Thought leadership is nothing new but is increasingly gaining businesses’ attention for three main reasons. Employees are becoming the key to humanising the corporate brand, it is an opportunity to differentiate by engaging and influencing niche networks and micro-segments as well as businesses are increasingly prioritizing social media both in time and resources.
With thought leadership businesses can gain a unique position by differentiating by focusing on employees’ expertise and not only brand itself on premium products. This is an opportunity to influence and engage with networks and reach our to highly specific target audiences. Thought leadership is more than just having an opinion, it is a position that you earn through knowledge sharing and expertise.
On two occasions in May, Sociuu presented the opportunities within thought leadership. The audience all agreed that there is a great unexploited thought leadership potential among their colleagues. However, there is a difference in maturity stages and generally there is a push from employees ‘just’ to have the mandate to increase activities on social media. The push comes, as more and more see how social media is benefiting their work both internally and when engaging with prospects and customers.
Employee advocacy increases engagement
Michael Sørensen, CEO, illustrated how employee advocacy increases engagement and relevance and the importance of keeping it simple by having a tool that taps into employees daily workflow. This was followed by Josephine Eilersen, sales executive, and her experience with organising thought leadership and employee advocacy programmes.
Why take a thought leadership position?
Edelman Trust Barometer show that we are more likely to trust and relying on employees’ recommendations than traditional branding and marketing. Even the CEO’s trust is decreasing, according to Edelman. They especially underline that technical experts’ trust is increasing and it is their expertise that is the foundation for thought leadership. There can not be thought leadership without expertise - talking about our field your strengthen your professional and personal brand that positively reflect on the corporate brand.
Do we need a plan?
A plan can be necessary to ensure buy-in from stakeholders and can be used as mandate. Often, most thought leaders are already thought leaders or have the ambition to be. However, a plan includes mapping active and passive thought leaders and rank them according to maturity stages. You also have to know whom you are completing against and knowing competitors’ activities you can differentiate and finding your unique position; outline the target audience, networks and groups; Then you have to localise or (re)produce content and outlining KPIs and expectations.
Having a plan sets the direction and makes it possible to report on the results. Especially on social media, where accounts are private, companies can support thought leaders with key priorities, create a internal community around the thought leaders case and increase engagement by expanding their social reach.
Thought leadership does not have to be difficult but it takes time. No-one becomes a thought leader overnight, it takes persistence and a steady content flow. A consistent presence is necessary and thought leaders have to be active on several parameters: on earned, owned and paid media channels.
Let’s get in touch to help you start a successful employee advocacy and thought leadership programme. Request a personal employee advocacy and Sociuu demonstration.