In thought leadership, which comes first: the brand or the people? It's not a chicken-and-egg situation! The answer is always people. You inspire and invest in your employees, and the word spreads. Those people act as ambassadors for the brand, building a strong org reputation — and that brings in customers. In order to understand where this power cycle starts, I’ve invited Zoe Bermant
, the CEO at ZoecialMedia
, creator of the Caroself ™, and an expert in organic social media for B2B. While many believe that the brand needs to be the focus of an organization's social media, Zoe explains that the power in organizational thought leadership comes from the people who work for the company. Thought leadership is about creating a human aspect within a business relationship; moving interactions beyond data and white papers, and sharing meaningful interactions. By elevating your people, you create passionate ambassadors for your brand, and create an online presence that is credible, trustworthy, and relatable - and that brings in more customers! Learn why Zoe recommends starting this cycle at the executive level, and how doing so can create a culture of engagement both internally and externally. When executives interact with employees (and customers) online in a direct and meaningful manner, it helps build genuine relationships. This bolsters new sales, employee retention, and even talent recruitment. Great ideas can spark from anywhere, even a simple typo. Zoe shares how she mistyped "caroself" in a message to a coworker (instead of "carousel") and came up with a brilliant new idea. Using the pdf carousel function of LinkedIn, Zoe made a document that humanized her work experience, letting people know where she grew up, went to school, and even her likes and dislikes - and she called it the Caroself™. She then tagged others, and challenged them to do the same. Before long the idea had spread to thousands of users who saw the benefit of giving the world a deeper look into their personalities, and move their career prospects forward by going beyond the professional persona. We wrap up our conversation discussing women in thought leadership. Zoe works with hundreds of executives, and has seen a trend of women being overly timid about sharing their insights. Many incredibly insightful female leaders don't promote themselves through thought leadership - and they should! The chat explores why that trend continues, and gives suggestions around how to encourage others to take control of their power and seize the opportunities thought leadership presents. The world needs more great ideas! Three Key Takeaways: * The cycle of "invest in your people - let them be ambassadors for your brand - build your brand reputation - engage more new customers" is powerful, and it's one that more organizations should use. * You can't rely on a random algorithm to get the word out. You have to actively seek out and build relationships, sharing things about yourself (or your org) and creating a human connection in order to succeed. * When cultivating your social media profile, it's beneficial to ensure that personal stories still relate to your expertise or experience in a professional sense. Don't forget to show your strengths!