How to Be a Thought Leader in Your Online Community

Adapted from my talk at the May 6 Microsoft MVP Community Connection event.

Ever wonder how people get to be “thought leaders“? Becoming a go-to, trusted expert in your niche or community is a good thing to be, both professionally and personally.

In a talk I gave recently, I addressed the often-elusive How To as someone who watches thought leaders appear and grow. Here’s a synopsis, and feel free to discuss in the comments!

How I Pick Out The Thought Leaders

In the global Yammer External Network I manage for my company’s customers, I don’t know these customers personally. But I can pick out the thought leaders.

Here’s what they use this External Network for:

  • First-time training jitters & veteran reassurances.
  • Sharing challenge-to-success moments that end up as amazing stories they don’t even know they’re telling, because to them, it’s just what they do.
  • Networking is a byproduct and happens naturally simply through conversation.

I know who the thought leaders are because:

  • Simply through these customers sharing their experiences, I know exactly who I’d go to if I see a question about X type of training, or Y type of setting.
  • I also know who to go to when I want to get a public blog post for our website, or an audio clip or podcast, or even a video.
  • And this is done simply through them being present, prolific, and helpful.

Remember, I don’t know these people personally and I may never know them. But because they’re active and sharing, I know their names. I can see whose words and stories should be brought out for others to learn from.

How you can do it, too

  • Somebody out there DOES need your knowledge. You may just not know who it is. You may never know. But what you do know is important.
  • “What I do all day isn’t interesting. It’s not a story.” Cease this line of thought! Think about this: When you Google a question, someone else has always had that question too, no matter what it is.
  • Through sharing your experience, you’re telling a story that resonates with others.
  • As you keep sharing, people start thinking of you as a Person To Go To even if they don’t know you personally. They’ll tag you in conversations. They’ll make sure you see something pertinent to you. They’ll ASK for your input!

Logistics

  • Finding a community is, of course, key. It may take a few trials to find one that really suits you, and you may find yourself moving on periodically.
    • Examples of communities: A Yammer network, the Microsoft Tech Community, a Facebook group, LinkedIn (posts or in general), Medium, cultivating a Twitter presence, building up your own blog, etc.
  • You do need to find the “why” for yourself. What’s in it for you? You have to stay interested, too!
  • Build in time to post like it’s a regular appointment. Set an Outlook reminder, a sticky note on your monitor, an alarm on your watch. Over time, it’ll become like clockwork where you don’t need these reminders anymore.

What questions do you have? What’s worked for you?

I’ve Been Interviewed by Kay MacLeod!

“When did you first fall in love with guinea pigs?”

“A lot of authors write things they would like to read, do you find it a challenge to write for a younger audience?”

Find out my answers to these questions and more—including what’s all the fuss about Legos—with indie author Kay MacLeod‘s interview on me!

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“Dr. Guinea Pig George” Teaches Kids Valuable Lessons

Have you heard about Constable Elliot, the latest New Zealand police recruit?

He’s teaches kids about road safety. He also happens to be a guinea pig.

Dr. Guinea Pig George also teaches kids valuable lessons! These days everyone could use a little “Yes, you CAN” when it comes to things we want to do. If guinea pigs can become doctors and police officers, imagine what your child could do with his or her dreams. 🙂

You don’t have to take just my word for it. Here’s just one of the 5-star reviews from Amazon:

“It’s fun little books like this that make me wish they were around when my niece and nephews were younger. Definitely a fun children’s book but a reminder to not let things stop you from doing what you feel you need to do.”

You can buy Dr. Guinea Pig George on Kindle or in paperback. Free on KindleUnlimited!

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Free For a Limited Time! “What’s At the End Of Your Nose?” on Kindle

Just in time for Mother’s Day, here’s my gift to you for moms, kids, and the whole family to enjoy together!

What’s At the End of Your Nose? is FREE on Kindle for a limited time (May 10 – May 14, 2017) to add to your Mother’s Day festivities.

Don’t miss this great opportunity to bring Sidney Snail and his adventures into your home! Click here to view & purchase.

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Copyright 2017 Becky Benishek “What’s At the End Of Your Nose?

 

Sidney will find you faster if you show him the way! 🙂

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Copyright 2016 Becky Benishek “What’s At the End Of Your Nose?

May 2 Was Video Day: Our Yammer Customer Story

I’m still exhilarated.

Exhausted, yeah, still a little bit. But the exhilaration hasn’t stopped.

The excitement was contagious:

My whole company (the Crisis Prevention Institute) got excited when I told them the news: After talking with the wonderful Connie Woo at Microsoft about what we did as an organization and how Yammer has helped us supplement and enhance our mission inside and out, she got excited, and within a matter of days we were hooked up with Allytics, a creative marketing firm based out of Redmond, and a local film crew, Creative Edge Productions.

My best friend, there for moral support as well as being one of the interviewees later in the day, took this picture for posterity of me being interviewed by Jim DeGroot:

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Video day!

(Secret: This really is an empty floor of our building. Great space for the major interviews. Then it was back to our own two floors for real live footage.)

We had a blast with the film crew.  And fortunately they had a blast with us, as they were with us the whole day. And we can’t wait to see the final product!