1 – Thought Leadership Planning

Thought and Opinion Leadership Platform as a Subject Matter Expert

Thought and Opinion Leadership Platform as a Subject Matter Expert requires careful preparation and planning before implementation.

Principle 1 – Have a Purpose and a Plan on a Platform of Thought Leadership

SocialCone15 Because It’s Sound Business Planning – Everything Must Be in Alignment

So many fail with their Thought Leadership efforts with Social Marketing because they fail to properly plan and then execute components of their marketing according to their overall plan. With social media marketing people get caught up in the hype, “hey, we need to do social marketing”, run forward with stuff, only to realize they are “jumping into the deep end of the pool but without being taught how to swim”.

A business coach, Mark Bryan, of Focused Results, taught me over the years the need for planning and putting all business decisions into alignment with the plan. Mark states, “The interrelationships of processes and people within your business are important elements in determining overall success. Without the alignment of your Vision, Mission, Values, Goals, and Policies, the result will be products and services that no one wants. Alignment shapes your organization’s future and its level of success. Or you can leave it all to chance. The choice is yours. Remember, success in today’s changing business climate depends on your ability to reinvent yourself!

A sound purpose and plan is based on your vision of the future and the ultimate purpose of your plan. If you don’t know where you’re going, how will you know when you get there? Your vision will keep you on track.

Values state how your organization conducts business and is the basis upon which decisions will be made. They are your ethical foundation that will guide your actions. Your social marketing endeavors will embrace these elements because they say who you are.”

This is the essence of what Principle 1 is all about. From the solopreneur, entrepreneur, small business to the gi-gundo (I made that word up) Fortune 100 companies, Mark’s words hold true.

SocialCone15The Purpose of Thought Leadership and Social Media Marketing 

People use social media for fun, to communicate with family and friends, to entertain, to research and become informed. But for business, social media marketing, like all other business initiatives needs to be in alignment with a company’s already established marketing plan. This would include following their documented mission, vision, and values statements. Within the company’s product and services sales goals, Social Media Marketing will have the explicit result of increasing sales. What makes Social Media Marketing most effective is when it is developed with a clear sense of the company’s MyPOD (My Point of Difference) Unique Selling Proposition (USP) and Value Proposition. Once the latter have been defined one needs to establish themselves as a Thought Leader on that subject by effecting people’s thinking, influencing their decisions to engage and acquire the Thought Leaders proposition.

SocialCone15The Thought Leader as an Opinion Leader

Being opinionated has a negative connotation.  And in this sense an Opinion Leader could also have that inference.  However, other sources recognize the Opinion Leader for who (s)he is worth and their value.  As examples.

In the field of Social Science the opinion leader concept arose from Paul Felix Lazarsfeld (February 13, 1901 – August 30, 1976) who was one of the major figures in 20th-century American sociology. The opinion leader is the agent who is an active media user and who interprets the meaning of media messages or content for lower-end media users. Typically the opinion leader is held in high esteem by those that accept his or her opinions. Opinion leadership tends to be subject specific, that is, a person that is an opinion leader in one field may be a follower in another field.

 According to Answers.com: An opinion leader is an individual whose ideas and behavior serve as a model to others. Opinion leaders communicate messages to a primary group, influencing the attitudes and behavior change of their followers. Therefore, in certain marketing instances, it may be advantageous to direct the communications to the opinion leader alone to speed the acceptance of an advertising message. Because of the important role opinion leaders play in influencing markets, advertisers have traditionally used them to give testimonials.

 Value Proposition and Point of Difference

SocialCone15 A company’s Point of Difference (POD) and Value Proposition around their product of service, are the key components for establishing a strong leadership position. Operating under the Seven Foundation Principles, through extensive research, preparation and planning we will create your “Sound Purpose and Plan on a Platform of Opinion Leadership“. This first foundation principle is the basis for operating and communicating your marketing message across all the other foundation principles.

