For women looking to establish themselves as thought leaders, here’s how you can harness the power of social media.

“Social media is toxic”

“I feel lost with so many social media platforms and features”

“I do not understand the algorithms”

These are some of the most common struggles of professionals who want to leverage the power of social media for growth and branding. With social media’s primacy in our lives, it has become the most sought-after medium for establishing oneself as a thought leader.

When women are looking to establish themselves as thought leaders, it is essential to note that the focus needs to be on the value being provided to the audience rather than the ‘likes. Your opinion will matter only when you have gained trust and are a credible authority in your domain.

With that established, let’s look at six key strategies that can help you set yourself apart on social media and emerge as a thought leader as you climb up the professional ladder.

Find your voice and understand your audience

Before you plan your social media content, spend some time to introspect and find your voice. What is it that you want to share with people? How do you think you can benefit them? Why does this subject matter to you? How do you want to position yourself on social media? Who is your audience? The answers to these will largely determine the way forward in your social media journey. Gaining clarity on these factors will make it easier to choose the right platforms, plan posts and create useful content.

Create an appropriate profile

When you create your social media profile, ensure that it is complete and depicts important details about you as it is your identity online. Most people would look at your LinkedIn profile to understand your work profile. It is highly recommended to have an appropriate display picture, a catchy headline to describe yourself, and a relevant summary that reflects your interests, skills or other essential information.

Be consistent

It helps immensely to have a social media schedule instead of posting ad-hoc content. Consistency will gradually improve your account reach and your audience would also look forward to your posts on a certain day. Try to bring in variety in your content and maintain regularity. For example, it could be something as simple as writing an article every Monday, sharing something from your colleagues every Wednesday and thought-provoking videos every Friday.

Being authentic here is a responsibility. Namrata Sadhvani, a popular social media influencer from Hyderabad, rightly says, “It is very important that as content creators we remain true to ourselves, our ideas and our beliefs, so that we don't intentionally or unintentionally misplace the trust that our followers have placed in us. Our online personas should be consistent with who we are as individuals offline - only then can we have meaningful impact and really make a difference!”

Be a conversation starter

We tend to jump on the bandwagon to follow trends, but a thought leader should be a conversation-starter. Take a stand on issues or kick-start a discussion on any pertinent topic. Your uniqueness should be evident in your profile and that comes through when you take charge and lead the way for others. This helps establish trust and results in people looking up to you as a credible voice on social media.

Do not try to analyze algorithms

Often, many of us try to figure out how the social media algorithms work to get better engagement. Rather than puzzling over these, take decisions based on how the audience is reacting to your posts.

Engagement ought to be viewed as a two-way street. It is not just about likes, re-shares or comments. It is about connections and dialogues. How you engage with your audience is as important as how they respond to you. Directing efforts towards qualitative aspects of engagement bears fruit in the long run.

Find synergy and network

Social media is a great virtual place to network and connect with like-minded individuals. Be a part of events or initiatives where you find synergy. Collaborating expands your reach and opens new avenues for you to grow in your line of work.

Join groups to learn and share; however, be careful to not over promote your work on LinkedIn groups. The intention is not to come across as a ‘seller’. Rather, share exciting content to initiate enriching discussions and make it an inspiring experience.

Each of us has a unique relationship with social media and there is no one way to go about creating a strong footprint to enhance your career. It requires experimentation and discovering things along the way, while keeping in mind the pointers shared above. Giving oneself time, having a long-term perspective, and sharing quality content will get you there!

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