Business leaders know the value of a network, and so does marketing. While social media has been hyped as a sophisticated artery for disseminating owned thought leader content on behalf of top executives and experts at companies, most complex sector companies are barely tapping its vast potential.
Why are social media marketing initiatives for B2B company leaders a massive challenge? The answer feels like time and effort internally, but the reality is that it is more of a resource issue. Time and effort implies that the individual thought leader should rightly have time and make the effort. anthonyBarnum would argue that on a systematized scale, it’s just not realistic for most innovative business leaders to put in the time and effort to have a meaningful impact. It falls on the marketing organization, who is already managing a jigsaw puzzle of initiatives.
Nevertheless, complex companies need to better utilize their social media to enable their thought leaders to expand their individual impacts in alignment with the company’s objectives. AND, they need to create content assets that are proliferated, not just on corporate social media channels, but also on individual channels. Instead of thinking only of the corporate social media cadence, marketing must now integrate more dynamic social media for individuals – as part of the overall marketing strategy – to fully maximize social media.
Why is this so important? Ultimately, it is the visionary thought leader that is going to have visibility, connections and the network to deliver the market proposition to exactly the individual in a position to make a buying decision – AKA REVENUE!
While this a multifaceted initiative, here are four principles and recommendations for building out your thought-leaders’ universe of influence via social media:
- The individual is credible. It’s important prior to venturing out on this to assess the existing network and growth opportunity of the individual thought-leader’s sphere of influence. Then, it’s important that their current profile on LinkedIn and/or Twitter reflect their leadership position and experience. Above all, don’t be boring. Glints of personality in more individualized and less formulaic approaches are best. The thought leader needs to offer a nice balance of individual presence and corporate brand authority.
- Content is king. The connection with followers lies in the quality of the ideas and accompanying content. ePapers and blogs are essential to perpetuating engagement and interest. If a thought leader goes silent, momentum is lost so cadence and regular posting are also critical. The content must be radically useful—and radically relevant—and this is no easy feat. The good news is that any content created for a thought leader is also appropriate for corporate marketing efforts.
- Engagement matters. Many times, companies establish a compelling social media presence with great content – but they barely have followers. One of the best ways to organically build a growing social media presence and gain followers is by engaging with other thought leaders: Follow them, comment on their posts, be useful if they ask for input or feedback. This applies both to individuals and to corporate social media presences. Individuals, or those managing their social presence, should actively connect with targeted audiences.
- Marketing has a new project. To ensure the efficiency, effectiveness and ROI of individual thought leadership, it is the marketing team’s role to create and support the thought leader. This includes developing and/or refining content, assisting in strategically defining the influencers/sales targets, and running or facilitating the tactical execution of an individual social media thought leader campaign.
anthonyBarnum collaborates with both visionary marketing teams and world leading experts in their sector to define and execute individual thought leader campaigns. Great social media influencer programs require both deep strategy and research, as well as consistent tactical execution to perform. But, like all great social and content campaigns, the audience connection that can be built is so valuable and has so much reach, the payoff for marketing on this may be incalculable. Marketing will either try to conquer this with in-house resources or must outsource it to a strategic partner as the complexity of their roles and areas of oversight continues to skyrocket!