Thought leaders command respect both online and off. When you are perceived as an industry expert, your opinions help shape others’ thinking and motivate them to take action. There’s often a feeling that this type of leadership takes decades to attain – but that’s not necessarily true.
By managing your efforts wisely, you can grow into an industry expert in a fraction of the time others have taken.
The more you know about an industry, the easier it will be for you to discover prospects’ pain points and connect them with effective products. Plus, you’ll build your personal brand and add gravitas to your own business and those you partner with. Industry expertise is particularly important in compliance-driven B2B sectors, but can benefit anyone. For example, customers in B2C industries often look for industry expertise when choosing between otherwise similar offerings.
Let’s consider some of the most efficient ways to develop your expertise:
Contribute to Online Forums
No matter what industry you practice in, there are hundreds or even thousands of online forums dedicated to your area of expertise. LinkedIn provides a wealth of “LinkedIn Groups” where your colleagues are continuously asking questions and sharing insights. By maintaining a presence on sites like LinkedIn, Quora, and Reddit, among others, you can share the knowledge you’ve cultivated and become a trusted source that others look to when they feel challenged.
Leverage Social Media Networks
Social media networks like Facebook and Twitter are increasingly being used as platforms for industry thought leadership. Using industry-specific hashtags, you can quickly attract attention from experts, mentors, and eager audiences. Social media is particularly helpful because it can be used to drive traffic to your own blog or company website. This, in turn, helps you develop business relationships proactively and potentially even find clients in your space.
Join Trade Associations & Take Speaking Opportunities
Joining trade associations is often a simple matter of verifying your relevant experience and then paying dues every year. However, letting these memberships sit idle deprives you of some easy ROI. Industry organizations provide a wealth of opportunities for entrepreneurs, executives, and emerging leaders to speak before audiences who are especially eager to grow and develop professionally. This kind of engagement can lead to mutually beneficial business partnerships.
There might be thousands of top experts in your field already, but there is always room for one more: You. By making a commitment to develop leadership and demonstrate it to others, you can empower your business with stronger branding and drive more opportunities to your door. Although leadership takes time and effort to be considered an industry expert, once established, it works to amplify all your sales and marketing initiatives in the future.