social media how toAre you looking to establish credibility online?

Do you know how social media can help?

How and what you communicate on social media can position you as a trusted resource in your industry.

In this article I’ll show you how to effectively use social media to prove your place as an expert in your field.

become an industry leader using social media

Find out how to become a leader in your industry using social media.

#1: Find the Right Social Channel

The first steps to becoming a thought leader in your industry are deciding which social platforms fit your expertise and audience and then directing your efforts to those particular channels.

While it’s a good idea to share your content on multiple channels, you don’t want to do so at the expense of reaching your main target audience.

Marketo demonstrates this step well. They have a product that is highly specialized to marketers and business owners. In order to capture the attention of that professional audience, Marketo has to know where those people spend their time. In this case that social channel is LinkedIn—so that’s where Marketo spends most of their time sharing content.

marketo posts on linkedin

Marketo reaches marketers and business owners where they’re most active.

By choosing the most valuable social channel for sharing and conversing, you’re getting more exposure, and likely more conversation; which in turn can lead to trust—one of the most basic components of becoming a thought leader.

#2: Create Relevant Blog Content

Many brands complain that social doesn’t work for them because they have nothing to post. The reality is, they’re probably right. If you aren’t busy doing, creating or finding relevant and interesting things to post about, social media will never work for your brand.

If you want to be a thought leader, go ahead and put your thoughts out there—your success relies on publishing quality content (and sharing it elsewhere).

kissmetrics shareable image

Create shareable content to establish yourself as a trustworthy expert in your industry.

In most instances blogging is in an important part of conveying expertise. Of course, different industries call for different types of content, so look at creating videos, case studies, whitepapers and infographics—whatever works for your audience.

If you take a look at KISSmetrics’ blog, you’ll see that they put out relevant content, but it’s not flashy.

kissmetrics blog posts list

KISSmetrics answers common marketing questions and concerns via blogging.

Their posts are long-form and light on images. They include in-depth examples to illustrate their points and focus on answering their audience’s key concerns about marketing and business.

Not everyone can have success with that model. You have to know your audience and cater to their needs. Since KISSmetrics’ audience is data-driven, the text-heavy posts work. You’ll obviously have a different experience if you’re in an industry that relies on visual content (e.g., design or lifestyle). It’s all relative, right?

#3: Cross-Promote and Engage

As noted in #1 above, the best place to share your content is on the network where your audience is most active. However, that doesn’t mean you should disregard the other social channels. You want to give your content the best chance at being seen.

warby parker facebook post

Don’t limit your sharing to one social channel.

It’s OK to share similar content across social networks; just make sure you optimize for each platform’s expectations. Timing, visuals and copy all matter and should be tweaked for each social network.

Before you start sharing, research best practices on each social platform. Even if you have the best content and a receptive audience, your shares will fall flat if they aren’t spread effectively.

Your goal, of course, is to get people talking about your content once it’s shared.

The most effective way to convince people of your knowledge isn’t broadcasting; it’s opening up a dialog about your subject of expertise and inviting those interested to join the back-and-forth.

If you want them to continue to talk, you have to get in there yourself—be an active participant.

#likeable twitter chat messages

Host a chat to increase your credibility as a reliable source of information.

For instance, Likeable Media hosts a weekly Twitter chat called #LikeableChat and invites their audience to discuss marketing-related topics.

Opening the gates to this kind of direct communication gives Likeable Media a forum to demonstrate their expertise, while simultaneously generating quality content for their target audience.

The more your content is seen and shared, and the more conversation around it, the more likely you are to establish your company’s credibility and its role as an industry thought leader.

#4: Collaborate With Social Influencers

Fashion retailer Zara famously built their brand by eschewing expensive marketing and simply building their stores next to high-end fashion retailers. The lesson here is that an association with the right brands (or individuals) is a valuable asset when it comes to establishing credibility.

To gain that association, you need to actively collaborate with the people your audience views as influencers.

buffer blog post by neil patel

By inviting influential people to write articles for their blog, Buffer gets more visibility.

A successful example of this tactic is Buffer’s popular social media blog. Buffer frequently features guest articles from thought leaders in various industries they know their core audience is interested in.

