Be a thought leader. Be an influencer. Many say these two roles are very different, but as we move into the future of business, there are more similarities than there are differences. And both can benefit you and your company when you need to drive sales.
Let’s start by defining what it is to be a thought leader and a micro-influencer.
What is a thought leader?
Thought leaders are individuals who are widely recognized because they have extensive knowledge and accomplishments in a particular field. They’re well respected for their ideas, opinions, and insights, and they’re often sought out for advice and guidance.
To be seen as a thought leader, you must make yourself into a prolific resource with a catalog of content like press releases, articles, blog posts, and videos.
Mary Michele Nidiffer is one of my favorite thought leaders. She is a professional stylist, and her content provides tips on creating your own signature style and how to avoid “closet offenders.” She also does a great podcast on women’s styles to stay relevant and keep growing.
What is a micro-influencer?
Compared to thought leaders, micro-influencers have fewer than 15,000 social media followers on platforms like Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, and TikTok. They use their expertise in a particular area to build a persona, create compelling content and engage strategically with their niche audiences.
Sarah Benken Foushee is a great example of a micro-influencer. She’s the CEO of a national organization of female entrepreneurs. Her content is indicative of a strong social mindset, which is one of the skill sets that can help you become a micro-influencer. You’d also need to be prepared to post consistent, relevant content on the social media outlets where your audience spends the most time.
What’s best for your business?
If your brand thrives on popularity or staying ahead of trends, you can generate a lot of business out of becoming a micro-influencer. You can get started by posting what’s on your mind while working on a content calendar that can help you keep track of notable dates and give you ideas on days when you don’t feel like you have anything to say.
If your audience wants more recognition and prestige in the choices they make, you’ll recognize why it’s a priority to raise your status as both a thought leader and micro-influencer. Look for good public relations opportunities, publish press releases and blogs, volunteer as a guest on podcasts, and tie it all together with great social and video content.
Overcoming challenges — Strategies to be both a micro-influencer and a thought leader.
Just as working toward being both a thought leader and a micro-influencer can create synergistic opportunities, the list of challenges as you pursue both paths can be its own strategy.
Challenge: Get past fears that you’re not being worthy of being a leader.
Strategy: Obtain press opportunities to explore your strengths and refine your voice. This is huge for building credibility and boosting your confidence.
Challenge: Post content that’s creative and visually appealing enough to go viral.
Strategy: Create a personal brand guide that can help you stay true to your core values and message. Going viral is great, but it’ll only do so much for you if it’s not on brand.
Challenge: Select topics that you know well, so you can differentiate yourself from others in your industry.
Strategy: Hire a professional to help you pinpoint your personal brand voice and audit your digital channels. Discover strengths you may not know you have, accentuate what you do well, and bring all those things to the forefront of everything you do.
There really is a strategy to overcome any challenge — so don’t stop yourself before you start. You can succeed as both a micro-influencer and a thought leader. Just remember these three main things: 1) post high-quality, engaging content as often as you can; 2) make sure you use every opportunity to promote your channels; and 3) never, ever give up.
The more you bring all of your efforts together, the more you’ll be recognized as both an influencer and a thought leader — and the more you, and your business, can grow.