If you think you are a leader but no one follows you,
you just go for a walk.
Leadership is action, not position. You don’t need to hold a manager position in an organisation to be a leader or have direct reports. You may be running your own company and as an entrepreneur but you are also a leader – a leader of your own life.
Leadership, in any shape or form, is social influence; the art and craft of inspiring others to go above and beyond their own limits and be(come) a better version of themselves.
To influence others you need to have (built) rapport with someone so they trust you to do the right thing, be decisive and confident in your decisions; for you and for them.
And trust is built by having an ongoing conversation to establish commonalities and similarities which is what makes humans more comfortable and connected with each other.
The world is your oyster
With the Internet, word of mouth becomes world of mouth and our (thought) leadership position and status is not restricted to your geographical area anymore. We can connect with people from all over the world and establish a relationship via digital channels in no time.
Gen X and beyond are growing up with access to technology and to more information than ever before, literally just a swipe or just a click away.
This doesn’t just make them the most educated but also the most curious and information-seeking generation ever: they want to see and know more, I don’t mean more of the shiny, well polished stuff but the ‘naked truth’ - sneak peeks behind the scenes, real life footage of who you are and what you stand for to then make a decision whether or not they want to be associated with you.
... every leader's (to be) best friend
Because we can connect with like-minded people all over the world, share experiences and learnings whilst showing who we are, what we think and how we approach problems, in a visual and more authentic way than ever before.
Remember: people buy of people because they like and trust them and resonate with their way of doing things; not necessarily just because of the actual product or service they offer.
Social Media is a platform that enables us to quickly and easily put out (thought) leadership content that helps building our reputation and brand in the market – not just regionally, within the industry or company we are in, but worldwide.
Don’t tell me, show me
Instagram is the fastest growing social platform, which shouldn’t come as surprise. Images are a (if not THE most) powerful way to communicate with each other, about each other. It also makes the decision process about ‘yeah or neh’ with each other easier and quicker: we can get to know someone quite well and can get attached to them even without meeting in person.
How can that happen?
Looking at pictures and images triggers emotions and when emotions are triggered, dopamine is released to the brain which gives us those beautiful feelings. And it’s those feelings that makes stories/ people/ products/ brand stick - or not. Logic doesn’t activate anything in us.
The start is what stops most people –
but not you!
1.) Find your passion and strengths
First off, figure out what you want to stand for and a topic or niche you are comfortable to talk about for an extended period of time. Then define the type or brands / stakeholders you want to attract and engage with.
Find a niche that you are passionate about and feel you can add value over a longer time.
Once you position yourself in a particular area, it will be easier for others to see what you are all about, what you represent and how you would contribute to their benefit.
An estimated 20 - 50% оf consumer decisions are influenced by word-of-mouth recommendations and a whopping 65% of jobs are filled through networking. This shows the power of influencers – they act as trusted brand ambassadors; the power lies in their personal endorsements.
Bеing passionate is not something you can fake though, especially not for a long time, so really dig deep and find your niche so that you can come across as authentic for an extended period of time.
2.) Create a list.
Now it is time to start researching. Once you have picked your passion, you need to find companies, brands, stakeholders, partners who won’t be just receptive to your message but are looking for it.
Do your research on them and find out what problems they try to solve, what type of content they consume and produce and how your approach to it can help and benefit their efforts.
Compile a list of names, companies and brand you gradually can get in touch with over time.
Once you have done the groundwork and feel confident that you have professionalised your brand, you can reach out to them and see how you can benefit from each other through each other's strengths.
It is important that you put some hard work into your pitches and your personal brand and image long before you ask for anything, as first impressions matter and this is the first step for you to show how you can add value to their offering.
3.) Craft your content.
The next big thing is content.
Wе all know how important content is, let’s face it – we all have been told it enough.
Well, mind-blowing content is super important for building your brand and establish yourself as an influencer too.
The craft of producing content is not just the way and format of it, but your personal spin and making it relevant for others.
Personal Branding is less about you than about solving other’s people problems and tackling those underlying motivations.
It’s just your way of doing it that resonates with them as they can and want to associate themselves with you.
And this is what makes you (become) the leader in that field.
Up, close and personal…
Practical steps to build a thought leadership using social media
Define a thought leadership strategy that aligns with your growth strategy.
It takes a lot of time and effort to be(come) a thought leader so you want to make sure your efforts and time are spent wisely and effectively. What are your overall goals, why do you want to be(come) a thought leader and how does your actions and behaviours reflect your goals at the moment?
A thought leadership strategy assists with clarifying those questions – it is a blueprint that helps you plan, source, create, package and distribute content and is in line with your ideal personal brand proposition and position.
Develop a content plan.
A content plan is not just an analysis that helps you assess how well your existing marketing content and any promotions you do for it are performing, but also what you need to create moving forward. It gives you a structure of the type of content you need to produce that supports you in building your brand and reputation but most importantly also creates value for your audience.
Nothing worth having comes easy
Having a good and strong foundation of your brand is key to get started, but then the ‘real’ work kicks in: putting it into practice.
Social Media is about taking part in a conversation that already happens, over a period of time and it is not a one-off effort. You wouldn’t marry someone just because you had a great chat over coffee once. And the same goes for professional relationships, also online – it takes time.
To make it easy for others to recognize you, the content you create and the image you (want to) portrait doesn’t have to be just spot on from an information point of view but also needs to be delivered consistently and continuously.
The human brain processes
60,000 times faster than text
Having your brand profile associated with certain colours, images, a distinctive tone & voice is critical to be recogniseable for others.
This takes out the guess work for people about who you are and what you stand for, makes it easy for them to associate certain feelings when thinking of your brand – which is what makes them remember you.
It can be overwhelming to not only find your unique uniqueness to start with but then identify the perfect way to communicate your brand and consistently build on that image. Hence we bring together experts in their field who are not just the best in what they do but work hand-in-hand with each other on developing and enhancing your personal brand quicker, more effective and more impaccctful.
From group workshops to 1:1 coaching, we work with you in a way that fits best with your current time frame and budget.
So if you are ready to take control over your own brand, get started with our eBook 'How to build your brand be(come) a (thought) leader' or check out our services if you want tailored support straight away HERE.