Will you bring out the best of you or will you leave this world like an average? Will you dream big – just like leaders in every endeavour? There is something better than “three keys” – a key for the car, a key for the office, and a key for the personal house! Life is more than a vacation, a debt-free retirement, or an army of grandchildren.
I have met too many dreamless people in my life. But also, we often confuse mere dreamers and people with dreams! Dreamers talk much and do less; those with dreams may talk less but do much. Dreamers shout thunderously and hit an ant! They hatch up earth-shaking plans but act on none. In contrast, people with dreams may say nothing or say something without fanfare but if you observe, you see their dreams strongly in motion, affecting those around them.
Great men are stirred up by their dreams. Martin Luther died because of his dream. Mahatma Gandhi is known for his dream. I take the dream seriously and ignore discouragers. But every day, I wake up and go out to make it happen.
My dreams about being an entrepreneur have followed me since my early childhood. I’ve always dreamed big and I’ve been unafraid of the greatness of my dreams.
I always knew that I wanted to help people. To see people, organisations and things grow.
I thrived in their success and felt it as though it was mine.
In my very early entrepreneurial beginnings, the only thing I needed was a great strategy to make me and my dream visible. I also needed to get in front of as many people as possible. Share my message with the world.
That’s how I learned all about B2B thought leadership and all its forte in creating this expert aura around you.
Learning about it was like writing the ode to success.
So, here’s what I’ve learned.
What is B2B thought leadership?
Thought leadership isn’t just an ominous marketing term that marketers and outreach experts talk about over dinner or drinks. It’s a concept that has real value and can do wonders for your credibility. It is the original content from a person or a company that is recognized as an expert in a specific topic or industry.
The business continues to evolve and change, and clients’ expectations mature right alongside them. Clients like to know that the companies they trust to provide them with solutions have the latest and most effective solutions, services, and education. Clients want to know that they are getting the best possible value for their money.
Remember that in today’s market, clients take a far more independent role in the early stages of the buyer’s journey. They use the internet to research their pain points and find potential solutions. Instead of waiting for companies to come to them, they seek out brands that may be able to provide them with solutions.
From this process, clients look for businesses they feel they can trust. In fact, trust alone can be the most influential factor in the relationship between the buyer and the service provider.
Using B2B thought leadership on LinkedIn
‘66% of professionals said they would be more likely to recommend a company or brand if they followed a company executive on social media,’ says LinkedIn’s Executive Thought Leadership Quick Start Guide.
Establishing yourself as a thought leader is not an easy task. Clients want to work with companies and people they ‘know, like and trust’ and this trust can be built by demonstrating your knowledge and expertise.
Decision-makers within companies, big or small, are spending time reading and watching content online. Well-made content, that delivers a concise message, has the potential to influence how people view your brand and, crucially, their buying behaviour.
B2B Thought Leadership on LinkedIn can take the form of writing posts, articles, commenting on others content and sharing videos. Also, don’t forget to post from your personal and from your company’s profile as well.
Posting from your personal profile can boost your credibility rates and give you an authentic vibe, to which people can easily relate to. Yes, posting pics from your family holiday, talking about your latest business quests or sharing some curated wisdom that you liked, makes you look like the regular, normal person that you are.
People are reluctant by nature, so they tend to sometimes think that entrepreneurs or businessmen come from another planet that has nothing to do with the common one, that we all share. So our duty as entrepreneurs or businessmen of any kind is to prove the exact opposite. Posting from your personal profile gives you a chance to do that.
On the other, unlike your personal LinkedIn profile, your company page is publicly visible by default. This means that content shared from this page is ranked on the web – it impacts your brand’s SEO ranking. Share keyword-rich content from your company page frequently and in turn, you increase your firm’s presence on the web. Also, ensure that the Summary explanation of your company page includes plenty of relevant keywords so your page appears in LinkedIn’s search results.
Use your knowledge and experience to create content that answers your audience’s key questions. But don’t focus solely on that. Don’t be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and let your personality shine.
Put yourself in the mind of your audience – what can you share with them today that will be of service to them? It might be some business tip. But they could also use some motivational or inspirational post.
Tips on boosting your thought leadership game
Creating and sharing content on LinkedIn is essential to get the most out of the platform. Every piece of quality content you share opens up a new window of opportunity for you. An opportunity to be seen by your ideal prospects. No matter where in the client journey they are.
