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The Power of Investing in People | Zoe Bermant

The Power of Investing in People | Zoe Bermant | 428

Why organizations should empower their employees to become thought leaders.

An interview with Zoe Bermant about elevating the insights of your people, the Caroself™, and women in thought leadership.

In thought leadership, which comes first: the brand or the people?

It’s not a chicken-and-egg situation! The answer is always people.
You inspire and invest in your employees, and the word spreads.
Those people act as ambassadors for the brand, building a strong org reputation — and that brings in customers.

In order to understand where this power cycle starts, I’ve invited Zoe Bermant, the CEO at ZoecialMedia, creator of the Caroself ™, and an expert in organic social media for B2B.

While many believe that the brand needs to be the focus of an organization’s social media, Zoe explains that the power in organizational thought leadership comes from the people who work for the company. Thought leadership is about creating a human aspect within a business relationship; moving interactions beyond data and white papers, and sharing meaningful interactions. By elevating your people, you create passionate ambassadors for your brand, and create an online presence that is credible, trustworthy, and relatable – and that brings in more customers!

Learn why Zoe recommends starting this cycle at the executive level, and how doing so can create a culture of engagement both internally and externally. When executives interact with employees (and customers) online in a direct and meaningful manner, it helps build genuine relationships. This bolsters new sales, employee retention, and even talent recruitment.

Great ideas can spark from anywhere, even a simple typo. Zoe shares how she mistyped “caroself” in a message to a coworker (instead of “carousel”) and came up with a brilliant new idea. Using the pdf carousel function of LinkedIn, Zoe made a document that humanized her work experience, letting people know where she grew up, went to school, and even her likes and dislikes – and she called it the Caroself™. She then tagged others, and challenged them to do the same. Before long the idea had spread to thousands of users who saw the benefit of giving the world a deeper look into their personalities, and move their career prospects forward by going beyond the professional persona.

We wrap up our conversation discussing women in thought leadership. Zoe works with hundreds of executives, and has seen a trend of women being overly timid about sharing their insights. Many incredibly insightful female leaders don’t promote themselves through thought leadership – and they should! The chat explores why that trend continues, and gives suggestions around how to encourage others to take control of their power and seize the opportunities thought leadership presents. The world needs more great ideas!

Three Key Takeaways:
  • The cycle of “invest in your people – let them be ambassadors for your brand – build your brand reputation – engage more new customers” is powerful, and it’s one that more organizations should use.
  • You can’t rely on a random algorithm to get the word out. You have to actively seek out and build relationships, sharing things about yourself (or your org) and creating a human connection in order to succeed.
  • When cultivating your social media profile, it’s beneficial to ensure that personal stories still relate to your expertise or experience in a professional sense. Don’t forget to show your strengths!

If you need a strategy to bring your thought leadership to market, Thought Leadership Leverage can assist you! Contact us for more information. In addition, we can help you implement marketing, research, and sales. Let us help you so you can devote yourself to what you do best.

Join the Organizational Thought Leadership Newsletter to learn more about expanding thought leadership within your organization! This monthly newsletter is full of practical information, advice, and ideas to help you reach your organization’s thought leadership goals.

And if you need help scaling organizational thought leadership, contact Thought Leadership Leverage or reach out to Bill Sherman on Linkedin!



Bill Sherman Here’s a paradox. If you want to develop your organization’s thought leadership, you need to elevate the insights of your people and then help them practice thought leadership. But how do you do that? I asked Zoe Bermant to join me and explore this question. She’s the owner of ZoecialMedia. In today’s conversation, we’re going to talk about the person to person aspect of organizational thought leadership. And then we’ll explore how to put your own self into your thought leadership work and show the right level of vulnerability. We’ll also talk about a tool that she invented and took viral, the Caroself™. And finally, we’ll talk about the need for more women in thought leadership. I’m Bill Sherman. And you’re listening to Leveraging Thought Leadership. Ready? Let’s begin.

Bill Sherman Welcome to the show, Zoe.

Zoe Bermant Hi. How are you today, Bill?

Bill Sherman Fantastic. I’m excited to have this conversation. You and I have talked about several topics, both online on LinkedIn and virtually. And so I want to dive in around thought leadership. And where do you start? Do you start at the company level? Do you start at the executive level? I know a lot of organizations say it’s a brand investment. We’ve got to focus on the brand. But you and I have a different perspective on that. So let me hand off to you to get started.

Zoe Bermant Yeah, you’re right. It’s a brand investment, but the power is in people. And if you think about it, it makes sense. People relate to people. I often use the Elon Musk example, but there’s so many we could pick to show this example. But if you look at the power behind Elon Musk as a brand and what he brings to Tesla and anything that he touches, and you take that right down to any company. If you’ve got executives who are going to leave your company, they’re more invested in your brand than anybody else. And you take a top-down methodology of building a social culture. And they are your your biggest and best ideas and your biggest voice for pain solution. Then your audience will interact and engage with your brand in a much more personal way, and your visibility and your credibility is so much greater. What happens, unfortunately, is many people say, let’s invest in the brand, and they think that that means the company profile or the company page. But it’s really hard to get that credibility because what they what they tend to do is sell, sell, sell, sell, where the best, we’re the greatest, we’re the first. We solve this problem, download this white paper, read this blog, and there’s no human factor to that. And you can purchase so much more through PayPal and that leads to better brand awareness. So it’s a person driven success.

