Being a thought leader in social media is going to take some drive on the person’s part who is utilizing this type of thought leadership. It’s not as easy as you might think. How many times do things on the web “go viral”? Not only is it practically impossible to figure out what might lob onto the public’s consciousness, but the most random things do. Cat videos anyone? Social media itself moves very fast, and it’s a fickle business. Grabbing a piece of the attention pie in a way is the name of the game. So much of this market is oversaturated with companies vying for your attention, time, and money. As a thought leader you must do three important things. They are asking for involvement from your audience, inciting controversy, and being truthful in your endeavors.
The way that you ask for involvement on social media is to engage with your audience. You have to grab their attention especially because social media itself changes very quickly. Your client or prospective customer can bounce from one thing to another at a fast pace and can easily miss your message. This is especially true with Twitter. The whole goal of companies being on Twitter is to get as many “followers” as possible. This is easy for celebrities, and large companies like Apple who have millions and millions of followers. Their message is readily received because people look for it in their daily feed. So collaborating with other companies to start a dialog on Twitter about your business will help it get more of the following you want to have. Then the messages put out advertising your company will be heard. Asking for their interaction will make your customer feel like they are more involved in your company. A call to action message can be a fruitful way to find out if they are truly hearing you.
It also helps to incite a bit of controversy with thought leadership. Now a thought leader doesn’t do this to be inflammatory or blase just for the sake of it. It’s done to get attention in a fast way to stick in your audiences’ minds. People like to read things that are controversial, and they naturally gravitate towards these concepts. So being interesting and unique is going to get a company the attention it craves to sell their product in the end. Through social media and thought leadership you aren’t really selling anything at all the way traditional ads do, but it’s more like generating interest to win business.
The last thing you need in successful thought leadership is to be truthful. Transparent. Open with your ideas and concepts. Anything on your website through social media should be honest. People can easily tell when you aren’t being genuine, because the red flags will go up quickly, and they will move on to the next thing with a click of a button, or a swipe on a touchscreen. Truthful thought leadership is the way to do business because you will gain trust and “likes” much easier.