As a small business owner, you want to establish yourself as an expert in your field. You want people to consider you the go-to expert on your industry, the products you sell and trends. But to achieve that, you’ve got to put in a little work. True thought leaders use the following techniques to build loyal fans, traffic to their sites, and revenues.
Secret Strategies Thought Leaders Use
1. Have a Voice on Multiple Platforms
Guy Kawasaki is a great example here. He spends a great deal of time on Google +, but he’s also active on other social sites. He speaks publicly, gives webinars and shares his insight on American Express’ Open Forum. He’s everywhere, because his audience is everywhere. By not only focusing on one channel, he reaches a wider audience.
That being said, don’t overextend your reach. Only take on what you have time to handle. If you set up 10 social media profiles but only have time to update three, the other seven will fall short. Figure out where you most enjoy spending time, online and off, and make those your priorities.
2. Share Great Content
This doesn’t always mean it’s your own content. David Meerman Scott shares a great mix of content from his own blog, as well as other content he thinks is relevant to his followers. If you share too much of your own content, you’ll turn people off.
Spend time each day curating what’s out there in the world of web. Share it. Comment on it and add your own insight.
3. Be a Resource
People who are truly passionate about what they do find it easy to answer questions and give advice. If you meet me at a networking event, chances are, I’ll give you a few marketing tips. I can’t help it. This is a great way to be considered a thought leader.
Focus on delivering value, online and off, not making a sale. Have a genuine interest in helping others. Soon, they’ll send other people to you and word will get around that you’re simply a nice person who knows your stuff. That builds trust and trust is one of the key components to getting people to buy from you, especially in business services, when the product can’t always speak for itself the way a box of detergent can.
4. Keep Learning
The thing about being an expert is – you never reach the pinnacle of knowing it all. There’s always more to learn and other ways to grow. Be humble and open to learning. Read blogs and websites, books and magazines. Attend seminars and workshops. Hone your craft. After all, technology constantly changes the game for most of us, so there’s always fresh information that can help keep you the smartest person in the room, if you’re willing to learn it.
The learning doesn’t have to be specifically related to what you do. Check out Coursera or other online learning and learn something completely left field. You might find it enhances your business skills in surprising ways.
5. Make Connections
Great thought leaders want to help people. If you meet a graphic designer and you happen to know someone who needs one, make the connection. It might not serve you directly, but people appreciate the effort and you never know where it’ll come back to you down the road.
Being a thought leader involves positioning yourself as an expert and genuinely wanting to help people. By taking these actions, you’ll build a loyal following you can convert into customers.
Leader Photo via Shutterstock