5 Ways to Establish Yourself as a Thought Leader Online
Black Enterprise Magazine July/August 2018 Issue

Whether you’re a seasoned executive or a startup founder, social media can do wonders for your brand. Social media allows users to brand themselves as an expert in their respective field or industry of choice. Establishing yourself as a thought leader online is one way to stand out from your competitors and drive sales.

If you’ve thought about establishing yourself as a thought leader, here are five ways you can establish yourself as a credible expert within your industry:

Participate in Twitter Chats or Google+ Hangouts

If you’ve never heard of a Twitter chat, think of it as a chat room hosted on Twitter. Twitter chats use a pre-determined hashtag (#) to engage a group in a real-time conversation at a specified time. A Twitter chat is a great place to answer any questions other professionals in your field may have; thus, demonstrating your value and expertise. If you participate in a particular chat each week, you will also create relationships with others, which will strengthen your social media presence.

Whether you’re sharing tips, organizing product demonstrations or interviewing other industry leaders, Google+ hangouts are an excellent way for brands to interact with clients and vendors via video. The best part is that you have the option to broadcast live (hangouts on air) or upload it to your company’s YouTube account at a later date.

Contribute Guest Blog Posts

Once you’ve been actively publishing on your blog, it’s a great tactic to reach out to other bloggers in your field. Once you have begun to actively comment and share their articles, contact them via e-mail or social media to inquire if they accept guest posts on their blog. Gaining recognition by established leaders as a contributor will provide you with credibility.

Publish a White Paper, E-book or Webinar

E-books, whitepapers, and even webinars show prospects, customers and colleagues that you’re knowledgeable about specific industry topics beyond short content postings (i.e. blog postings, social media posts and videos).  Releasing well-crafted e-books or white papers demonstrates that you’re capable of thought leadership on a larger scale.

Create short content videos

An alternative to blogging is producing regularly scheduled videos. It’s just another great way to exhibit your expertise. Consider discussing important industry-related news or topics, or inviting other industry experts to join you as a featured guest, to create an even deeper degree of credibility.

Answer (All) Questions

This is perhaps one of the easiest tactics to employ. Social media is plagued with those trying to learn more and find answers to their questions.

Monitoring social media platforms such as Quora, Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn can help you identify opportunities to share your expertise. Once you’ve identified questions for which you can provide a beneficial response, answer it in an educational, non-promotional manner.

Tip: If you have created a digital article, video or e-book which further explains your response, provide a link.

S. Lynn Cooper is a Washington, DC-based digital strategist and communications expert. Cooper is the founder and director of Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency that specializes in the creation of social and digital strategies and campaign management. Follow her on Twitter at @sociallyahead.

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S. Lynn Cooper

S. Lynn Cooper started her very first company at 16 years old. More than 15 years later, she is the founder of two non-profit organizations and five distinct corporate entities. After studying at Howard University, she served the U.S. Departments of Defense, State, and Homeland Security, and was named special assistant to a US Ambassador. However, when it comes to Cooper, what is past is merely prologue. As founder and director of Socially Ahead, a strategic communications agency specializing in the training, coaching and creation of social/digital strategies, Cooper has dedicated herself to helping individuals and businesses navigate social media platforms to build better connections online.


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