Thought leadership is a much-overused term. So much so, that its value has eroded over time. This poses a problem for law firms trying to establish brand credibility on social platforms. Should they try to establish themselves as LinkedIn thought leadership gurus and risk ridicule from professionals who see the term as little more than a buzzword – or look to establish their credibility in other ways?
Thought leadership exists. But it needs to be deployed in the right way, in the right quantity, and in a manner that’s both humble and authentic.
Before exploring LinkedIn thought leadership strategies it’s important to start with the basics.
With that in mind…
What is thought leadership?
Let’s start by defining what it isn’t. Thought leadership isn’t wealth. It isn’t how many top-tier clients a business has or how often it’s mentioned on the front cover of Time magazine. And it has nothing to do with being ‘unique’ or pumping out viral content on social media week-on-week, month-on-month.
If you want to excel at LinkedIn thought leadership your firm needs to get into the habit of answering its customers’ questions well. So well, in fact, that it becomes an authority in its sector and leaves its competitors for dust.
To reinforce the point made earlier: don’t strive to be unique; instead, focus on creating content that provides the best answers to your customers’ questions.
They ask, you answer
Today, Marcus Sheridan is a highly successful and influential marketer. But that wasn’t the case when his pool business started to fail in 2008. After months of brain-draining research, he stumbled across the solution – one so deceptively simple he almost had to pinch himself.
Companies, he realised, shy away from answering difficult questions. They don’t want to list prices or acknowledge competitors. Instead, they’d rather leave these difficult conversations to the end and hope their sales team can close the deal (through luck, perhaps).
If you want to become a LinkedIn thought leader you’ll need to get into the habit of answering the queries your rivals shy away from. Talking not just about the pros but the cons of your sector, being open about pricing, and sometimes recommending competitors when you’re not the right fit are just a few ways you can build trust with your audience.
Does thought leadership work?
Yes but only if you follow the below roadmap.
Become an intellectual giant in your sector
Thought leadership is about establishing authority in a specific area. But this doesn’t mean being merely knowledgeable. It means becoming the authoritative source on a particular topic.
No one wants to tune into Bore FM
To become a LinkedIn thought leader steer away from talking about your products and how they differentiate your firm from its competitors. This will erode the trust you worked hard to build.
Share your knowledge for nada
The trick is to attract customers early on in their buying journey and share your knowledge without asking for anything in return. Guess what happens next? They start following you and engaging.
Become a thought leader on LinkedIn and:
- Build trust with your target audience and turn them into loyal customers
- Become the go-to authority for answers in your niche
- Watch your credibility and follower numbers soar
How do you promote LinkedIn thought leadership content?
Before promoting content there are a few steps you’ll need to take.
Know your audience
Instead of intuiting, deep dive into the questions your audience is asking. There are a number of ways you can do this.
- Answer the public eavesdrops on Google to identify trending questions. Simply tap in your chosen keywords or phrases to get a list of topics your prospects are talking about.
- Follow the website traffic. Type a question into Google and review the People Also Ask section to discover related queries your customers are seeking answers to.
- Review competitors’ social feeds. What topics are they talking about? Look at recent blog posts on their websites too and subscribe to their email lists to get even more intel.
- Visit forums to get candid insight into the hot topics that should be on your firm’s radar
Use a range of formats to reach your audience
Promoting your LinkedIn thought leadership content in different formats will prevent your audience from switching off.
Here are some suggested formats to help keep your strategy varied and engaging.
#1 Just post
Sometimes a simple post is enough. Why not link to a trending article and share your views on it to generate interest (and maybe some controversy)?
#2 Camera shy?
Then start a podcast and start sharing episodes on your social feeds. Podcasts are a great way to share knowledge without the need to sell and you can invite big movers in your sector to partake.
#3 Budding movie star?
Engage with thought leaders on video and share the outcome with your network who are more likely to share the valuable content with their followers.
#4 Start a blog
Publishing in-depth analyses of trends in your sector will help establish you as a LinkedIn thought leader – meanwhile allowing you to backlink to your site and get subscribers.
#5 Publish reports
Showcase your research by publishing a report packed with stand-out industry stats and in-depth answers to questions your customers can’t get anywhere else.
Becoming a LinkedIn thought leader sounds daunting. How can you transform yourself into an authoritative source of information that prospects will flock to for answers to their questions? Here’s the thing: you don’t need to be the best. Instead, focus on identifying the issues keeping your customers awake at night, answering those questions well, and showing up consistently every day.
It will take time but eventually, people will actively seek out your content. That’s when you’ll turn the corner and become a bona fide LinkedIn thought leader. What if time is an issue? Then perhaps we can help. Contact us to discuss your LinkedIn social media strategy today.