By Brianne Miller, Senior Counselor
Traditionally, speaking opportunities and panel discussions have always served as cornerstones of any thought leadership program. Participating in a “live” discussion allows the audience to get a better feel for the speaker’s personality – not to mention the ample opportunities for networking before and after the event. How do you build a successful program when face-to-face interactions are severely limited at best? Here are a few ways to make that virtual, firm handshake still a reality even during a pandemic.
Use the power of the written word
Nothing against the 8th Zoom conference of the day, but sometimes the very idea of another virtual meeting is enough to make eyes roll. Instead, start with bylined articles, blog posts, Medium channels and op-eds. Get your opinion out there in a controlled way and always remember to read the comments for feedback.
Meet one on one
The plethora of conferences and confabs that have popped up like dandelions over the past 15 years has shifted focus from those all-important one-on-one relationships. Just because you can’t have that “power breakfast” or meet up for drinks, it doesn’t mean industry influencers don’t want to hear from you. A simple phone call (remember the phone?) inquiring about someone’s well-being is enough to start a conversation about a subject for which you’re passionate.
Be consistently social
Yes, social media is a powerful thought leadership tool, but the adage (reach + frequency = impact) still applies. Find the one or two soapboxes that reach your audience. For example, if you’re a supplier to the health care industry, LinkedIn trumps Instagram. Conversely, if you run an art gallery, Instagram is clearly more important than LinkedIn. Create a calendar of content each month and post consistently a few times a week. If there’s news in your industry, post more frequently. The point is that after a while, viewers/followers will expect to hear from you on your chosen subject. Be authentic, be yourself.
How do you stay in touch with industry movers/shakers during the pandemic? Let me know in the comments – and stay safe!
6 Ways to Be More Authentic on Social Media by Gary Vaynerchuk