I learned early on in social media that the easiest way to position yourself as an authority, expert or thought leader in any field is to share the content of other experts who have many more years experience and knowledge than you. We’re all consuming online articles, blogs and content every day and our job as the audience/reader/consumer is to share the content that we find most interesting or relevant to our “audience” – all the friends and co workers and communities we’ve connected with online.
Gain Credibility By Giving Credit
Most bloggers and digital media offer their content, expertise and experience for free, so that if you find it interesting or agree with it you’ll share it with your community. The experts recognize this valuable dynamic and show their appreciation for your spreading their message by bringing you even more into their community and social circle, so you feel supported and encouraged to share more, even more easily and consistently. This strategy is one of the techniques I have used to become known to important industry people and social media experts like Mari Smith, Gary Vaynerchuk, Michael Gass, Mitch Joel, CC Chapman and others > I frequently update my communities by sharing links to their videos, speaking engagements, books, blog posts, webinars and more.
Even more important to recognize is that since we’re all learning through trial and error, and social media is always changing, none of us has the same expertise so you can use this activity of sharing relevant content to connect to new people who are at the same level/place as you and those who are just getting started when you’re starting to feel like a bit of an expert. Everyone has something they’re good at that you can learn by observing their activities, engaging them in conversation and sharing their content when they make a contribution that you appreciate. You can teach them to share your content by setting the example and they will feel good about getting to know you as an “expert” because you’ve recognized their good work. No matter how much of an expert you are, always remember there will always be people who can teach you at every level.
When I was just starting to learn social media, to the people in my community who knew that I was just getting into it (from traditional media), from my consistent sharing of what I was learning & reading, they learned to trust that I was curating the best social media expert content for them, and not claiming credit myself for the content created by others.
No matter what your job is, you are an expert at something. If your expertise isn’t built in to be a part of your brand, then it probably should be or you’re likely to feel the social recourse of being incongruent with your brand (people like to trust they know what you stand for). The easiest and fastest way to develop your personal brand is to share the industry and professional articles you read online, to build an audience of professional colleagues on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, YouTube and possibly even Pinterest and Foursquare.
The trick is to be able to share the content you find quickly and so easily that it seems like you are virtually immersed in it 24/7/365. You could spend hours poring over content and on your social channels to find intelligent content to share, or you could just build sharing of the best content you read into your everyday schedule of activities.
Special websites, tools and toolbar buttons (omnipresent on your browser window toolbar, no matter where you go on the web); each of these tools will help you appear and become an expert even if you’re just beginning:
- TBUZZ – shorten links and Tweet them out
- Bit.ly & sidebar – shorten links and share to a pre-defined and changeable set of social streams including facebook profile, page and Twitter streams
- Pin it – Pin content, links and video (for viewing right in Pinterest)
- Share on Facebook – share any web page to your facebook profile or any page you manage, without manually logging/falling into facebook!
- +1 – publicly give Goolge, and people you are connected to online, information about the websites you like the most and recommend (your name will show up beside the link in search results)
- Tweetchat.com – participate in times, themed twitter chats without having to remember to put in the #hashtag with every tweet or retweet. Tweetchat.com aggregates the conversation to show you ONLY the tweets with the hashtag you want (no external “noise”) and participating in chats is one of the best ways to grow your Twitter community and individual relationships.
- Big tweetchat schedule – see when all the regular tweetchats are scheduled to happen, so you can plan your schedule around Twitter! Post your own Tweetchat if you have one, but check back regularly for unauthorized edits or people taking over links as frequently happens with this oversized public Google doc.
- Fakers.statuspeople.com – If someone tries to sell you media space or offers “publicity” and they tell you they are an expert at building media channels or they have a large following on Twitter, put their @TwitterName through this tool to see how many of their followers are really people, not purchased bots!
- Editz this – drag the logo to your toolbar and offer editing advice (grammar and typos, not style) to any website or blog on the web. After registering, just drag and drop their logo from the upper left side of the page into your toolbar. With so many newcomers to English content creation, if it is your first language you have a lot of valuable insight to offer.
If you’re like me and find that writing and building your blog posts on your WordPress dashboard is difficult, slow and distracting, you can compose them in a more focused environment like Google Docs which has the added benefit of being cloud-based and giving you access to your document in-progress from any internet connected device anytime you are inspired. To compile together article links for later use in blog posts, I like to use Google Docs & Google Drive that allow me to easily collaborate live with other people and contributors all over the world, without having to share & track multiple versions of a document.
Once you’ve written, curated and edited your content, and posted it to your blog, you can then use all the same tools recommended above for sharing other expert’s content to share your own content to your social media communities and other communities of other people who might be interested. A great way to build community is to link to other experts in your content and then share your post to their community, both letting them know about it and sharing it with their audience in a single action.
I’ve always said that social media is about reciprocity and leading by example. If you want people to share your content and blog about you, you have to start by sharing a lot of their content and including them in your blogs posts. If you want people to comment on your blogs, have a blog commenting strategy of your own and become known for your frequent insightful, helpful and complimentary comments on their blog posts. The same goes for Facebook likes, comments and shares; Twitter favorites and Retweets, G+ shares and even Hangout on Air attendees > you’ve got to give, in order to get.
What are your favorite tools for curating or sharing content that save you time and help make other people look good?
Want my take on your blogging, social media or business challenge? Leave a comment below, email me at debbie@theSparkleAgency.com or request to join my Wednesday 8pm weekly meetup on Google+ Hangouts on Air by sending me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org