Achieving Digital Sustainability in Your Thought Leadership

It’s Deafening!

How-do-you-stand-out is a perennial challenge in business. Pre-social and digital media marketing era, businesses fight for attention on TV, radio, and print. Now, the battle has shifted online.

Indeed, this shift is a welcome change. By and large, it has levelled the playing fields. But with intense competition, companies have grown more innovative in the effort to grab attention online. B2C companies have been leading the way. B2B companies have added a new weapon to their armoury to stand out in thought leadership.

It’s deafening, and it will only get worse. To illustrate, despite being slightly over a decade old, Tik-Tok’s rise is best described as phenomenal. By 2024, it will likely rake in $23.6 billion in ad revenue, keeping it at par with its older rival, YouTube. The world is now waiting in bated breath following Elon Musk’s purchase of Twitter. Will it skyrocket social and digital media to new heights?

As you read this article, rest assured that someone is sketching the next big thing in social and digital media communications. In B2C, selling via live streaming is taking e-commerce to a new level of competition. Where will it be next for B2B? How can your thought leadership achieve sustainability in the ever-evolving social and digital media landscape?

Challenges Posed by Social and Digital Media

To develop a better appreciation of the steps, you can take to achieve sustainability in your thought leadership strategy, for a start, let me share the challenges posed by social and digital media.

More new channels to come

In an earlier post, I listed channels as one of the five pillars of a successful thought leadership strategy. That list has not stopped growing, and it will not.

Furthermore, existing players have been given a new lease of life, thanks to the pandemic. Facebook, for example, overcame some of its woes as people grew comfortable with it again. Among others, businesses were using it for live streaming events.

Democratised opinions, thoughts, and ideas

Everyone has an opinion, thought, or idea. Until social and digital media came along, most were never articulated.

Today, particularly in B2C, social and digital media have given rise to a new profession, influencers. This year alone, brands are expected to spend $15 billion on influencer marketing campaigns.

If it has not already, I think the day will come for the internet to be populated by thought leaders. And by this, I am referring to individuals with honestly thought leadership qualities, not just empty barrels. As it is, B2B companies have started working with marketing influencers as part of their thought leadership strategy.

Substance with style

Not everyone responds as well to the written word. With the busy lifestyle we lead, less is more. And a picture does paint a thousand words.

To appeal to different sub-segments, it is essential to consider other formats. But I believe re-purposing for the sake of it may not necessarily work. The social and digital media audience has grown savvier. They can’t be bought by tokenism.

Achieving Digital Sustainability in Your Thought Leadership

Sustaining your thought leadership in the deafening social and digital media landscape is not insurmountable. I want to offer below some tips to help you achieve it. They are practical and straightforward steps which are the foundation of every sustainable digital presence.

Strive for uniqueness

To achieve thought leadership status, you need to unveil new thinking or direction in your chosen field. Take a step back to ask: are you adding to the clutter or adding to a new body of knowledge?

It is difficult enough to stand out. Achieving sustainability in a swipe-left era has grown acutely more challenging. Comprehensively researching the topic is a step toward avoiding this. Whether you do it independently or in collaboration with others does not matter.

Clarity

But uniqueness on its own is not sufficient. It has to be presented. In a cluttered internet environment, your target audience does not have the time to digest the big idea. It needs to strike them from the first line. Otherwise, your thought leadership piece will be floating in the digital sea of sameness or junk.

Consistency

Consistency is everything in marketing. And so it is in thought leadership. Swaying from one perspective to another does not augur well for you in the digital age. You can archive the piece, but you can’t do the same for the memory of your target audience.

Consistency contributes to your digital sustainability. Over time, you will be associated with a specific point of view. When relevant and credible, it will win you their hearts and minds. This is a critical step toward cultivating a long-term relationship with your target audience.

Conclusion

Social and digital media have liberated thousands of thoughts, opinions, and ideas. We now have multiple platforms to carry them further and faster in thought leadership. Achieving sustainability is a more significant challenge. But it can be overcome.

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