Thought leadership was first coined as a buzzword in 1994 by Strategy+Business founder Joel Kurtzman, but what started as business jargon has become a cornerstone of innovation. Recognized as one of the most sought-after and influential in the industry, Vladimer Botsvadze has spent his career committed to inspiring businesses to succeed. His work has earned him global recognition, with over 200 awards to his name and recommendations from Pepsi-Co, Dell, and MasterCard, to name a few. Last year, he was ranked the number one thought leader by Thinkers360. Botsvadze spoke about the importance of maintaining a social media following and how the adage that “the customer comes first” is still important in the digital era.
As a social media influencer, how did you build your following?
It’s all about networking. Twitter put me on the global map. I started building my network in 2014. Twitter connects brands to customers in real-time. I built relationships with customers, partners, and influential people. I used interesting visuals and kept my content short, simple, and authentic. I tweeted regularly at the right time, built a following around my brand, and replied to questions. Twitter analytics has driven my results.
With the exponential growth of social media, freelance work, and the gig economy, a strong personal brand has become imperative for ambitious professionals. Authenticity, communication, and content creation are key ingredients to today’s personal brand. There are billions of social media users, the question is how will you stand out from the crowd?
I became serious about my personal brand building. I built relations because I believe that communication dictates everything we do, so I communicated with my audience. It is all about passion, if you want to build a strong and robust personal brand.
I share a deep understanding of how to activate social media to create human connections. I’ve spearheaded one of the fastest-growing personal brands on a shoestring budget and reinvested every penny in business growth. Your personal brand is how you are noticed by others online. Clients work with people they know and trust. A strong brand will open many doors.
With so much noise out there, it’s hard to get noticed. Marketing is all about winning attention across social media through content creation and organic growth. I share insights to help managers manage their brands and attract opportunities. Their success depends on how they master digital marketing, defining a brand that is authentic, compelling, and relevant. My clients use the right mix of social media, video, and other tools to demonstrate what makes them great.
I teach entrepreneurs, executives, and creatives how to improve social media presence and communicate with confidence online. My keynote talks reveal proven strategies that help audiences stand out by building authentic personal brands. Everyone has a story to tell and needs to build a personal brand that represents who they are and what they stand for.
You’ve spoken a lot about customer-centricity being one of the most critical aspects of any business. In the digital age, how would you encourage businesses to keep the customer first?
Always listen to customers across social media. Keep your fingers on the pulse of customer feedback. Educate your customers. Provide value. Most brands just share products and services or are in “sales mode.” Customers are keen to be informed and educated. Stay ahead of the curve on trends and preferences. Customers expect companies to understand their needs and expectations.
Customer-centric companies are more lucrative. They are willing to pay more for a good experience. Top executives are convinced that the customer has the greatest impact on their business. Make them feel appreciated. Take an agile approach to test, learn, and adapt your offer to the new reality. Send messages of support and solidarity. Adapt and prepare for the future.
You’ve called Twitter the “cocktail party for the business world” — what’s the key to navigating it?
Twitter is a platform where conversation happens. I have greatly benefitted from this network and gained momentum. Twitter followers are a highly engaged audience, keen to engage in conversation. Users voluntarily amplify content through retweets, growing your following. Twitter’s in-depth analytics paints the picture of audience demographics. The wealth of insights provided help you gain analytics to measure your success rate and make campaigns more targeted and impactful. Tweeting is a great way to grow an enthusiastic community, engage in powerful conversations, drive traffic to your website, and gain clients for your business.
The social media landscape is always changing, sometimes drastically. What do you envision for the future?
I believe that brands will act like content creators and they will put out more content. When I speak at events and when I consult brands, I suggest them to forget being transactional and be in a marketing and branding business. If they have a podcast, if they blog, if they tweet, if they take advantage of every social media channel that is available at our fingertips, brands are likely to act like creators as algorithms prioritize interests over following. Short-form video content is likely to drive results. Brands will start paying attention to their audio content, connecting with customers in real-time.
You talk a lot about your work ethic. Take me through an average 16-hour day for you.
Relentless work always pays off. I never stop learning. I’m not satisfied until I accomplish my goal of helping people take action in marketing. I wake up, have an omelet with coffee, and make morning phone calls to advisory boards, conference organizers, and start-up accelerators about my speaking and mentoring engagements. I have meetings to discuss the status of the projects. I speak at conferences, deliver training, workshops, and masterclasses. I’m regularly invited as a guest on podcasts. I have committed my career to leading my clients to market domination. I inspire audiences to put customers at the heart of an organization. I’m a sought-after speaker for any marketing and technology summit line-up, combing practicality, storytelling, award-winning knowledge, and global experience.
Kenny Hedges | Contributing Writer