Over the past week at BrandMatters we have been working with three clients from vastly different industry sectors (or, more accurately, two clients and one supplier) all facing similar challenges: how can I develop the content I need to present my organisation as an industry thought leader? How can I use thought leadership to generate tangible leads and sales? And what role does social media play in this process?
When delivered effectively, thought leadership and lead nurturing build trust and credibility in your brand. By sharing information you can position yourself as a trusted advisor and increase your likelihood of being part of the consideration set when it comes time to purchase or engage.
Trevor Young lists eight things senior executives can be doing right now to generate content and humanise their brands for 2013. He discusses the importance of growing relationships and trust over time as opposed to winning clients from a one-off YouTube sensation or overnight increase in Facebook fans. BrandMatters would also add the following three pieces of advice:
1) The most important thing is to get started with small, consistent steps.
2) Lead nurturing through thought leadership is a slow burn: you’ll build relationships and trust over time but you’ll simultaneously be nurturing a long-term sales pipeline and building tangible and valuable piece of IP for your organisation.
3) For the first six months pick the two channels you are most comfortable with and focus on building those channels well. For some people that might involve a blog and LinkedIn, others might be more comfortable with Twitter and Facebook. After six months you can consider adding a third channel, if you feel it will add value for your business.
4) Identify the expert in your organisation and set them to work on the challenge.
According to marketing software company Marketo, nurtured leads ‘buy more, require less discounting, and have shorter sales cycles’ – and those are clients every business needs more of.