Webinar: Turn Your Employees’ Expertise into Thought Leadership, Part 2 of 6

Q&A, Part 2 of 2

This post is Part 2 of 6 in a series covering a thought leadership webinar I co-hosted earlier in December. Click here for Part 1 (an intro to the series and the first part of this Q&A session). View the webinar here and download the slide deck/presentation here.

Q: Our leadership is worried about employees working on blogs and other thought leadership type things during their work hours and it will take away from their projects. Suggestions?
A: Evangelism needs to be part of everyone’s jobs. If an employee wants to share good compelling content with customers and future advocates, how can that be a bad thing? Compensation systems and management goals need to be changed. If your executive team is not on board, then, in the short term, the information diet of the executives needs to be changed. Hopefully that will help. In the long term they will change how business is done or the business will be done.

Q: Social executives drive the mission, vision, and value into their culture. Why do you think this is important?
A: If you don’t get paid or recognized for an activity, or worse, if you get your hands slapped for an activity, there’s a good chance that you’ll stop doing it. Although I’ve been hired at both the top and bottom of an organization, enacting change is quicker and much more effective tops down. If social executives set the stage and act upon that stage, there’s a chance that change will happen. If not, true change is hard to bring about and, as I said earlier, any organization that doesn’t move in this direction has a great chance of disappearing.

Q: It seems a certain measure of social and organizational skills are necessary in order to produce thought LEADERSHIP. But not all subject-matter experts are “given” to proactivity with their thoughts. They are “virtual introverts” who are not necessarily capable of being thought leaders.
A: Don’t force it. There are individuals who come up with great ideas, but they may not want to expose themselves as thought leaders or you may not want them to. You know the type. There are many examples of how firms have addressed this. You can bring in or hire marcom consultants or journalism majors to go around and interview the experts/thought leaders and ghostwrite the posts that are either posted on their behalf or on behalf of the extraverts that want to be the thought leaders. As an example, Emerson Electric facilitates communication with external parties as well as training 160 internal experts to blog on behalf of the firm: http://community.emerson.com/process/emerson-exchange/p/guidelines.aspx

Q: Can you share some info about ROI of Thought leadership, how to measure it, what is a good timeline for measuring the ROI?
A: As I mentioned in the Webinar, thought leadership is the combination of social media, traditional media and employee engagement/activism. All of these elements have different ROI measures and different implementation and effectiveness timelines. Don’t throw out your existing measurements tools and metrics. In many cases, thought leadership just enhances what you’re doing today. In looking at the Thought Leadership Funnel, how do you measure success and movement in the four levels of Awareness, Engagement, Future Advocate and Advocate? The answer will be different for every firm in every industry. Please read the following four articles/posts I curated that cover this topic:

Q: I see you’re referencing a Klout score 🙂 So how much weight does this really carry? There’s always been great debate about this 🙂
A: The jury has been and continues to be out on that one. Just curated an article on the LinkedIn Thought Leadership Best Practices group titled “Does Klout have Clout?

Mark Schaefer (@markwschaefer) who was at #DellWorld tweeted that a “Marketing VP says Klout score is an internal employee metric at Dell. Interesting. #DellWorld“. Don’t know anything else, but that’s certainly interesting.

What I can say is that Klout does measure influence, but does it measure the “right” influence? If we define a thought leader as an expert who’s known in a specific vertical in a specific geography, does Klout, and other social influence tools, have the ability to measure the influence the thought leader has in the specific area they are targeting? The answer today is no. That, however, will change over time.

Q: Who is the guy at InsideSales you referred to?
A: Ken Krogue, the President & Founder. Check out InsideSales here.

Q: What thought leaders do you both turn to for inspiration?
A: Thanks for this question. I have quite a few which I follow on social media. Here are the classes:


Q: Which came first, the chicken or the road?
A: What can I say, we all need to take ourselves a little less seriously.


Q: Is there a #hashtag for this webinar?
A: We answered this question with @HappyAbout, but yikes, I can’t believe we missed that. Silly of us. We would have used #thoughtleaders if we thought about it.

Q: How many people are actually listening in, so that we get an idea of numbers responding here?
A: At the end, 288 registered and 122 were actually on the webinar.

Q: Will you send out the slides?
Q: Nice presentation. Would love to get the slides.

Q: Sorry… I joined late due to a previous meeting rollover. Is there another webinar that I can sign up for? Will the presentation be sent to everybody?
A: You can watch the webinar here and pick up the slides here.