When you start a new business, it’s common to look for ways to position yourself as an influencer in your niche. To succeed in any industry, you need to prove your worth as a leader who offers value to your community.

But what is a thought leader? In recent years, the term has become a buzzword used for marketers and business owners to assert dominance in their field. However, that doesn’t take away from its importance.

A thought leader is someone with skills, expertise, and experience in a specific area. Their knowledge is widely sought after and respected as 26 percent of people join memberships to learn more about their industry’s best practices. This makes them great at generating leads, building consumer relationships, and producing conversions.

Though it won’t happen overnight, becoming an industry leader doesn’t have to be difficult. Here are three ways to position yourself as a thought leader in your niche.

Share High-Quality Content for Free

There’s a reason why 81 percent of leaders put content at the core of their marketing strategies. Content marketing is the easiest way to assert your thought leadership because you can, quite literally, demonstrate your expertise. Your thoughts, research, and data speak for themselves because they provide value to your audience and give them new information to work with.

Sharing high-quality content is important for anyone trying to build their brand and make a name for themselves. But doing so for free is what will improve your lead generation. It shows your audience you want them to succeed and want to share your tips to get them there. This authenticity sets you apart from your competitors and makes people want to choose you.

Create a blog so you can build your personal brand and share your knowledge with others. Posting quality content consistently will build a loyal following that keeps coming back. You can turn your readers into email subscribers to keep them updated on your brand and introduce them to your newest content.

Offer Expert Advice

One way to show your expertise to users is by offering them useful advice. Around 53 percent of customer loyalty depends on a brand’s ability to offer unique insight. People want the easiest, most convenient way to solve their problems, so providing simple solutions goes a long way in building an audience.

When you help others and expect nothing in return, it shows people you care. It’s about more than the conversions to you. You’re looking to actively help your community and become a source of trustworthy information they can rely on.

Social media is a great place to share your knowledge, build authority, and grow a following. People turn to social media to ask questions and receive legitimate responses from people with experience. Platforms like Quora and Reddit use a question-and-answer format which makes it easier to help people there.


Add Social Proof to Your Strategy

Before you can call yourself a thought leader, you need the trust and support of your audience. Today’s consumers can afford to be picky about the brands and experts they follow, so it’s essential to cultivate trust from the bottom of the funnel.

An easy way to build trust with new prospects is by adding social proof to your marketing strategy. Social proof is a psychological phenomenon that takes place when people see other people enjoying products and services. They want to replicate that feeling which pushes them to copy their actions and buy the same products.

For example, if you see a celebrity you like on social media promoting a product that they claim enhances their life, it encourages you to look into it. You might visit that business’ profile or website and, eventually, make a purchase yourself. Social proof is a powerful tool that marketers use to grow their brand and increase conversions.

Social proof includes:

  • Reviews and ratings – Both positive and negative reviews add to your credibility and encourage users to take action, and 83 percent of consumers trust reviews over traditional advertising.
  • Testimonials – Testimonials from clients and networking professionals show prospects that you’re a well-respected brand in your industry.
  • Real-time user activity – When people see users just like them joining your email list and purchasing products, it persuades them to copy those actions.
  • Brand logos – Businesses display logos on their website to show the popular brands that support them.
  • Celebrity and influencer endorsements – It’s easier to get customers on board with certain products when people they admire use them first.

So, whether it’s your website, email, or social media, it’s important to add social proof factors to remove any doubt about your authenticity.

Your Turn

Using these tips, you should be able to start the process of becoming a thought leader in your industry. With consistency and understanding your audience, you’ll build a loyal following in no time. How will you become a leader in your niche this year?