Content posted on LinkedIn should provide value to other users. It’s best if we think of other LinkedIn users as subscribers, and try to provide content that is relevant to the audience we want to reach.
To effectively leverage LinkedIn, it’s important to post on a regular basis. The thing is, the LinkedIn algorithm has two primary goals:
1. To prioritize relevant content, and
2. To promote engagement.
Algorithms rely on data to make predictions. So, if you’re not posting on a regular basis, the algorithm has fewer data to determine whether or not your content will be relevant or engaging. In which case, another user who posts more frequently will be more predictable and a safer bet.
There are two essential pillars when it comes to LinkedIn posting. They are extremely useful in complimenting your outreach campaign.
1. Business posts – These are the posts that are associated with your business and your area of expertise. And remember, we’re not trying to sell, but we’re aiming for providing value and building relationships. So the less promoting content, the better.
2. Personal posts – Even in the B2B world, at the end of the day, communication is being established and relationships are being built between people. People with unique personalities, opinions, values. After all, we are all people. We are not just business. So feel more than free to share that. Share your interests, hobbies, travels, fears, personal accomplishments.
And lastly, do not forget to post any of these stories regularly.
No matter how mind-blowing your content is, it won’t get you the engagement or the leads that you want if you post something occasionally.
Look at posting as a full-time job, not a hobby.
Optimise your profile
LinkedIn has raised to the occasion of being the best business social platform. Using LinkedIn can do wonders for your self-promotion and the promotion of your brand. It’s no longer the digital gathering place of job seekers only.
Now, it’s so much more.
Now really give your LinkedIn profile a good look. What does it say about you?
Here are some questions to ask yourself:
• Do you have an updated picture and appropriate background image?
• What about a strong headline that describes what you do?
• Is your summary reflective of yourself, the work that you desire and consider yourself an expert in?
Be extra careful here. Your summary is not your sales pitch.
• Does it have the right keywords that will help your potential clients find you?
• And how’s your posting? Do you share relevant content on regular basis? Do you like and comment on other people’s posts?
If you find yourself not having the answer to some of these questions, then your profile hasn’t been fully optimised. Make sure that you do that first and soon after you tick all of these boxes above, you can expect some real sweet leads.
Identify your target demographics
Who is your ideal client? Now go further: What kind of content do they want to consume? The C-suite will want different information than middle managers, and members of HR are going to be interested in different topics than those in marketing or finance. Learn to speak to your audience about what they are interested in, and do your best to use the terms that they would use when talking about the subject matter.
The more human you sound, the better. That’s why I am rumbling on and on about the importance of sharing valuable content from your personal profile.
If you are trying to establish yourself as a thought leader to boost the results of your outreach campaign then you probably have this step covered. You know who exactly can benefit the most from your solution and you know just how to find them. If you’ve skipped this step, then do go back. Dive into our comprehensive blog – The B2B Ideal Client Profile Blueprint.
But what if you defined your ideal target, and your acceptance rate is quite low? Well, if everything else is in perfect order (your LinkedIn profile, activity, and invitation message first and foremost) perhaps you need to look at a different target audience. Or perhaps you should narrow the target filter – by focusing on second-tier connections and people active in the past thirty days.
However, there are a few variables that you can’t control, and that you should take into consideration when analysing the acceptance rate. Like summer, religious or national holidays for instance.
And why is the acceptance rate important when it comes to B2B thought leadership?
Well, you can’t expect the right followers to simply start flowing in. You need to make more of those right connections. Connections are eager to consume your content.
Slay your content game
In our recent blog post, we stated the importance of regular posting on social platforms.
Posting regularly will increase your visibility and credibility and help you gain some authority in your field of expertise.
If you want to be a thought leader in any field, you need to be published. Being published is a huge “proof point” that shows your audience that you really are qualified to talk about your particular areas of expertise.
Publishing doesn’t necessarily mean you should write an actual book, and publish it. Though, it won’t hurt your reputation if you do so.
Once you’ve identified your target client and buyers, and done your due diligence on relevant competition, it’s time to create content.
Use the knowledge gained from your buyer and competitor research to build a content calendar for at least one month’s worth of content. Decide upon your cadence and stick to it. Organizing planned content in an editorial calendar ensures that you stay on task with regular publishing.
There are many things you can publish that can bring attention to you and your business.
Are you promoting a new service?
Great! Tell the world about it! Write a post, share some pictures and post them on social platforms.
