How to position yourself as an industry leader

Entrepreneurs now realise that becoming thought leaders, sharing their expertise and speaking at important forums make their brand more appealing to customers

OXFORDSHIRE, ENGLAND - NOVEMBER 30:  Huda Kattan speaks on stage during #BoFVOICES on November 29, 2018 in Oxfordshire, England.  (Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images for The Business of Fashion)
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We are living in an era where being an entrepreneur and working secretly behind the scenes is no longer enough. Social media is so intertwined in our lives that many of us use it for everything from sharing our personal news to finding out who are the top experts in their respective fields. We no longer just want to follow a certain brand’s page on social media. We, the customers of that brand, crave transparency. We want to know who the owners are, follow their pages too, interact with them, see how they run their business, and learn about their culture and work ethic.

This has led many entrepreneurs to seek the help of public relations firms to position them as industry leaders in their fields. Entrepreneurs now realise that when they become thought leaders, start sharing their expertise with clients, attend important forums, and the right events, it makes their brand more appealing to customers. This is one of the reasons why we see businesses posting behind-the-scenes photos of their leadership teams hard at work, and why many founders and chief executives are on social media, directly interacting with their clients and the public at large.

Huda Kattan, the Dubai-based beauty mogul and founder of the Huda Beauty brand, is a great example. At a time when the fate of beauty brands is fluctuating like never before, Huda’s brand is growing at an exponential rate, and giving hope to many who want to make it big in the beauty business world. Huda’s honest reviews of products, sharing her beauty expertise through her blog, and her refusal for paid advertisement in exchange of promoting a certain product, earned her respect amongst her fans, and served as an an important factor in her success journey.

If you really want to take your business to the next level, becoming an industry leader, an expert like no other expert, could be one effective way. Here are a few ways on how you could achieve that:

Don’t be afraid to share

While Huda Kattan’s journey began with a simple blog, which expanded to become a beauty brand that includes everything from false lashes to cosmetic products, she still maintained her essence, which is sharing her beauty expertise with her followers. Huda’s blog includes everything from honest product reviews and makeup tutorials to skin care routine. This is what distinguishes Huda’s brand; how she personally and directly talks to her clients and followers. People want something valuable. For instance, customers are spoiled for choice when it comes to beauty brands, but it’s Huda’s reviews and expertise that have made her more trustworthy and attracted more customers.

Don’t be afraid to give away tips and tricks of the trade to your audience, even if they are worth money. You want your customers to benefit from the content you give away for free, so that they know that your paid-for products or services must be worth the money and more.

Network and find your channel

You can’t just sit behind a desk and wait for the magic to happen. Be out there. Network both online and offline. Find your channel to share your content. Some people opt for tutorial videos, podcasts, published articles or interactive social media posts. Choose a channel you’d enjoy working on, and the one which your clients would be tuned into. For instance, if your clients are from the younger generation, then consider social media channels such as TikTok or Facebook. If you are a chief executive of a multinational corporation, it is also good to consider publishing articles and sharing your thoughts on the industry in business journals or websites.

Know your audience

Last but not least, know your audience. What are the concerns of your customers? What do they need from the market? It’s imperative that you speak in a language your customers understand, to share their pains and sorrow, and to work together with them to ease their lives and make it better through your business proposition. At the end of the day, businesses are solutions to problems that customers are facing, so let your customers know that your business understands their problems and will help in solving them.

Manar Al Hinai is an award-winning Emirati journalist and entrepreneur, who manages her marketing and communications company in Abu Dhabi