Influencer is a word thrown around a lot these days, and it seems like anyone with a YouTube channel or an Instagram account is striving to make their mark. And while social media is a vital part of growing your reach and sharing your message, becoming a real, authentic thought leader in your industry or area expertise takes so much more.
First, it’s important to note that thought leadership does not happen overnight. But over time, if you are able to lend your voice as an expert in your field or niche, predict future trends, and offer real, meaningful insights that people want to hear, it will help build up your brand and make you a resource in your industry or field.
Thought leaders are experts in what they do. Maybe that means you’re a seasoned-political operative, a successful entrepreneur, or a CEO in your industry. But make no mistake, it takes hard work to become a respected thought leader.
If you’re looking to grow into a thought leadership role, here are a few tips.
First, social media must be used in the right way. Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn are all sites where you can put out thoughtful, meaningful content that adds your perspective and provides insight about trends, relevant news and more. Social media also allows you to interact and engage with others in your field. What’s more, it’s a way to build up your personal brand and gain more followers.
Second, finding ways to connect with traditional media is also important. Submitting an editorial in the newspaper for example, or building relationships with reporters who report on your industry is key. That way, when media is covering stories related to the space where you’re a thought leader, they’ll come to you for interviews and commentary furthering your reach.
It’s also critical to make sure you’re always learning and listening to become a real thought leader. Being respectful of other perspectives, ideas and always working to grow professionally will give you a more well-rounded base and help you remain relevant in your field of expertise.
Regularly putting out content is also critical. What’s happening in the news? How is your industry growing and changing? If you can provide insightful commentary, offer a unique perspective, and most importantly help guide others, you are on your way to becoming a real thought leader.
Honesty, authenticity, humility and a real investment in solving the problems of the day is what makes a genuine thought leader in today’s society. So if you’re looking to become a thought leader in your field, utilize both traditional and social media, continue to grow and learn, and most importantly show your passion for your industry while demonstrating a clear point-of-view. It will help you spread your message, grow your reach and come into your own as someone whose insights and opinions are influencing the world around you.