How to Build Your Reputation as a Thought Leader Online

 In Branding, General, Marketing, Social Media

You want to sell your product or service. But you have competition, so how do you set your company apart from others offering something similar? By showing your consumers that you’re an expert in your field.

As a thought leader, your consumers will view you as authentic, intelligent, and someone they can trust. So, how do you develop this reputation?

You can’t simply say you’re the expert on the topic—you must show it. And, this takes time. If you do devote the time, however, you can build something that can truly benefit your personal and professional brand.

  1. Build a foundation for credibility
    Make sure your online presence is stellar. Your website needs to be up to date and professional. It can also benefit you to have a blog on your website with several written pieces that can be used toward your goal of establishing yourself as a thought leader. Your social media pages need to be fleshed out thoroughly and correctly and include a profile photo. There shouldn’t be any spelling or grammatical errors on your website, blog, or social media pages.
  1. Identify your audience
    In order to create and share content that interests your audience, you need to know who they are. What consumers would be interested in your product or service? What concerns or questions might they have? Consider these things, then build content that would interest your target audience and answer their questions. Mix up your content, utilize different pieces such as branded content, articles, quotes, infographics or other graphics, and videos – live or recorded. You can also utilize pieces like surveys and case studies to help brand yourself as a thought leader.
  1. Engage
    This is incredibly important as a thought leader. Reply with meaningful comments to other posts and tweets. Share other people’s content and add your input to the post or tweet. Look up industry news through hashtags or create a list on Twitter to see what other experts in your field are saying. These tactics can help you find valuable pieces of content to reply to or retweet. If you’re on Facebook or LinkedIn (and you should be on both), make sure to create meaningful comments in industry related groups to help build a following and connect with established thought leaders. Also, respond to questions that may come your way on social media. When someone sends you a question it is a great opportunity to introduce yourself as a thought leader.
  1. Don’t be a door-to-door salesman
    Check your tone. Your approach here is to come off as an expert not a door-to-door salesman. People will be more inclined to buy from you later if you’ve established yourself as an expert in your industry. Many people get turned off by overt advertising.
  1. Commit to consistency
    Make consistency a priority. You want to be reliable to your consumers. Have a social media calendar. Know which days you plan to post each week. Also, be consistent with your blogging. When you establish a readership, your followers will know when to check for new content. It will also help you look up to date when someone new checks out your website for the first time.
  1. Network! Network! Network!
    Look for opportunities to network in your personal life, on LinkedIn, or at professional events. Get to know other experts in the field. If they have a following, even better. Be careful, though! Make sure you focus more about sharing and receiving information than about selling what you can do. You want to build meaningful, professional relationships here. If you have established connections in your field, consider asking them if they’d invite you on their podcast or allow you to speak at an event they’re hosting (you could potentially broadcast this live on social media).
  1. Don’t miss opportunities to share on other platforms
    Use other sources to get your content viewed. Write blog posts on LinkedIn and find other websites in your industry that are willing to let you write guest posts. Both will help you build a larger following and establish yourself as an expert in your industry.

As you build your reputation, keep in mind that your immediate goal is to show that you are authentic and knowledgeable and that you’re someone who your consumer can trust to steer them in the right direction. This isn’t the time to push sales, but rather a chance to engage with others and share content that is of value to your target audience.

If you’re looking for help establishing yourself or your brand as a thought leader, contact us at Headline Consultants. We’re here to help!

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