A lot of aspiring thought leaders do always wonder where to build their audience between social media and their blogs.
As someone who’s worked with different blogs and social media platforms for many years, here’s what I have to tell you…
How to Grow Your Thought Leadership Brand
There are some elements that are very important when it comes to growing your brand with thought leadership. Sometimes, these factors can either drive your growth or stall it if not handled properly.
I am going to list some of these factors below…
Don’t focus on either your Blog or Social Media Platforms alone
70 percent of amateur thought leaders believe that the best place to build a brand is to build on the social media.
This is not only manifestly wrong, it is one sure way to limit your brand and thought leadership potentials to a specific reach.
As a successful thought leader, many different factors will always contribute to or affect the growth of your brand.
And most of the time, these influencing and stabilizing elements will always come from either your blog or your social media platform.
So, to build a robust brand, you have to take into consideration, these elements that play out in expanding your reach.
This is why it is always advisable that whenever you’re set to build your brand, you don’t have to focus on building the brand on your blog or your social media platforms alone.
You can start with either of this platforms but the best thing to do will always be to work on building both platforms at the same time.
Build beyond Your Blog
As a beginner, building your brand on your blog alone can get you the audience, clout and widespread recognition.
But unless your blog is a breakout success, that recognition might not translate into a lot of gains for you. Especially, in terms of building thought leadership and influence within your locality.
This is because, to build influence, you need a tribe.
But with a new blog, you do not instantly have the kind of audience that can build the rapport and community-like following that will give you the fast result you want.
Where to Start Building Thought Leadership as a Beginner
Thought leadership thrives on an existing and loyal audience.
As a new thought leader, giving most of your attention to the social media at the initial stages can help you build a loyal audience more easily.
When done well, as a beginner, your social media platform can turn you into a micro influencer at a much more faster rate than a blog.
The reason you can easily build a brand on the social media as a beginner is because there is an existing and more permanent audience and you have far less competition to work with.
Now, let me break it down…
As a beginner, the following three factors allows you to build a brand on the social media faster than a blog…
An existing audience
With over two billion active monthly users, social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram etc gives you an existing user base you can leverage on to build your brand.
With these platforms, you can easily add people that share similar interests with you, as friends, engage with them via your content, build your brand around them and expand from there.
Besides new friends on your social media platforms, you will also have a handful of acquaintances who already know and trust you to a certain degree.
With this set of audience, you can begin to build trust and brand loyalty which are major elements that will affect your status as a thought leader.
With time, as you continue creating valuable and engaging content; more people will find your brand to be trust worthy and reliable.
And the more your audience develops interest in the brand. The more you get exposed to potential users who will be encouraged to do the same.
This on its own has a way of increasing your followership.
A More Permanent Audience
Monthly user analytics shows that majority of blogs have more new users than return users.
This means that a lot of people coming to most blogs are landing there after searching for something on the search engine, not because they want to read those blogs specifically.
With such metrics, you have to understand that your blog post might be bringing new users to your blog than old users.
And most of the time, these new users might only be interested in reading the particular content that brought them to the blog.
Even at that, they may not stay long enough to get to know you, your brand or content style to be convinced to book mark or follow the blog permanently.
On the other hand unless they un-friend or un-follow you, your social media audience will always be permanent.
Most of them will see your post on their timeline each time you make a post.
Compared to your blog, they won’t have to visit your page before they read your post.
This gives you an added advantage you can leverage on to build an engaging audience.
Despite the fact that there are billions of people on most platforms, your social media platform is still more like your own personal world, compared to a blog.
With this, you can build your brand into whatever you want without necessarily doing what others are doing or struggling to be heard.
For instance, Instead of a blog where you will be waiting for readers to search and find your content via the search engine thus reducing your chances of showing up as a beginner…
Your social media platforms allows you to publish your content directly to an existing audience who will in turn see the content on their timeline.
This eliminates the immediate need to outdo another existing thought leader in order to have your content read by your followers.
