Do you want to stand out from the crowd in your role, sector, or industry? You have everything you need to do so; you just need to showcase yourself. You could be using Social Media to position yourself as an authority in your field!
It’s important to continue learning and growing, refining your skills and staying current with your sector trends to be an industry leader, right? You could be building your reputation as an authority right now and it won’t cost you anything – except some of your time.
There’s so much professional knowledge and experience inside your head that would be of value to people who don’t have your skills and experience, including those just starting out in your field. All you need to do to become an authority is let people know what you know!
Something you have refined for months, years or even decades could completely blow another person’s mind! But they won’t know you know unless you start showing it and a great way to get messages out there is with Social Media.
People want to do business with authority figures, it makes them feel good, and it makes them look good! If you and your competitor’s business are similar (with similar pricing and services) why wouldn’t people chose to do business person that ‘gets it’ – and you do, so let them hear from you!
Here are my top tips to get you started!
Get Set For Success
Set up your social media profiles for success. What does this mean?
Look at your current industry leaders, where do you read their articles – is it LinkedIn, online industry-specific publications, in print? Chances are there’s no accident they publish their content there. You can do this yourself!
Ok, it’s harder to get published in your industry-specific magazine – but it’s not impossible if you lay the groundwork somewhere else, like LinkedIn or Medium for example. If you develop a following you could be the next industry expert they ask to contribute!
Consider which platforms might be the most appropriate for professional posting. If it’s where you’d prefer to keep your recreational photos and comments, Facebook might not be the place to start your journey to industry leader. Consider that there is a “business person” Facebook Page category for this specific purpose and this is a better place to share your professional content than on your profile. There can be sharing between personal and professional entities – but they should be clearly one or the other to avoid crossing the professional line.
When choosing a platform to build authority, the platforms I would suggest looking at are; Facebook Pages, Twitter, LinkedIn, Medium, and Quora. It all depends on where your target audience is present and your level of comfort with the platform. Choose one or two to start with – don’t try to do them all.
Once you have decided which platforms you are going to use for positioning yourself as an authority, optimise them. By this I mean, fill out all relevant fields. Include contact information in case people to want to get in touch, use a professional image to let people know who you are. You can’t become an authority while hiding, so be brave and show your face! It doesn’t have to be an overly-corporate headshot. You are allowed to have a personality! It’s what makes you you!
On Good Authority
Once you’re all set up, you’ll need to start posting content to your account/s. Think about what your strengths are and try to find articles, video and images that play to them. You can share an article with your comments on why it’s worth reading, what the key points are, whether you agree or disagree (diplomatically), recommend other similar or follow up content to read next and generally show off your insight and experience.
Choose reputable sources, eye-catching images, and nothing from behind a pay-wall. Personally I steer away from publications like Forbes, simply because you have to click through the quote of the day – aint nobody got time for that!
If you can maintain posting with good momentum and consistency – coupled with monitoring your progress with interactions from your audience and your platforms analytics, you are well on your way!
Under The Influence
So you’ve been doing the content sharing, and you have developed a bit of a following – that’s fantastic! How do you step it up a gear?
Start publishing your own content!
Sounds too hard? It’s not as hard as you think. You don’t have to build a fancy website - you can use the platforms you have already established. There’s a divide between people (and brands) that share curated content and those who publish (or create) their own.....and it’s HUGE.
Think about why you share the articles you do. Because it’s valuable information, right? What if you were the one providing that value? People would be sharing your content!
Publish What You Preach
Medium is a great publishing platform. It’s free, it’s collaborative (so people will write back to you if they feel inspired to by your writing). It’s like having a blog but with none of the set-up. Medium posts work in a similar way to LinkedIn Published Posts or Facebook Notes (if you have used either of these before) it’s simple, linkable to external content and you can add pictures.
*Top Tip: Use tagging! Medium tags don’t need #'s and can help your content be discovered.
LinkedIn has moved on from being a ‘digital resume’ and is now a great place to publish your original content! Most of you would have a LinkedIn profile, and have probably at one time or another posted a status update. Maybe you do it regularly, that’s awesome! You’re already half way there. You know who’s who in your sector. You already have connections and followers.
Use LinkedIn Published Posts to extend this to building influence beyond your connections. Published posts go to LinkedIn’s Pulse platform. Here they can be swept up and read and shared by anyone, whether they follow you or not! And not only that, each time you publish a post your own connections will receive a notification that you did so, encouraging them to come and check it out.
*Top Tip: Use tagging. People on Pulse don’t follow you necessarily – they follow subjects that interest them.
Think about your tags carefully, you are only allowed 3.
