Contribution from Subject Matter Experts (SME), Leadership

Social Media Thought Leadership

socialmedia, howto, ceo, mentoring, ceoforum

Did you know that content shared by the owner of a business receives 8x MORE engagement than content shared by a business social media account?

There has been a significant shift in the way a business communicates with their customers online. It’s time for you to change your mindset, and think about social media as part of your “customer experience” journey.

What does the phrase “social media” mean to you? Does it mean a way to connect with friends and family, or is it just another phrased used to define the route to market a business online? Let’s take the first word; social. The meaning of this word is often forgotten when people talk about social media and the idea of delivering a social experience. Just like Scott Cook said; “A brand is no longer what we tell the customer it is. It is what customers tell each other it is”.

Using Social Media as a brand is one thing, but what about thought leadership as the CEO of a company?

Sharing content online as a thought leader and the CEO of your business is so important, more important than I realised. I recently came across some statistics from Entrepreneur which reinforced the importance of this for me.

According to, 92% of people trust recommendations from individuals (even if they don’t know them) over brands, and brand messages are re-shared 24 times more frequently when posted by the CEO rather than the brand’s social media channels.

This brings me nicely to building your personal brand through Social Media as a CEO for 2019. We are almost in the new year, and it is time for you to take that next step and become a success, as you, as well as your business.

So, how can you do this? What I am about to share with you is my story, and has helped me achieve 2.5 million impressions, and 75,000 followers online and become a trusted thought leader as the CEO of Think Digital First.

Back in 1997, when eBay was just a year old, I was burnt out and I had lost focus and started to feel depressed and could not get up for work in the morning. At this point, I had enough of feeling depressed and I bought a newspaper, and started searching for a job focused on a skill; sales. I found a commission only opportunity. Two weeks into a job, I went into a company to discuss how I could help them save money. The owner of this business turned my sales pitch into a job interview, and within three years, I was the Sales Director of a global retail business turning over millions.

After 10 years of travelling back and forth from China, with this global Disney license, everything was going great for me, until I received a devastating phone call that a family member was terminally ill, and through asking celebrity influencers I saw an opportunity to help through the use of Social Media.

This is what lead me to my first public speech, in front of 1,000 people about a fundraising campaign to pay for medical costs. This was where I caught the speaking bug.

I then began taking speaking, and running a business more seriously and when I launched my social selling Ecommerce platform in 2010, I found myself utilising Social Media, talking at various different trade shows across the UK, as well as in front of investors and shareholders where I successfully managed to secure investment through the SEIS scheme, valuing the business at one million pounds in less than 2 years. Unfortunately, late 2013, we had to close down the company. I had to start all over again, but this time older and wiser.

At this point, I had built a strong personal online profile, and had great relationships with event organisations, where I continued to speak and add value through education marketing.
Fast forward a few years, and I’m an multi-award entrepreneur, professional speaker, author and certified online trainer, speaking at hundreds of events across the world, and earning a 6-figure income doing so.

The reason I wanted to share my story with you is to show that to become successful, you do go through failures in life and I know this first hand.

Here are my top 3 tips to becoming a thought leader as the CEO of your business.

The truth is, without having the speaking platform that I do, I would not be as successful as I am in the Social Media and Digital Marketing world.

Being a successful professional speaker has been years of hard work, dedication and the ability to accept a knock back or two.

I have found that speaking at industry specific events which have my target audience (small businesses) attending the event, is a great way for me to build my personal brand. This in turn has not only given me content to share on Social Media, but to receive real-time recommendations and engagement from those who have attended a seminar of mine.
This Year tip: Do your research, and find all of the events/exhibitions/trade shows that have a speaker programme for this year, and get in touch to see if you can speak at their event.

Writing content is extremely important when positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry but that is only the first step; you then need to share your content online.

I have earnt a 6-figure income off the back of the content I share online, and I also contribute to various industry-lead websites including Social Media Today, and Business2Community.
This Year tip: Share every single piece of content you write on LinkedIn Pulse to increase engagement, and get involved with a 2-way conversation online.

My final tip for you is to continuously work at, and build your Social Media presence on a daily basis. We all have to start at 0 followers on every single network, so don’t be disheartened if your competitors have more followers than you do.

This Year tip: Only focus on the social networks that are giving you the results you are looking for. If Twitter is driving engagement, and Facebook is not; stick with Twitter and make that your preferred platform just like I have.

Social Media Do’s and Don’ts As A CEO
As you know, there is a Social Media etiquette that should be followed to become a trusted thought leader in your industry.

DO: Define Your Goals & Objectives
This is a big must when it comes to using social media. Without fully understanding why you are using each social network, and what you want to achieve it will be useless.

DO: Budget
If you are going to use social media, and specifically the paid advertising, you should have a budget in place. Do your research and find out how much it costs to do what you need to do on social media.

DO: Use More Than Social Media
Make sure you are using surveys, email marketing, content writing and other forms of digital marketing to reach your target audience online.

DO: Keep An Open Mind
Regardless of what your target audience say to you, you need to make sure you listen. Keep an open mind and take onboard the good feedback, as well as the bad.

DON’T: Just “Take a Chance”
Social media is about researching, testing, and adjusting your social media activity. You should always do your research first – don’t just take a chance and hope for the best as this will waste your time and money.

DON’T: Just Use Social Media
Yes, social media is great for reaching your target market, but you also need to consider other digital marketing avenues as well.

DON’T: Only Focus On “Viral” Ideas
By viral ideas, I mean posts that will make your business the talk of the internet. This won’t give you the valuable marketing insight you need, and you might find your business looked poorly upon if your “viral” content can be perceived as negative.

DON’T: Get Discouraged
Just because you might not be seeing the results you want to see, doesn’t mean you should be discouraged. Stay focused, and keep working on social media for your business.

Remember that Social Media will not fix an already broken business. To truly become a thought leader as the CEO of your business, you need to have a framework for success, that delivers your desired results.


One comment

  1. K Daley

    Excellent article, very well written and too the point!

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