Looking to increase your strategic visibility, gain exposure for your ideas, and change the world in meaningful ways?
Everyone is following someone. Maybe it’s time to engage others, so they follow you!
What does thought leadership look like from an industry perspective? Here’s one example:
In 2018, Facebook launched a thought leadership campaign (GROW) to help leaders grow businesses and networks while challenging the status quo. To communicate complex ideas, the social media empire developed a quarterly print magazine and marketing program aimed at business owners in the United Kingdom and Northern Europe. GROW is sent directly to marketing clients and distributed at select airports and train business lounges to reach top professionals:
“We know that business leaders have limited time for long reads at work, so we’ve also created a physical version with journeys in mind,” said Leila Woodington, Facebook’s head of business marketing in northern Europe.
Facebook’s goal is to position itself as a dominant thought leader among corporate executives or government leaders to grow marketing influence. Facebook understands that combining hard-hitting print with a steady drip of digital content is an especially effective strategy.
The term “thought leader” is more than a buzzword; it’s a dynamic reality.
People influence people, and thought leaders are those that others respect and follow. Do you want to shape trends, spark movements, or voice unique ideas? Informed individuals can add tremendous value to their field of expertise!
Your ability to shape perspectives will grow as you show yourself to be relatable, engaging, and consistent in three specific ways:
Build your engagement quality by cultivating regular contact with close friends and family, with current and former colleagues, or with analysts, writers, or industry leaders.
Engage and follow others through face-to-face networking, regional training opportunities, social media, or online discussion groups. Gain traction as you contribute, follow, share, or add your own commentary to material relevant to your industry. And – as often as you can – share your picture with printed pieces or online content. Matching a face with your voice makes you more memorable, credible, and real.
Thought leaders are people who fully immerse themselves in the needs and concerns of their audience.
To stand out from the crowd, concentrate on a niche market or seek to communicate with a specialized group of people. Write, speak, share, and comment on the things most relevant to this area. Think of yourself as a translator (explaining the concerns at hand and interpreting their meaning) or a tour guide (predicting trends, forecasting effects, or helping people interpret what they see). Here you’ll maximize impact, giving people “Aha” moments, or making them think, “Wow, I never thought of it like that!”
Grow your influence by writing articles for publications, requesting to share on panels or policy boards, publishing via social media and printed newsletters, or inquiring about opportunities to speak at events.
Once you establish credibility, you’ll naturally become part of bigger and better opportunities.
Leaders who inspire loyalty are those who empower others.
Thought leaders don’t just impress people by how “smart” they are – they teach others to produce fruitful results as well. Your focus may be building educational tools, helping people with decision making, or establishing yourself as a one-stop resource with scalable models that bring answers people need.
As you grow your influence, you will advance your career, access new industry opportunities, and create top-of-mind awareness for your business.