Also, unlike a blog where you as a new blogger may not have a level playing field to compete with established blogs in terms of keywords and search engine rankings…
With your social media, there is always a room to build a micro targeted audience based on your brand.
This is also encouraged by the permanence of your social media fans.
The social media algorithm allows your fans and friends to see your content whenever you post online.
With this, you already have a steady audience to bank on.
Then, you can continue to distinguish yourself and work on targeted brand marketing.
Social Media Audience Can be More Loyal
The fourth reason why you need to start building your brand as a thought leader on the social media is because with social media, you can build a loyal audience more easily.
This is because creating a consistent and value driven engagement with your audience on the social media increases their likeness for your brand.
At the end of the day, the more they like your brand, the more they become more opened to promoting you and what you stand for.
Building such bonding on most blogs will definitely take a longer time, depending on certain key factors.
The thought Leadership Strategy that Works
I’m sure you now see that you can start building your thought leadership brand as a beginner on the social media.
Now, beyond starting with the social media, one of the most important keys to a thought leadership strategy that works is building a brand that is beyond your social media platform.
The following are other important thought leadership strategies that will help you in building a formidable brand as a thought leader.
These strategies are all dependent on your own platform. Here’s the list…
Build beyond Social Media
Despite the fact that starting out as a thought leader or influencer on the social media is a great idea, you must not build your branding strategy around the social media alone.
Unless your target is to become a local influencer, the social media alone cannot give you the clout and kind of influence you need to become a well known thought leader.
Focusing all your energy on your social media can turn you into a local celebrity, revolving your brand on the particular social media platform.
This is why the best strategy to build thought leadership faster is to leverage both your blog and the social media. Or put in a different way, start with the social media but build your blog without delay.
You want to build a loyal following on the social media then find a way to bring them over to your blog.
In a nutshell, you have to get you audience from your social media back to your website. That is what works.
The more you’re popular on the social media, the more people will be interested in knowing about you.
Make sure they can get to know you beyond your social media platforms.
Build a more Permanent Digital Asset
No matter how much effort you must have put in building your social media platforms, you don’t have a complete control over your platform.
Without notice the powers that be can sanction you, bring down your platforms or get your years of labour down the gutters.
Over the years, this has happened to many influencers on Facebook, Instagram and even Blogspot.
You don’t want to have this happen after many years of hard work that’s why you have to also build a platform that you own.
This is where the need to build a personal website and blog comes in.
So, while a social media platform gives you the audience to get started with thought leadership, you have to use your own digital assets in sustaining your growth and building a more formidable brand that’s totally controlled by you.
Build a Unique Identity
In as much as you can build a strong brand on the social media as an influencer or thought leader, there are only a few options for you to create a very unique brand.
Take for instance, the social media platform is opened to everyone globally. It gives anyone the chance to use any name for any purpose so you cannot really customize your name especially as a beginner.
So unlike your blog or website, on the social media you’ll find out that if your name is ABC, another person from a different location may bear the same name ABC on the same platform.
Situations like this might make it difficult for you to spot a very unique brand for yourself.
On the other hand with your own digital assets like a website or blog, you can easily use search engine optimization to create a unique identity with your customized domain name.
Build a Professional Brand
One of the hallmarks of thought leadership is professionalism.
To become a thought leader, you have to be well known for your philosophy, ideas and thoughts on important ideals as they affect your niche.
Creating a unique thought leadership brand will thus involve creating content that captures your own ideas. These are the things that make you stand out.
As an influencer, these things are part of the valuable asset that makes you and your brand unique therefore you have to build a platform where people can access them permanently.
Your ideas can come in the form of written books, audio, videos etc. Giving your audience s permanent platform online to access your content makes you more professional.
In conclusion, none pf these two approaches to building your brand as a thought leader is cut in stone.
With strategic planning and a consistent effort, building your brand on both platforms will eventually help you achieve your goals as an aspiring thought leader.
Here’s where we’ll end this tutorial on how to build and grow your thought leadership brand as a beginner. So, on which of these platforms do you want to start building your thought leadership brand?