Thought leadership initiatives require social media platforms in order to succeed, according to a 2015 article in Law Practice Today by Guy Alvarez, founder and CEO of Good2bSocial, and Lee Garfinkle, chief marketing and business development officer of the Americas at Allen & Overy LLP.
They explain that a thought leader is someone whose views on a subject are recognized as a major influence in their field. But they note that in the internet age, access to useful information is easy to access, making the achievement of thought leadership more difficult. Thought leaders, they explain, should also seek to actively and consistently understand their client’s businesses and the challenges they face.
Owned social media channels also important to achieving thought leadership status
Alvarez and Garfinkle underscore the importance of harnessing not only social media channels like Twitter and LinkedIn to both publish and engage, but the need to utilize owned channels like a firm blog. This permits firms wishing to achieve thought leadership status access to data on readers which can then be utilized to improve thought leadership efforts, as well as for business development purposes.
While Twitter and LinkedIn can be utilized to broadcast, engage and collect market research on existing and prospective clients, they will not provide the depth and breadth of information an owned blog will. The digital marketing and social marketing ecosystem created by a digital thought leadership platform, they explain, will with time and perseverance lead you to a thought leadership position in your industry.
Integrating thought leadership social media with business development
Integrating thought leadership social media efforts with your business development strategy is vital. As Liz Cerasuolo, Stefanie Marrone and Gina F. Rubel advise in a recent article on Law.com: “Develop a lead-focused content strategy” in order to effectively convert prospective clients into new clients. This includes placing calls to action in your thought leadership articles, funneling inbound new leads into your business development team and working closely with them to create thought leadership they can use in their engagement with prospective clients.
Plan for the challenge of producing consistent thought leadership content
It’s also vital to consider the time commitment required to publish regular, thought-provoking, and client-centric thought leadership. To do this, firms need to work with a professional writer capable of not only articulating your ideas in writing to your key audiences, while also helping you adhere to ambitious publishing goals (e.g. four blogposts per month). Most professional writers who focus on marketing as a niche are also often very capable of assisting you adopt and manage all the relevant social media channels you may need to create the all-inclusive digital platform Alvarez and Garfinkle recommend.
5 examples of thought leadership effectively integrated with social media
With all this in mind it’s important to consider who already appears to be working toward perfecting these efforts in their own industry niches in various parts of the world. While there are many examples of what might be considered excellent digital thought leadership platforms, I’ve selected 5 which you may wish to emulate (and perhaps you know of others you’ve already contemplated emulating). Each is not only utilizing its’ own blog, but is also active on important social media channels to distribute content and engage with key audiences:
- UPS Longitudes – As United Parcel Service explains: “UPS created this blog as a forum to share not just our thoughts and views on the trends reshaping the global economy, but those of the true thought leaders in topics ranging from trade to transportation, ecommerce to emerging markets, Big Data to … well, whatever the future holds.” View it here: https://longitudes.ups.com/
- World Economic Forum — As the BBC reported in 2016— in the past few years – WEF has gone from opposition to social media use – to a highly active and successful example of its’ best use. Read a more extensive description of their social media success here. And view their site here: https://www.weforum.org/.
- Interel – Interel is “an integrated global public affairs and association management consultancy…with offices in Washington, Brussels, London, Paris, Berlin, Beijing & New Delhi, along with [a] worldwide network of affiliate firms.” View their blog here: https://interelgroup.com/blog/
- Corporate Finance Associates is an investment banking firms serving middle-market companies in North America. Their blog is located here: http://www.cfaw.com/blog/
- King & Wood Malleson’s China Law Insight – This multinational law firm with a substantial China mainlaind presence blogs in both English and Chinese on their blog, located here: https://www.chinalawinsight.com/
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