So I’ve been on a kick talking about thought leadership lately, as you’ve probably noticed, but I truly believe this is a difference-maker in so many businesses. And yet – not many businesses even know what thought leadership is, let alone are focused on building it. I talked a few weeks ago in my blog about how you can be a thought leader, even when you don’t feel like an “expert“, but I think it’s also important to talk about why thought leadership and influence is really important.
When I talk about building your influence, it’s usually a very public thing that you’re doing – whether it’s sharing pictures, hosting Facebook live videos, or anything else on social, the goal of building your influence is to build an audience of people who find value in the expertise that you offer. And in order to build that audience, you have to be pretty public. I know that this is not a comfortable thought for most people, especially introverts like me, but it really doesn’t have to be all that scary. I’m not talking about becoming a celebrity – just sharing your journey and expertise with the people who care – which might be a very small, targeted audience.
But why does it matter? Here are a few things you really need to consider when it comes to building your thought leadership.
The most important thing you can build in any relationship is trust – especially when it comes to any relationship that involves buying and selling. Whether you are selling a service or a product, people have to trust you. This is all the more true for personal brands and smaller, independent companies. It’s great to be a good salesperson, but it’s even better if you can make a sale because the person trusts the quality of the service you provide. Incoming inquiries are always an easier sell then outgoing pushes.
Most of us get our traffic and sales from word-of-mouth. Too often – that makes us falsely believe that we don’t need to have an online presence because our best clients come from word-of-mouth. But what if you could expand the number of people talking about you 5X, 10X or even way more than that? Social media is like word of mouth on fire – the more you can share your journey online, the more people are exposed to your services. As you earn their trust, they become your best ambassadors for referring business, even if they are not the right person to buy from you now personally.
I know most people don’t think of technology as a relationship builder, but in a world that is so focused on automation and pipelines, a good old conversation goes a long way. Being able to communicate directly with your target audience is an important benefit that not every company harnesses. You can compete much more effectively with similar businesses, just by creating relationships with your target audience by building your social media. The key with influence is that people not only know about you, but they really trust and have a relationship with you. This is invaluable so you want to maximize this opportunity in a world where most people are trying to disconnect from their target customers so they can operate at a larger scale.
If I haven’t convinced you yet, I’d love to chat with you. Thought leadership is nothing new, but it is something that every business needs to embrace in an online/virtual way to really maximize the benefits. Join our new Event Hustler Community on Facebook to learn more from your event colleagues!