There isn’t a better statement that you are constantly working and that your business and services are growing. That definitely means that you are doing something right, and believe me, people will want to hear more about it!
Also, do not shy away from posting about your personal success, too. You are human after all, and doing business it’s not what your whole world revolves around.
Went on a trip with your family?!
How cool, now let them read all about it.
Presenting yourself as human as possible creates a whole different aura about you, making it easier for people to relate to you.
Need to get people see you in another light? As a proven expert?
Say no more and start creating blog posts.
Blog posts are the most common assets to have on your web page or to share during the outreach sequence. Your marketing team can create articles that are highly targeted and specific. This will give some value to the potential prospect, which can, in turn, make them consider reaching out to you, responding to your campaign or can even influence their final buying decision.
Email newsletters go a long way, too.
If you have a strong newsletter (with a lot of content that adds value), you position yourself as the go-to person on the subject. So if they ever need something, you are the first person they will call. And that can be in a few weeks or a few months.
What’s important is that they are constantly in the know of your existence and work.
Consistency is key
You know what they say. Success isn’t always about greatness. It’s about consistency. Consistent hard work leads to success. Greatness will come.
Consistency is super important, especially for business people. Discipline in any form is the highest honour a self-respecting individual can bestow upon themselves. It’s characteristic of a mind that manoeuvres or controls the body (and not vice-versa), and of a heart that acts as the guiding light for the mind. Simply put, discipline is an exercise in consistency, which a self-respecting individual puts into practice in every aspect of their life. From waking up early to not eating outside, to maintaining work-life balance, self-discipline is the catalyst to true liberation and success.
As a business person, self-discipline must be at the heart of your character. It must lead and define how you spend your time and the quality of your life.
Having all this put, you probably see how discipline is important in creating B2B thought leadership.
Will a thought leader be an example to other people if they are not consistent?
Being constant and disciplined in your brand promotion, your self-adherence and posting religiously will put, and most importantly, keep you on the business map, and probably so, takes you a step ahead of your competition.
So, what are you waiting for?
Set a schedule for your content distribution. First, this requires knowing when your target demographic is on LinkedIn. The best thing to do here is to plan your posting. Have several posts on hold and post a different one every day.
Your copywriters (if you have any) can be of immense help here. They do a crazy-well job planning these things ahead. The bonus being saving some valuable time. The time you can use for some other activities that await you. We are sure you have a long list of them.
Also, you got to set some time aside to interact with your audience. Getting engagement is just winning the first step of the thought leadership and battle. Winning the whole war requires some more effort.
But don’t get discouraged. It’s worth it, so keep it going. What did we say? Consistency is key.
Bonus: Once you’ve done all of these things, start connecting with people. Give them context about why they should add you to their network. If you’re sharing updates and publishing articles, they may be more likely to connect with you.
Don’t forget that using LinkedIn effectively is not all about you. Sharing content shows your thought leadership but remember to spend time commenting on your network’s posts. Engage inside industry LinkedIn groups. Establishing your thought leadership is a two-way street. When someone comments on your content, respond to them.
Broadcasting B2B thought leadership on LinkedIn is like tooting your own horn.
Take no shame in posting about your achievements, nor about your business’s growth! Ask for recommendations and endorsements from your friends and colleagues so that they can be seen on your profile.
Sharing your insights and expertise is what will put you out there in the open. Regular posting of well-crafted content is like holding the ace in Blackjack.
The chances of you winning are at your side.
So, don’t hesitate to pull out the ace.
These might sound like the most obvious tips, but they are also the most important. To be a thought leader you must share your thoughts! Dig deep, write long-form, and share your expertise. Give detail to your industry and answer questions you predict in your business community. Motivate and inspire people. Don’t be afraid to show your true colours!
This all sounds simple — because it is!
The actions noted above are probably things you are already doing, but adding some structure and intentionality to them can make a big difference. Becoming a thought leader takes time and consistency. Building trust doesn’t happen overnight! There are so many benefits to being a thought leader and LinkedIn is a great place to start.
Don’t wait up! Start today!
Dancho is a serial entrepreneur, founder & CEO of BizzBee Solutions, proud father of two boys, and a ‘kafana’ enthusiast. He’s also the author of Amazon’s bestseller, ‘Sweet Leads.’ Dancho believes in building relationships with people and is inspired by growth. His ‘ZZ framework’ and formula for growth have brought 500+ clients the results they sought.
Eager to learn more? Follow Dancho on LinkedIn and Facebook.