Many promote Unique Selling Proposition (USP), the one thing that separates one company’s products and services from another, the defining reasons differentiating one from the other, as a primary focus. As true as this is, starting with the Value Proposition is much better. Rather than on the products and services themselves the Value Proposition emphasizes the benefits to the customer, client or recipient. Once the Value is appreciated then the Unique Selling Proposition can come into play. Therefore, the thought leader will focus attention on the Customer Value of his / her product / service proposition.

Customer Life Time Value (LTV)

SocialCone15 The Life Time Value (LTV) analysis will become instrumental in establishing Social Media Marketing success milestones and customer loyalty programs.

According to Bob Mutzl, Chief Marketing Officer of Suncoast Marketing in his Customer Life Time Value Worksheet,Know Thy Customer! It’s Critical. Being able to identify the value of an average customer is a critical component toward establishing a vital business benchmark. In reality, Life Time Value (“LTV”) is the “holy grail” of true and accurate business analysis. It is used to measure the impact and effectiveness of the marketing plan as well as tracking ROI (Return on Investment). Establishing LTV can range from simple formulas using available accounting data to very a sophisticated process including detailed marketing research, business accounting analysis and economic formulas.

Establishing a Company Policy Statement

Whether it’s an employee’s responsibility to be utilizing the social media platforms or not, it should be expected they WILL be involved with social media on the outside in their private lives. How they present themselves online to the public can affect the company image. In this regards companies need to establish Social Media Guidelines. The Intel Corporation’s Social Media Guidelines is a great example to follow.

From the personal side, when someone is using social media, remember that companies will review your social media activities. So it’s a good idea to watch what you say and post.

Now Take Nike’s Advertising Campaign and “Just Do It”

Up to a certain point continued analysis can be paralyzing, validating the saying “paralysis by analysis”. With a solid Purpose and a Plan on a Platform of Thought Leadership, the core objectives in place, one now needs to be ready to go. Get out there and “Just Do It”. Get started. Do something. Measure and identify what works and do it more. What fails and throw it out. However, to be able to make the right informed decisions we need to establish metric and analytic goals. This is because, amidst this whole plan is the fact that doing the right things work.

Follow Up Social Marketing Research Articles and Blogs to Come

Social Marketing

  •  What is the origin of “Social” Marketing and how did is first begin?
  • Why is Social Marketing different than Social Media Marketing?
  • How can we use this understanding to become effective in our Social Media Marketing?

 Social Media Marketing

  •  Why selling in our social marketing will backfire on us.
  •  How SMM is like running a marathon.

The Thought Leadership

  • How does one become a Thought Leader?
  • What is a Thought Leadership Plafform and how do we use it to role out our social marketing  campaigns?
  • How the Thought Leader communicates through their regular blog posts?
  • How to make blogging part of your Thought Leadership Platform.

 Listening and Following

  • What is the difference?
  • Would you want someone to follow or listen to you?
  • Do you want to follow or listen to others?
  • How to inspire others to listen.

 Creating Conversation

  •  With all the modern technology, how do we capture the lost “Art of Conversation”.
  • Act like a “Social Dignitary” and improve our conversations and conversion process.
  • What are (k)noty words, what is the downside to using them and how do we change our language to prevent using them?
  • What is the difference between having a Casual Conversation and being Persuasive in our Thought Leadership so it converts into business?

 More Points

  • What is Relevance in Marketing Communications, why is this important and how do we craft our communications with Relevance in mind?
  • Why is everyone’s favorite radion station WII-FM and how do we keep it tune?
  • Why can picking up the telephone to talk to someone be better than an email communication.
  • What are some ways to get in front of people physically (WOM) and how to maximize this exposure so we can extend the effectiveness of our proposition?
  • The Knowing, Liking and Trusting process, where knowing is first, has become a popular way to describe the development process of business relationships. Why do we say “Liking” is the preferred objective to start with?

    Contact Ed Woods for further information on this topic.

    Links to the Seven Principles of Social Marketing  1234567