In my previous article, Four Reasons B2B Marketers Should Be on Social Media, I discussed the importance of establishing your brand/company as an industry thought leader; how essential it is to building credibility and gaining the trust of your audience. Social media can help you create that brand; one that positions your company as an industry leader and a reliable source for information about current market trends, industry news and educational opportunities.
Thought Leadership is the Rule of Thumb for Content
According to the 60-30-10 principal for developing a social media content strategy (medium.com), most of your content should focus on thought leadership, followed by expertise and then sales promotion.
- 60 percent of your posts should focus on topics that are industry-relevant and can originate from curated content. These articles aren’t directly about your brand. The purpose is to inspire your audience to gain deeper insight about market-trending topics − ultimately positioning your company/brand as the industry’s voice of authority.
- Thirty percent of posts should be brand-focused, discussing the capabilities, benefits and differentiating factors of your brand.
- The last ten percent of content can focus on self-promotion. Now that you’ve built trust and developed advocacy with the other 90 percent of your content, you can feel good about promoting your company’s products, services and events.
Types of Thought Leadership
Make sure to stay current on industry trends so you’re seen as the thought leader. Effective thought leadership can be industry or organizational specific.
Industry thought leadership can include reposting third-party, non-competing content that is helpful and interesting to your audience.
When sharing outside content, make sure it’s from a credible source that you can fact check. Always double check the information for accuracy and verify it’s from a trustworthy site or author. Make sure to stay current on industry trends so you’re seen as a market leader.
Organizational thought leadership happens when your company produces its own content. This may include posts about your brand or how your company lives out its vision, mission and values. By taking this approach you’ll have an opportunity to produce layered content to keep your audience engaged throughout the buyer’s journey.
Use multiple formats so your followers can consume your content in a way that suits them. Typical formats include essays, infographics, articles, videos, podcasts, presentations and webinars.
By combing the two approaches, your company can claim industry leadership through its unique perspective and market knowledge.
The Three Principles for Developing Thought Leadership
In the article, “7 Trends in B2B Marketing”, provided by LinkedIn, three key principles are identified to help develop industry and organizational thought leadership – focus, familiarity and sustainability.
Focus on relevant information. This means knowing your audience and picking topics that are relevant to them. When reposting content from a third-party source, provide your brand’s perspective to demonstrate its position as a market leader.
Create familiarity by posting consistently. Your customers want to see interesting content on a predictable schedule. Plan your content calendar to consistently deliver value. Self-produced content that is authentic to your brand means customers are more likely to watch for your posts instead of moving on.
Develop sustainable content that’s true to your business. Make sure to showcase the human side of your business by telling your story. All content should be ‘on brand’ and easily identifiable with your company. It’s easier to continuously deliver social media content when you are educating readers in a way that adds value, keeps them engaged and is true to your business.
The Bottom Line
This intentional approach to developing thought leadership will take time and focus. You’ll need a consistent approach and sustainable content to create a unique point of view with your audience.
With these principals in place, you’re on the way to building a solid social media strategy that makes your brand both authoritative and authentic and establishes your brand/company as a thought leader.
Need help? Contact your Tech Data partner account manager or schedule a consultation with a Tech Data Cisco marketing consultant at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the Author
Courtney Duke, an intern for the Tech Data Cisco team, recently graduated from the University of South Florida with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing and a Minor in Communications. She has an interest in exceptional digital marketing practices and finding ways to leverage social media to bring value to business partners.