If you lead, it's important to have a point of view. To develop and share thoughts about your profession, your industry and your market. An expert knows something, a thought leader is someone who is known for knowing something. I am big on ensuring leaders are thought leaders.
What are you known for, what is your point of view and how do you share that?
When it comes to building a brand, I think you are better to build it less on your brags about where you are or what you are doing, and more around your ideas and insights. Eleanor Roosevelt once said ‘Small minds discuss people, average minds discuss things and great minds discuss ideas.’ Your personal brand should be built on what you know, not the fact that you bought a ticket to a Richard Branson event and got a photo with him.
This is one of the reasons great thinkers struggle to get into social media, personal branding and self-promotion. It stinks of narcissism. The antidote is to share a point of view, not a cat video. Chris Anderson, the Curator of TED, unpacks his thoughts on how great ideas make great TED talks (a really good bit of personal branding by the way).
An expert knows something, a thought leader is someone who is known for knowing something.
It looks like Facebook is here to stay in one form or another. One instant we are Snapchatting away only to immediately be distracted by Instagram, we Facebook our lives (well, old people do) and we tweet the news in real time, even the Fake News.
So ‘Social’ is a thing; what's it for and how do you use it as a thought leader?
It seems that the purpose of Facebook is to show your friends how awesome your life is and how they should be ‘totes’ envious of your dog, vacation, partner, bestie, workplace, etc. As an aside, Tim Urban from Wait But Why posted a hilarious piece on what’s wrong with Facebook. It caused a bit of controversy when I shared it with my Facebook community.
Your personal brand should be built on what you know.
Here are my three big ideas around social media:
What social media platform should I use?
Meet them where they hang out (i.e. it’s not about you it's about your audience).
How do I make money from Social?
Build a relationship, not a sale.
What do I share?
The rest of this talking point will explore the answer to this, the hardest of the three questions.
So here’s the thing: as a leader, you need a presence on Social, but it should be built on developing and sharing insights, ideas and points of view.
So why don't people do this?
I think most feel they need to have some genius epiphany to share it. So they wait for the epiphany. And they wait and wonder why it doesn’t come. To create a unique point of view, you have to first immerse yourself in a body of work and then apply some specific thinking skills.
Be someone who attributes great thinkers as you build your insight and points of view. Referencing others makes your thinking look stronger.
Here is a simple, 5-step process you can apply to develop a point of view; building your ideas on the shoulders of giants.
Pick a school of thought, a domain of expertise or an area of interest.
Collect and curate the points of view that others have and begin to post them as if the owner of an art gallery. Pinterest and Instagram are really good for this.
Begin to raise the profile of the people who do some great thinking in your area by sharing what they know to the world. Propagate their ideas and make them the people you follow, share and like. Twitter is good for this.
Begin to join the dots between one idea and the next. By linking ideas and reaching your own observable conclusion you are aggregating and synthesising your ideas from the ideas that exist out there already. YouTube is a good place for this. Check out these examples:
Having done these previous four steps for a while, you will notice new ideas begin to emerge. You will, if you build the thinking habit, develop original and useful points of view. These become your LinkedIn posts and your publications.
In closing, your ideas need to be built on the shoulders of giants. Be someone who attributes great thinkers as you build your insight and points of view. Referencing others makes your thinking look stronger.
Ironically, the poster child quote about building upon the work of others, Isaac Newton’s ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’, is itself just a re-expression in English of something attributed to a 12th century French philosopher, Bernard of Chartres, who likened the scholars of his time to dwarves perched on the shoulders of giants, the ancient scholars of Greece and Rome, who were able to see more and further than the latter because of the thinking that they had already shared.
Here is my take, in general, on some of the platforms:
- Facebook is for people you know and have met
- Twitter is for curating and propagating cool stuff
- LinkedIn is for publishing (it’s your new professional blog space)
- Instagram is for your tribe
- Snapchat is for the attention deficit (and is not your priority)
- Pinterest is a place for pigeonholing your interests of area of expertise
Your challenge is that they start to mash and mix; Facebook Live is an attempt to leverage the Snapchat phenomenon but just because a feature gets added, I am not sure you should be using it.
And here are my role- or identity-specific suggestions:
If you are a corporate executive
- LinkedIn is your home
- Twitter is your voice
- Facebook is for family and friends only
If you are a thought leader
- LinkedIn is your blog
- Twitter is your share
- Facebook is for family and friends
- Facebook is for your network
- Facebook page is for your fans
If you are an entrepreneur
- LinkedIn is for your peers
- Facebook is for your family and friends
- Twitter is for customer service, complaints and resolutions
- Pinterest and Instagram are for your products and brand control