Where to start: How Can In-House Marketers Leverage Social Media for Their Thought Leaders?

Have you ever tried to catch your shadow? You twist and turn, but the shadow keeps pace with you. I know a few people who can do that, too.

It takes time, but skilled internal marketers understand how to shadow their business leaders. You anticipate needs, accommodate schedules, minimize disasters, coax ideas and frame business strategies.

Now you have a new challenge to conquer: helping your leaders leverage their individual and collective online presence.  This is especially tricky since your “client” may not have the time (or desire!) to start or join a conversation. The logical solution is potentially uncomfortable – the “shadow” has to step into the sunlight. You need to establish your own digital presence.

This feels uncomfortable for many, but you have both an opportunity and an obligation to help pave the way.

  1. Understand that this activity is an extension of what you are already doing…establishing and building the company brand
  2. You can’t ignore the “social” in social media…and it’s entirely possible that your thought leader wants to
  3. As a marketer, you can’t afford to sit on the sidelines. Your counsel depends on intimately understanding  opportunities and challenges in this landscape

So where do you start?

  • Identify 3 Google Analytics benchmarks from your site: Share them with your thought leaders to help them focus on an achievable traffic objective. Aggressively gauge how the traffic changes.
  • Develop a warning system: Use Google Alerts, Addictomatic, RSS of competitor blog feeds, Backtype and Board Tracker for your firm’s keywords. Note: marketing teams must divide and conquer this responsibility.
  • Monitor existing conversation and turn it into actionable insight: Social Mention can help you listen. What’s being said now? Does it benefit your sector? How can it help your thought leader advance his or her cause?
  • Bulk up your own presence on LinkedIn: It’s not just a pile of resumes, it’s a living set of contacts that are pre-disposed towards your colleague’s content. Look beyond your personal connections to identify Q&A’s and relevant groups. Learn what matters to them. Reach out and engage, using your key words as an entry “trigger.” Incorporate that intelligence into your marketing strategy.
  • Establish your own Twitter feed – a company Twitter feed is not enough: Recent stats indicate that Twitter users share more than almost any other community. But most are more likely to respond to a person who engages. Your boss may not have time to tweet, so you’ll have to compensate for that with your own tweeting.
  • Comment on Influencer blogs in your sector: You may need to jump start attention for your thought leader. If you feel uncomfortable making a comment yourself, don’t let that deter you from methodically reviewing blogs for opportunities for others to comment. This is the single most important way to build traffic for your company’s blog and/or website.
  • Understand if your links resonate: Bitly and Tweetreach make this easy. Now take the time to compare and contrast what kinds of content yield a higher response from your audience. Regularly share your findings with your business line leaders.
  • Measure your success: New dashboards like Swix offers unified social media metrics like blog traffic, subscribers, Facebook fans, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers. This is also the easiest way to quickly give a leader a snapshot of activity.
  • Make it easy on yourself: Nutshell Mail brings your social media activity to you in a handy email that saves your time for other projects. Feedera shows you what content matters most to your friends and/or audience.

It’s a battle for most internal marketing leaders to develop a personal brand. But, last time I checked, shadows look best in direct sunlight.

To reach Elizabeth:

Phone:  212.840.0017
Email: elizabeth@blisspr.com
Twitter: @elizabethsosnow
LinkedIn: Elizabeth Sosnow