a day. It takes time to get to know people and even longer to be considered a thought leader. You need to have the patience and consistency to maintain your presence over the long term.
Master Twitter Chats for Thought Leadership on Twitter
Twitter Chats are a wonderful avenue and one of the key Twitter features to help you build thought leadership through participating in one or beginning your own. As you do searches on Twitter for content to curate, add a “chat” behind the keyword and you might be surprised to find that many Twitter Chats already exist for what you want to be considered a thought leader in. You might also be lucky to spot some Twitter Chats in Twitter trending hashtags.
Stay Up-To-Date on Social Media Trends
Thought leadership should not be limited to Twitter because not everyone is on Twitter all of the time. However, social media, as a channel for yielding thought leadership, is evergreen. For that reason you really need to stay up-to-date on social media trends to ensure that even though social media platforms change, you continue to yield thought leadership. I recommend you subscribe to my newsletter or check out my social media podcast for help.
You see, part of being a thought leader is being an effective communicator. If your audience can’t understand your message or can’t hear your message, you’re wasting your time. To make sure your message gets across, you must keep an eye on how your community develops and grows as well as what platform your social media audience is actually active on. Some type of content that worked for you today might become out-of-date before you know it, and as we all know what works on one platform might not work equally well on another.
By keeping taps on your community and where they hang out, you can ensure that you are effectively communicating with them regardless of what social network they hang out on.
Case in Point on How to Become a Thought Leader on Twitter
In just three and a half months of managing a startup company’s social media on Twitter, it got a lot of attention —including the Dr. Oz Show —that it became the center of everyone’s attention within my client’s niche. A lot of people have been asking how it was done. My answer is so simple. Constant posting, appropriate engagement, including compelling links about the topics – it’s really about the formula for success that I outline above, and while not every component is necessary to implement to become considered a thought leader, the more you can activate the higher your chances that you can achieve thought leadership more quickly and effectively.
Twitter is a very powerful platform with a huge audience. And besides, it is free to use. It doesn’t take much of your resources if you decide on investing in it to achieve your own personal or your company’s goals and objectives.
Becoming a thought leader is great, but the journey doesn’t end there. Much like your struggles as a marketer, entrepreneur, or small business owner, the effort never ends. The only thing that changes are the goals and the margin for error. Once you’re a thought leader, you must fight tooth-and-nail to be remembered as such. Don’t rest on your laurels. Examine your audience and industry. Keep talking about important issues. Put yourself out there on social media and make sure they don’t forget you.
Kudos for beginning your journey on becoming the next thought leader on Twitter! If there’s any advice that you might want to add or additional questions on the above, please add them in the comments below. Thanks!
For more insights into what makes a true thought leader, check out this great infographic from Calysto.