10 Steps to Take to be Seen as a Thought Leader


With the prevalence of online platforms, you have many opportunities today to establish yourself as a thought leader in financial services. But how do you become a person who is recognized and respected for driving innovation within the industry? There is no one clear path; but we can provide you with these 10 steps to establish yourself as an influencer online:

  1. Build your brand. When we think of brands, we often think of big corporations; like Nike and McDonald’s. However, you have a brand too. How do you know what your brand is? Spend time exploring questions like these: Who are you? What do you stand for? What aspect of financial services are you especially interested in and knowledgeable about?
  1. Get the word out. Once you are clear on your brand, find your voice and use it. Share on Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter. Make sure your posts are always relevant and timely. Another way to establish yourself as a thought leader is to host financial education seminars or webinars. Use this opportunity to establish your credibility and expertise by educating attendees, and limit the product pitch.
  1. Dominate your niche. As the saying goes, “You can’t be all things to all people.” Many of the large niches in financial services have established thought leaders already, so choose a smaller niche and specialize in it. For example, if you live in a rural area with a large farming community you could focus your thought leadership on succession and estate planning for farmers.
  1. Learn from the pros. Who are the influencers you admire most? Who do you turn to again and again on social media? Those are the pros you can learn a lot from by immersing yourself in their approach. How do they think? What do they share with the world via social media? Follow their example but share your own unique thoughts.
  1. Engage with the online community. Always remember that social media is not a one-way conversation. Always respond to comments you receive on posts. Answer questions. Create a call to action through the content you share. For more meaningful engagement, imagine you are interacting face-to-face with followers versus online.
  1. Be consistent and unique. If people hear from you regularly they will pay attention. Try to be thoughtful and consistent about when and how often you are posting. Modify your content for the various social media platforms. While it can be easy to simply link up social media accounts to share the same content, it doesn’t always make sense. What you share via LinkedIn might not be a right fit for Twitter.
  1. Avoid the big sell. No one wants to be stuck at the party with the guy who only talks about himself. Avoid posting content on social media that only focuses on you and your practice. Your role as a thought leader is to contribute, add value, and share your insights on the industry as a whole — not to pitch products. Do the latter and you can count on turning your audience off and sending them elsewhere.
  1. Be original. To be a thought leader you have to think differently than everyone else. Sometimes that means being in opposition to what others in the industry are saying. Make bold claims but be prepared to back them up — and remember, you can’t please everyone, nor should you try.
  1. Share real-life examples. The best thought leaders are also terrific storytellers. Draw from real life. Share examples that are timely and relevant. Be willing to share your struggles and your triumphs in your work. People are more inclined to work with people who are authentic.
  1. Don’t stop. Becoming a thought leader in the financial services industry takes time, hard work, and focus. Once you get there, you can’t stop. Keep doing the research, keep thinking about and introducing fresh ideas. The industry needs you.

At Berthel Fisher, we make it our mission to help our advisors deliver the best client experience in the business. From our investment products, advisory services, our back office support and forward thinking management team; we are continuously investing in every advisor on our team.

If you are interested in joining Berthel Fisher, get started today or give us a call at 1-800-356-5234. 

By Shelli M. Brady

Shelli Brady joined the firm in 2007 and currently acts as the Marketing Manager for Berthel Fisher & Company and its subsidiaries. Shelli attended the University of Northern Iowa in Cedar Falls, Iowa.