Thought leadership is about showing up with the right message to the right person at the right time. It is about relevancy, value and trust. Deciding to be a thought leader in your market means that you are willing to put your point-of-view (POV) out there on the platforms where your audience hangs out.
Let me share with your an example of using Facebook’s power of paid placements.
Think for a moment about getting a referral from a client. YEAHHH! We love referrals. That client is likely going to look into you by visiting your website. They might click around on a few pages and even watch a video. They are intrigued.
Before they even get a chance to meet you, a short video shows up on their Facebook timeline that gives them another perspective of you. As they watch the video and it addresses a pain they have right now.
They are beginning to add to the trust that they already had. Now every two or three days between the introduction and the first meeting your videos show to give them even more touch points with your brand.
As they watch these videos, they can visit the website again or just smile knowing that you “get them.” Either way you connected with them with your message (aka positioning yourself as a thought leader).
Ok, that story may sound like crazy stalking kind of stuff, but it is not really anything like that. It is a feature of the Facebook ad platform. It gives you the power to bring visitors back to your message with the frequency and trust (when you do it right), you begin to connect with the prospects at deeper levels.
There are 4 important parts to thought leadership you must understand if you want it to work for you.
1. The Right Person
The right person means you have a clear understanding of that person (the prospect). You might even know them better than they know themselves because of the experience with others just like them. This is another way to say you are focused on a specific audience instead trying to cast a wide net to see what you can catch.
2. The Right Message
Delivering the right message to them allows you to connect emotionally and logically. If you have a generic and non-specific message you will likely lose them. Your ability to dive deep into their own thinking to their pains, challenges, opportunities and aspirations is what separates you from the others in the market. Your message connects directly to the person’s journey so that they receive it with a single thought “he gets me”.
When you have the right person and the right message, it is perceived to have something of value. It is perceived to address a concern they have been stressing over. Value is in the eye of the beholder which means you have to know them so well that your thought leadership is perceived as useful and relevant to them. I add this to stress the importance of this being of real value to those that you want to connect with. Don’t assume it is valuable…be sure by your research and testing your messages with those right people. There is not a substitution for having conversations with your audience to refine your messages. Most people are not willing to do this enough and this causes a struggle in finding the “market to message” match.
4. The Right Timing
There was an old adage that someone must be exposed to your brand message 7 times to get their attention. This is the effective frequency of your message. It is also referred to as the Rule of 7.
Do you know these slogans?
- Got milk?
(used for 21 years, starting in 1993)
- Just do it.
(used for over 26 years, starting in 1988)
- What happens here, stays here.
(used for 10 over years, starting in 2004)
- Tastes great, less filling.
(used since the 1970s)
These have been used for decades to imprint a message to the audience. When you read them, you can probably picture the brand that produced them, right?
What if you had that level of consistency in your market? You would likely be thought of as a leader just because of the longevity.
The First Step in being a Thought Leader
You must know your ideal client to be a thought leader. Your ideal client is that one client that if you have two dozen of them they would radically change your ability to make money, create systems and even position yourself as a leader in your market to all the others like your ideal client.
Facebook is a powerful platform for thought leadership because of its ability to be a vehicle for your images, text, and videos. Facebook allows you to target the exact people you want to see the ad and when you want them to see it. Here is an interview I did with Valerie Shoopman on my podcast Leaders in the Trenches. Podcast Episode 152 Lead Generation with Facebook Ads.
Additional resources that will help you with your journey to being a thought leader or an authority in your market.
Here is a podcast I did about being an authority that will help you in your journey to thought leadership. http://leadersinthetrenches.com/105-authority-with-gene-hammett/