LinkedIn also has a product called SlideShare where you can post publications. These are similar in essence to the old PowerPoint Publications, but more image-focused. You can publish your own LinkedIn SlideShare content and depending on the quality and category can be seen by tens to hundreds of thousands of people. Pretty cool huh?
*Top Tip: Use content that has performed well as a blog post and re-create as a SlideShare.
It’s a bit of work to make them look good and you don’t want to risk it on non-tested content.
LinkedIn Groups can be a great place to publish valuable content to your industry peers. Just make sure it’s a group in which you contribute to the discussion, dropping in to post a link to your latest post is considered a bit rude if that’s all you ever do.
*Top Tip: Seriously, don’t be that guy who drops in once a week to post a link to their latest article; the rest of the group secretly hates you.
LinkedIn Pages are a good way for your company to have a business profile on LinkedIn, and your content can be shared there. LinkedIn Pages have a post maximum of 400 characters, so are not really any good for posting articles – just a blurb and a link with an eye-catching image is all you need. If it’s not your company you’ll need to submit your article to the page admin/s to post for you should they deem it appropriate to come from their corporate voice.
*Top Tip: You can advertise from LinkedIn Pages. Targeting examples that work well include roles within industries,
i.e. Assistant Manager in Human Resources.
Whether you choose LinkedIn as a place to publish original content or not, you can add your links under publications on your profile. This way people will be able to find them if they are LinkedIn stalking you; which they will if you start getting some attention!
*Top Tip: You can set your LinkedIn to private so when you stalk people your name is not listed.
Facebook Page Notes can be used to write long-form content. They have recently had a makeover and are looking really sleek. This wouldn’t be my first choice, and I wouldn’t use Notes from your personal profile (only a business page) Facebook notes have the same sort of functionality as LinkedIn Published Posts writing-wise; with links, images and some basic formatting.
*Top Tip: Share your note to your page as a post once published.
I touched on Quora earlier – it’s a question and answer site. It’s similar to a forum, where a question is posted and people have the opportunity to answer. Answers are rated by how accurate people think they are. Answering industry questions in your niche here can quickly build your professional authority.
*Top Tip: Lurk and see the ‘rules’ and conventions used on the platform. You don’t want to come across as a noob.
That was some options that don’t include starting a blog, but if you’re really serious – why not start one? You can get set up pretty quickly and easily through WordPress.
*Top Tip: You can do this yourself, but if you want all the fruit you might need someone to help you
If A Post Falls, And No-one Hears It - Did It Make A Sound?
Once you’ve posted your content, you will need to promote it to make sure people are seeing it! Not just any people, the right people! You don’t want to spend time creating articles and having no one read them.
Promoting your content follows the same method as your posting of other people’s content – posting it consistently, asking questions to engage your readers, letting them know what to expect when they open the full post.
My tips on promoting content you have written:
- Post consistently – whether you blog weekly/fortnightly/monthly post on the same days
- Share them on your personal profiles
- Ask others to share them
- Tag people you think might be interested in them
- Ask questions
- Ask for feedback
- Post them more than once if the content isn’t time sensitive (we call this “evergreen”)
- Use other platforms like Twitter, Instagram etc. to promote
- Email your content to people you think will value it
- Make it into a downloadable worksheet or whitepaper & make it available to your peers
- Change up the images/blurbs used to promote multiple times to avoid image fatigue
- Tag influencers in your niche (be careful not to appear spammy)
- Send to industry specific publications
You can also pay to promote your content via Twitter, Facebook (including Instagram) or LinkedIn advertising. The targeting available to Facebook alone is jaw-droppingly complex and can really help get your content in front of the right folks. I would strongly advise against blindly hitting “Boost” on your Facebook posts, you won’t be accessing the whole of the Facebook Ad targeting iceberg.
Guest blogging can be also an option for you to grow your audience! Just make sure the content is relevant and the blogs have an overlap of target audience, otherwise it won’t make sense to your readers or theirs.
So that’s a lot of information in one go! I encourage you to think about the best way to promote your skills and knowledge. It will get you noticed within your current organisation; potentially getting you promoted or getting you a pay rise. It can also make you desirable to recruiters, and it’s nice to be headhunted once in a while.
Not only this but you can be asked to present in person, contribute to popular publications and more! All this increases your visibility – helping you build your personal brand and increasing your attractiveness to your current and potential customers, also increasing sales while you’re at it!
What do you think? How are you building your authority and credibility in your niche?
Our featured guest blogger
Carma Levene is a Freelance Social Media Specialist - helping Perth businesses negotiate the sometimes complicated realm of Social Media Marketing. With 5 years experience, including 3+ years in 2 agencies, she has worked on a diverse range of industries and budgets. She never uses Marketing jargon when real words will do, and places the highest importance on working together with business owners and managers to produce results.
Find out more about her on her website using the link below.