For the longest time, when we delved into social media content strategy, we treated it as a one-size-fits-all approach. It was like trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. But the truth is, social media isn’t a monolithic entity. It’s a dynamic realm where people gather for various reasons and expect different types of content from different types of creators.
For thought leaders, many believe that to thrive on social media, we have to follow a set formula. A one-size-fits-all strategy, if you will. This is where the trap lies, because thought leaders are a different breed of content creators when it comes to social media. The rules of engagement might be similar but the vision, context and overall purpose is different.
To many, thought leaders are individuals who dive into complex topics, providing in-depth analysis. Their audience expects well-researched and informative content. That is not the full picture. Since thought leadership can emerge from any industry or any category, you will also have thought leaders who create lighter, more entertaining content suitable for their category.
In the end, the key is in the “thought” part… such leaders create an environment through their content that sparks curiosity and encourages their audience to consider a different concept, thought, idea, alternative or reasoning. That happens when thought leaders strike a balance between depth and accessibility, creating a lasting reputation.
Furthermore, the metrics for measuring success differ for thought leaders. It’s not just about the engagement metrics, but more about recognition as a thought leader, and the quality of conversations generated.
So, What Should a Thought Leader’s Social Media Content Strategy Look Like?
A thought leader’s social media content strategy should be a well-planned journey. Here are some of what it should encompass:
- Defining the Brand and Message: Clearly articulating expertise, values, and unique perspective while maintaining a consistent tone and style that reflects brand identity
- Understanding the Audience: Diving deep into audience’s interests and preferences and understanding the pain points within the industry. This knowledge will help tailor the content to resonate with both audience and industry
- Sharing Thought Leadership Content: Sharing unique insights, industry trends, expert opinions, and discussing emerging topics. Backing any claims with data and research to boost credibility when applicable.
- Diversifying Content: Utilizing various content types such as long-form (in-depth analysis, insights), short-form (industry news, questions), videos (webinars, tutorials), audio (podcast), infographics (simplifying complex information visually), white papers, and case studies. Adapting content mix to suit the industry, the thought leader personality, audience and the social media platforms of choice.
- Embracing Opportunities: Participating in speaking opportunities, conferences, and interviews to widen reach and impact. It’s another way to promote work, share industry insights and create a different type of content on social media
- Engaging Actively: Fostering a two-way conversation to build a community, while maintaining consistency in content publishing
- Leveraging the Network: Collaborating and building partnerships, whether it’s with other thought leaders or industry influencers
As for Metrics, while regularly monitoring engagement and audience growth metrics are important, other metrics hold a higher priority for thought leadership content strategy.
In my opinion, metrics such as SOV is key, where there is a close monitoring of the thought leader’s Share of Voice within the industry and against competitors within the category. Other important metrics such as thought leadership recognition, community growth, lead generation and conversion rates are also key indicators to whether the strategy is working in the right direction, and what sort of fine-tuning should be considered regularly.
In the context of social media, a thought leader is someone recognized as an authority in their specific industry. They are known for their deep knowledge, unique insights, and their ability to influence and shape discussions within their respective fields on social media platforms. They are innovative, credible, and adaptable to the continuous changes and growth in the industry.
Building thought leadership through social media is a journey that requires dedication, consistent effort, and a genuine desire to provide value to your audience. Over time, this strategy can help you establish a strong online presence and become a respected authority in your industry.