By inviting these influencers to work with them, Buffer is able to get free quality content and tap into the influencer’s established trust and credibility when those influencers share the content across their own social channels.

buffer blog post promoted by neil patel

Working with influencers gives you more visibility on social media.

Joining forces with other industry influencers not only has the benefit of associating your brand with established leaders, it can also spark lasting relationships that are mutually beneficial down the road.

Wrapping Up

If you’re looking for a quick fix and rise to the top, I’m sorry to say that it’s not going to happen in a month or two.

Building a lasting quality reputation through content marketing and social media takes consistent, concerted effort. It’s constant work to create quality content, share posts, align with existing influencers and keep up with conversations. But businesses that commit to this regimen reap massive rewards—and end up as industry thought leaders.

What do you think? Have you used these tactics to gain influence? Do you have additional advice for others? Share with us in the comments below.

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  • yeah…influencers are the key…. Awesome post

  • Thanks for reading Dipesh!

  • Great examples @Brian_Honigman:disqus. Lots of great actionable items to put into place to get you to the top!

  • These are great resolutions for the new year. With organic reach crumbling on many networks it is important to do the critically important extra legwork to get people talking.

    Be bold in reaching out to industry leaders (some will ignore you but others will be surprisingly helpful if you are clear and reasonable about your objectives). Create a blog post where you ask several influencers for their quick opinion on a specific topic. They may share it when published; your name is right up there with the stars, their audiences will get involved and you are on your way!

  • Great tips, especially for C-level execs looking to build their social presence!

  • Thanks Christian, much appreciated!

  • Yes! This can be actionable for most marketers. Appreciate you taking the time to read Mikki.

  • Agreed Jeff! Thanks for leaving a thoughtful comment. In 2015 anyone has the opportunity to become a success in their industry, it is all about the approach and the hustle!

  • Thanks for highlighting the importance of a blog. With organic search being de-emphasized by Facebook, as the most prominent example, you can’t depend on your posts showing up in your news feed. So you need to have a home for your great content. That’s your blog.

  • Absolutely, a blog should be the content hub for your business or personal brand in most cases!

  • Absolutely, a blog should be the content hub for your business or personal brand in most cases!

  • Hi @Brian_Honigman:disqus sir,
    What a post. Being a social media enthusiast and a wannabe influencer in this field I always search for such awesome topics that would inspire me and help me grow professionally.

    I really liked your idea of collaborating with other leaders and cross promoting others. Social media is not for robotic self promotions anyway. That is one aspect where we can build solid relationships.

    Again, twitterchat works wonders. That’s how I met you and see I am already getting conversions based on your and Kristi Hines’s advises. This is a real example of how to use the available resources in order to get a hold of yourself in the ever changing social map.

    Creating social media related blog content is also advisable because it helps your audience to see you as an ultimate channel of information. If someone can’t come up with awesome ideas simple content curation can lead to awesome news for the audience, but you have to keep in mind that is won’t be too broad a niche for your audience.
    Thank you for writing this up.

  • Hi Swadhin,

    Thanks for the support as always. For last few months you’ve been one of my biggest cheerleaders and I really appreciate, not to mention that you read this post as well!

    I’m glad the article is helpful, it is all about creating worthwhile relationships! I’m thrilled this concept is resonating because that’s one of the most effective ways of growing your influence in an industry.

    Thanks for the in depth comment, enjoy the holidays ahead and happy New Year!



  • Hello Brian sir, I am so glad I have brought a smile to your face. This post was truly awesome and I am glad I have subscribed to your email.
    Yes its all about creating meaningful relationships and providing value to the readers. keep writing more such posts. 🙂
    Wish you also a merry Christmas and a happy new year. 🙂

  • Agree that finding the right channel for your particular field is important.

    A recent example: I have a blog about comedy and wanted to build network of comedians, gag writers etc. Facebook not great for it. Plenty of comics there, but they were just promoting gigs, etc to fans. Not sharing tips, thoughts with peers.

    Twitter, however was much better. Heaps of comedians there, many engaging with each other a lot.

  • Angel Balichowski

    Great post as always! This is my go-to place for Social Media info. I agree about Influencers, in any niche or for any strategy, that part right there always produces fantastic results. Thanks again! =)

  • great sharing, thanks

  • Really digging the tip number one. Social media marketing is more often than not a process of trial and error, but choosing the right social channel can save you a lot of time.