Social Media Thought Leadership: 6 Ways Top Brands Are Building Expertise Effectively

Social media is a powerful platform for businesses to stand apart with valuable thought leadership content. Discover six different ways these top brands are building expertise within their industries.

You know you should be using social media to connect with your customers, but did you know it’s also a powerful tool for establishing thought leadership?  

Thought leadership content will help you demonstrate your expertise and become the go-to, trusted source for customers.  It’s a key component to add to your social media marketing mix and larger digital marketing strategy that will allow you to stand apart from competitors and offer the value customers seek from brands.  

There are many kinds of content you can post on social for this purpose, and tactics vary from platform to platform.  

Check out a few ways these brands are building thought leadership on their social channels:

Social Tactic 1: Re-posting media appearances to reinforce expertise

Company: Jemicy School

Jemicy School uses its Facebook page to promote the expertise of its head of school, Ben Shifrin, and its leading position in education for students with language-based learning differences.

Jemicy provides a highly individualized, flexible, and challenging education for above-average to gifted college-bound students with dyslexia or other related language-based learning differences. Head of School Ben Shifrin is a member of the U.S. State Department’s Office of Overseas Schools, Advisory Committee on Exceptional Children, and is an appointed member of Governor Hogan’s Dyslexia Task Force.

Shifrin is a frequent guest on WBAL Radio’s C4 show and speaks in other local media outlets about current topics in education like online learning and the Kirwan Commission. By promoting and sharing his interviews on credible news outlets, Jemicy underlines Shifrin’s expertise and the school’s recognized leadership in the field of education. The school also promotes workshops and programs for students, teachers and families to assist in their learning process.

Social Tactic 2: Highlighting core values and company culture through video

Company: McCormick & Company

McCormick uses a robust video strategy on its social platforms to consistently reinforce its position as a leader in the food industry, on social issues and in local communities. One of the ways McCormick does this is by posting about its 130-year legacy of bringing people together. McCormick’s products are recognized in many homes, and familiar to people worldwide. When it comes time to questioning a new trend, recipe, or news story in the food or manufacturing industries, McCormick is a name that customers call to mind easily.  

As a global leader, McCormick creates posts about its progress on improving the world around it, such as initiatives to become more environmentally friendly, recognition of its employees’ contributions, and improvements in trade and manufacturing. McCormick uses a similar strategy for speaking about its local and regional leadership, such as its partnership with the COREcares Foundation in Maryland, a place it calls home.  

McCormick’s CEO also speaks regularly about the company’s performance and trends he sees for the company and industry in the future.

McCormick & Company Thought Leadership on LinkedIn

Social Tactic 3: Understanding and responding to concerns of target audience

Company: T. Rowe Price

T. Rowe Price is a global investment management firm that offers funds, advisory services, account management, and retirement plans and services for individuals, institutions, and financial intermediaries.  

The company establishes itself as a thought leader by highlighting the expertise of its employees, sharing resources for individuals from its website and featuring blog posts that respond to people’s financial questions. The post begins with a problem or inquiry its audience might have and then provides a link to a resource on its website that could help solve it. T. Rowe Price also reflects on its legacy in the community to establish trust and reliability with its customers. By understanding its audience, T. Rowe Price can provide the right expertise on its social pages at the right time.

T.Rowe Price Thought Leadership on Facebook

Social Tactic 4: Linking to opinion pieces about relevant industry topics on company blog

Company: Springwell Senior Living

Springwell Senior Living is a locally owned and operated senior living community that offers residents three different living options: Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care.  

Springwell created a category of blog posts on its website with well-designed graphics to post on its Facebook business page, emphasizing thought leadership for its executive director, Phil Golden. Golden is an experienced professional in the senior living space and has successfully led Springwell’s operations for many years. He is also a member of the LifeSpan Network board, which represents nearly 300 senior care providers in Maryland and Washington, including nonprofit and for-profit facilities providing care and services to seniors.  

Golden discusses topics that are important for families and their loved ones, such as isolation in seniors and the cost of senior living. These social posts highlight Golden’s expertise and offer a familiar face to provide explanations on relevant topics and concerns for older adults. Since the posts are linked back to Springwell’s website, people can view Springwell as a reliable source for senior living information.

Springwell Senior Living The Golden Years Blog as Social Media Thought Leadership

Social Tactic 5: Cross-linking to white papers, webinars and other educational content

Company: Deloitte

Deloitte is a multinational professional services network and Big Four accounting organization, with services that include tax, consulting, audit and assurance, private company services, mergers and acquisitions, and risk and financial advisory.  

Deloitte’s social strategy is centered on providing timely content to its audience. The content addresses high-level topics for businesses globally in formats ranging from webinars and surveys to in-depth articles and promotions for its solutions with partners. Deloitte is proactive in responding to business and workplace challenges as they evolve over time. From clean energy to IT to food insecurity and much more, the organization thinks of every topic in its wheelhouse to educate its customers and other professionals.  

The organization utilizes trending hashtags to join conversations that individuals are following on their feeds. The graphics represent Deloitte’s brand and highlight key information for people to remember.

Deloitte demonstrates expertise on social with webinars and surveys

Social Tactic 6: Partnering with a relevant influencer aligned with brand values

Company: Silk with Michael Phelps

Michael Phelps is an Olympic gold medalist and a father. He establishes his thought leadership by combining these interests and partnering with other organizations aligned with his personal brand. For instance, he’s posted several how-to videos on Facebook that connect his love for swimming with his love for his children. How can you ensure your children are safe in the water? Look to Michael Phelps for the answer. He’s both relatable and recognizable. As an athlete, he’s also posted workout videos and is sponsored by different health brands that fit his image.  

Phelps has also helped turn a spotlight on issues relating to Olympic athletes. He’ is featured in a documentary on HBO called The Weight of Gold and posted promos and teasers on his social platforms.  

Michael Phelps as social influencer on safe swimming and Olympians

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