Becoming a respected and influential thought leader in your industry is no easy feat, but the benefits are huge. Doors open easily to thought leaders, so if you’re looking to form valuable relationships with others in your industry, create professional opportunities for yourself or build a following of like-minded individuals, then any tactic that builds your profile as a thought leader is a tactic worth checking out.
Journalists and buyers want to know about thought leaders’ unique perspectives and insights on various topics, so one of the most powerful ways that you can establish relevance and offer value is through sharing content. Publishing original content is powerful, but because it’s so heavy on resources, it’s also limited in its scalability. Curation is, therefore, the key.
According to a study by Curata, over 83% of marketers regularly curate and share content published by others, and over half of these marketers use this tactic on a weekly basis. What’s more, over 50% of marketers who curate content say that their curation activity has resulted in better engagement with sales leads, more website traffic and – you guessed it – increased authority as thought leaders.
Creating and curating content is only half the battle, though. The most challenging aspect is the distribution and ensuring that it reaches relevant audience members. This is why influencers view social media as the perfect solution to building personal brand equity. Platforms like Facebook and Instagram have become the all-in-one answers to sharing and atomizing content. Whether you’re distributing your content organically or via paid promotions, social media platforms are excellent places to create brand awareness and loyalty, build one-on-one relationships and provide meaningful, helpful, relevant insights and solutions.
This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to create unlimited content yourself. Sharing curated content by other thought leaders serves to ingratiate you to your fellow influencers, encourages others to reciprocate by share your content, gets you noticed by new audiences and even directs traffic back to your website.
If you’re wondering how this works and what the true benefits are for utilizing social media shares for building thought leadership, keep on reading.
1. Curation Helps Establish Your Brand
Creating and curating content is a powerful way of establishing yourself in your industry, demonstrating your stance on important topics and setting the tone for your brand. By seeing what you share and what it says about your position in your niche, your audience will feel better about connecting and engaging with you.
Social media is the perfect place for this type of audience development since these platforms were created for one purpose: to be social. If you’re able to “humanize” your brand through content and build genuine relationships with your audience members, they’ll be more inclined to share your own content, advocate on your behalf and regularly return to you as a trustworthy source of information.
Quuuu, a content curation tool, is an excellent option for discovering high-quality, relevant content for your social channels and audiences. It’s simple – all you have to do is list your interests and the company’s army of human curators feeds your Buffer account with hand-picked posts every day. This saves you the hassle of endlessly searching for good content to share.
2. Curation Drives Conversions
Since generating actual sales is a big part of the point of becoming a thought leader to begin with, it’s important to include links, CTAs and value propositions in your social posts. You can share these types of posts on your personal or company profiles, in groups, with individuals or through targeted ads.
This is something we are actively seeing in the world of online fashion, in both social media and blogging. With it being so easy to get started with a social following or even creating a fashion blog, it’s now made a level playing field for individuals who want to build a following and brand of their own. Once these players have gained a massive following online, it’s the brands who then want to connect with them and their audience — thus resulting in new advertising and partnership deals.
But when it comes to selling physical goods, branded images just don’t have the same authenticity power that customer images have on social media. Seeing a model wearing a scarf you sell on a white background is one thing, but when your followers see their peers enjoying real life situations while wearing that scarf, it just resonates. By resharing visual UGC, your sales will rise as you simultaneously build a reputation as someone who promotes others.
Using a visual commerce platform like Yotpo, a tool designed to help ecommerce marketers to compile and amplify user-generated content, you can curate collections of relevant Instagram images to use as marketing assets and advertise on Instagram. From within your Yotpo dashboard, you can search for images using hashtags or account handles, select the visuals from among the results that you want to use, and then the automation engine does the rest. Your customers who posted the images confirm your authorized use via comments, and then they get added to your library. From there, you can push the images out as your own social posts, create ad campaigns and embed slideshow widgets on your product pages.
3. Curation Boosts Respect and Trust
Thought leaders who consistently post new information and insights on the latest trends and issues in their niche are typically trusted and admired by their audiences.
Today there’s more content being published every day than anyone could ever consume in a lifetime, and to make matters worse, much of it is “fluff” or otherwise irrelevant and low in quality. Those who manage to stand out with highly valuable and useful insights draw large and targeted audiences of people who loyally return to their pages.
To better understand what types of content perform best and are considered “influencer-worthy,” you can use any of the featured content trending tools in this post from Sujan Patel. From Feedly to help you aggregate different RSS feeds, to using sites like Reddit or LinkedIn Pulse… it’s all about making the process of finding what’s trending on social media fast and easy. Use these tools to create better content ideas for your own brand or business, while also see what people are currently talking about and seeing what might go viral next.
Your Shared Content Is Your Voice
Although it might seem obvious, one of the driving factors in becoming a thought leader is authenticity. The greatest influencers are transparent in their personalities, thoughts, stories and experiences. Without content, you may just be seen as yet another startup CEO, for example, but with content, you can instantly be relatable as an expert, friend or teammate.
Ultimately, if your social media activity is going to be effective at boosting your reputation, then the content you share needs to be rich in value, personality and transparency.