Ask the Expert: Ekaterina Walter on Thought Leadership Strategy

An ongoing LinkedIn series featuring marketing thought leaders

November 11, 2014

Today we’re sharing the wit and wisdom of Ekaterina Walter, international speaker and bestselling author of Think Like Zuck: The Five Business Secrets of Facebook’s Improbably Brilliant CEO Mark Zuckerberg, and co-author of The Power of Visual Storytelling: How to Use Visuals, Videos, and Social Media to Market Your Brand. Ekaterina has also led strategic and innovative campaigns for Fortune 500 brands such as Intel and Accenture. From our interview featured in The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership, read on to learn Ekaterina’s insights regarding the core principles of becoming a true thought leader.

Q&A with Ekaterina Walter, Global Evangelist, Sprinklr

LinkedIn: For those looking to create thought leadership content for the first time, what are the best opportunities to get started?

Ekaterina Walter: Tell it as it is. Be open and honest about your failures and successes. Consistently provide utility so that others can learn from you. Don’t try to be someone you are not and don’t try to force the message. And, most of all, don’t sell. You can build trust by offering your expertise and help. If you build trust, the sale will come naturally.

LinkedIn: What advice do you have for brand marketers looking to increase followers or subscribers on social channels?

Ekaterina Walter: Numbers don’t matter. What matters is how your community impacts other people’s behaviors. You shouldn’t care about how many people are shouting your name from the rooftops because eyeballs don’t necessarily convert into a purchase. You should care about those who influence others to buy from you, and, eventually become advocates of your brand as well. THAT is the number, and the long-term goal, you should set for yourself.

LinkedIn: Your book, The Power of Visual Storytelling, teaches marketers how to use visuals, videos, and social media to market their brand. In your eyes, what role should visual storytelling play in thought leadership campaigns?

Ekaterina Walter: In the age of infobesity, visual storytelling has emerged as a strategy for nurturing vibrant and engaged communities. With increased digital noise and a shrinking adult attention span (now 3-8 seconds), using formats like images, videos, infographics, presentations, GIFs, and cartoons is a great way to stand out as a thought leader.

LinkedIn: What LinkedIn marketing tactics can brands use to implement thought leadership campaigns?

Ekaterina Walter: LinkedIn Groups are fantastic for building communities and establishing thought leadership. Answering questions, sharing content, and discussing trends can all help you become known for a specific expertise. With the introduction of content creation and sharing tools, LinkedIn has moved beyond a social network to become a media property. Now that LinkedIn has expanded the Influencer program to allow individuals to reach a broader audience via the publishing platform, LinkedIn has become a great tool for establishing thought leadership with your tribe and beyond.

LinkedIn: Can you think of a brand that is nailing thought leadership? What are they doing right? What are they gaining from it?

Ekaterina Walter: HubSpot produces a lot of interesting and useful content for marketers, even if it may not be directly tied to the product they are selling. They have a number of thought leaders who are constantly providing value through posts, ebooks, data analysis, presentations, and trend commentary. In return, the company benefits by getting leads and business. Read our full interview with Ekaterina and discover everything you need to know before launching your thought leadership campaign. Download The Sophisticated Marketer’s Guide to Thought Leadership today.