Today it’s becoming increasingly hard to stand out as a thought leader, but the good news with social media is that you can control your own destiny. You can determine what you want your personal brand to be and what you want to be known as a leader in. However, this requires careful strategic planning. I’ll go through some steps that you can take in order to become more recognized as a thought leader.
Identify your passion: The first step is identifying your passion and what you really like to do. This can be hard to do but ask yourself these three questions:
What problem(s) do you want to solve?
What do you love to do?
What gives you the most joy when you do it?
Once you’ve answered these questions ask five of your friends:
What your strengths are?
The best ways they can see your strength being applied to the world
What industries they can see you in
Once you’ve done this you should draw the parallels between the two sets of responses and craft a mission statement. I did this and here’s mine.
My mission is to build the next set of global leaders. I want to bring East and West together and have them sit side by side with North and South. I want to see them trade stories of adventures and experiences that they each have had. I want to replace discrimination with appreciation and introduce it to connection to celebrate uniqueness. I want to encourage diversity and help build global mindsets to tell stories about culture. Most importantly, I want to educate the world about the beauty in all of us and how we can work together to improve our global identities. I WANT TO USE MY DIFFERENCE TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE.
What this mission statement allowed me to do was keep my focus and not deviate. It’s what led me to launch my magazine and podcast. Crafting your mission statement also helps you to define your brand.
Create a home base: Social media is rented land and your website is your home base so make sure you have a place where you can direct people to after reading your bio. This could be your website or column page. Take them to where they can see your work so they can see your whole portfolio and possibly engage further with you. If it’s your website, they’ll see your services. If it’s a column you run they’ll see your other posts. Either way you expose an audience to more of yourself.
Create compelling content: Speaking of work, make sure you have some work to show. In order to be considered a thought leader, you have to be able to create content and not just any type of content. Content that adds value. Now that you have your mission statement, start creating content about what you want to be a leader in. The content should include things like tips, how tos, personal experiences about how lessons you’ve learned, and interviews with other thought leaders in your industry.
Craft a powerful bio that: Now that you have your mission statement, start crafting a bio that defines who you are what you do and your interests. Think of it as your audition to the world. On Twitter your bio and picture are your first impressions and if you don’t leave enough of a good first impression you will be lost in the sea of other Twitter followers. So how should you craft your Twitter bio?
Start with what you do then tie your interests into your bio. For example, my bio reads as follows:
As you can see I started with what I do with my magazine, podcast, and blogging. Then I incorporated my mission statement into my bio because the majority of what I tweet about relates to that and those are my interests. You can also put relevant keywords where they fit in your bio. This way you can be found easily with the Twitter search bar. If a writer is looking to write for a publication they can type in publisher and my name will come up as one of the results or if someone wants to talk to a C-suite level person in the media business, they can type in CEO and i’ll most likely be i one of the results.
Make sure your interests match your tweets so if you are a leadership coach don’t fill your timeline with cat and dog pictures. Remember you only have 160 characters so you have to be succinct and to the point so people looking at your profile know what to expect when they follow you.
Find people you want emulate and follow their followers: Once you have determined your mission statement, brand, and bio, start to identify people or organizations you want to emulate and start following their followers. Follow about 500 a day and wait 24 hours before unfollowing those who don’t follow you back. I recommend using justunfollow to manage who you follow and who you unfollow. You want to be careful not to go on a crazy following spree because Twitter might think you are a robot and suspend your account.
Effectively Use of Hashtags and Keywords: Another thing you can do is to follow people who use hashtags and keywords relate to your industry. You can do a search on Twitter for hashtags and keywords or use justunfollow. For example, I wanted to be a voice for Third Culture Kids and Global Nomads so I used #ThirdCultureKids #GlobalNomads and then I filtered the search down to just show people with those keywords or hashtags in their bios. I then went on a following spree and followed everyone with those words in their biography. You’ll start to see an increase in your followership with people interested in what you have to say.
Being a thought leader is a process but one that can be implemented if done right through social media. As our world becomes more digitized, it is important to know how to get our voices to be heard online and one of the best ways to do that is through Social Media.
Tayo Rockson is the publisher and CEO of UYD Magazine, a lifestyle magazine encouraging people all over the world to use their difference to make a difference while celebrating diversity and educating others. He is an avid writer whose work can be seen on the Huffington Post as well as Global Living magazine. He is an authority on Third Culture Kids and assimilation into new cultures. He is the author of The Ultimate Guide To TCK Living and though his podcast and blog, he is heard and read by thousands of people in over 100 countries. He grew up in four different continents and now currently resides in New York City where he frequently strikes conversations with random people. Follow him on Twitter @TayoRockson