Bill Sherman So let’s continue on that thread. You talked about the difference between download this white paper and I sometimes poke fun of white papers, although I’m guilty of having written them myself. Right. But I think it’s a great example. A white paper tends to be intentionally abstract on the surface, but also has this ulterior motive of the let’s get to a sales conversation. There’s a difference when someone says, here’s an idea that I’ve been thinking about and I’d like to share because the white paper tends to be unsigned and in a corporate voice versus if you post on social and it’s on your social, it’s in your voice.

Zoe Bermant Yeah. You can take a white paper to validate what you say. You can say there’s some amazing statistics in this white paper. If you want more technical detail, detail, it’s in this white paper. But you could tell a story that people can relate to in a in a tone and in a voice that shows you understand their pain and then refer to the white paper. The white paper isn’t the thing. It’s the story, the expertise, the opinion, the conversation, the relationship you have with people. And actually, on LinkedIn is a really cool tool and I don’t think many people even know exist. Everyone knows about that share about which is like the worst thing you can do on LinkedIn right next to it is a send button. So, you know, I don’t know if you’ve even noticed it there, but let’s say you create a post, you tell a story and you’re speaking about things that people can relate to. You can then take that post and send it to specific people, and you can send it to a customer. You can send it to someone you had a conversation with last week in an event and say, Hey, Bill, you know what we were talking about last week? This white paper has lots of amazing information in it that you might find relevant, and you’ve sent it to them privately. You’ve referred to a conversation you’ve had with them and you’re building what they’re actually doing is creating that human aspect of that relationship that’s thought leadership. That’s how you use LinkedIn strategically, rather than relying on an algorithm and sticking out post up the post off the post. That is a white paper click here to download. You’re actually starting to build meaningful interactions around the content that your company has created and bringing the right audience to view it and interact with it in a meaningful way. And that’s powerful.

Bill Sherman I love that example because it ties to something that I deeply believe, which is you can’t just scatter thought leadership to the wind and hope those seeds land where you want them to. The algorithm in this case may work for a content marketing strategy, but you have, whether they are prospects or clients or policymakers, people that your organization that you want to reach with thought leadership that you know by name. And so why don’t you deliver it to them in a way that they would appreciate and give it a little bit of white glove, VIP, valet service? And they go, Wow, you were thinking of me. Now you can’t do it in a salesy way. But like you said, I was thinking of our last conversation. Here’s something you might want to look at.

Zoe Bermant Yeah. And, you know, forcing it on them, offering them a demo. You’re not trying to sell something. It’s just a piece of information and making it personal. That’s like that’s where you win. And I think that if people more people did that and warmed up that audience, I talk all the time about warming up your audience to warming people up. You’re keeping visible to them, you’re keeping part of that relationship. And some of that comes through interaction as well. You sometimes need to actively go and view the profiles and engage with people that you want to be visible to, so that when you post meaningful and valuable content, it’s being seen by those people. It’s not relying on some random algorithm that’s out that you’re actually actively going and making it happen. Feel so and you really can.

Bill Sherman You talk about with that, making an investment in people. Right. First at the executive level. And I think when it comes to thought leadership. Some people have pieces of the skills, but they’ve never put it together in the way that we’re talking about. So, what do you think about when you think about investing in executives and their thought leadership? How do you help them become successful?

Zoe Bermant Let’s be honest. Not everybody can be a thought leader. Absolutely. 100%. It’s one of those terms that I love and hate in equal measure. But everybody is a subject matter expert. And the reason why I say start with your executives is because it creates a culture if there and it’s internal and external, because your thought leaders need to or your executives need to engage with people internally as much as they engage with people externally, it builds that culture. It builds an atmosphere of caring. And it’s not Big Brother’s watching it. Oh, the CEO just liked my post. And you feel validated, and you feel there’s work, so there’s value in that. And the same with your customers. The same value comes to engaging and keeping a relationship with customers and partners and analysts and journalists and influences. And it stretches out. I mean, it’s not one audience. There are multiple audiences here. So, if you stop and you executives, then that starts to filter down into will the CEOs being seen and talking. And I want to be visible to my CEO, I want to be visible to my manager. It filters down through the company. And then it’s not leadership. It becomes subject matter expertise. And this is something that we train a lot when we look at advocacy as a program within a company is how can your employees investing in them? So many people say if they get more active on social, then they’ll go find a job somewhere else. Because while they’re getting active, they’re talking the talk, they’re representing your company, they’re going to go anyway at some point somewhere out your senior executive’s book, which is why you invest the most in them first. But everybody else as it filters down within the company, it’s all about building your strong brand. And the stronger your brand is, the more success you have the most successful have. It doesn’t matter if someone leaves, it just brings you more success. It makes it easier to recruit their replacements. A hundred percent, from recruitment to customer success to customer retention to employee retention. The value of investing in your people, it’s it. You can’t just equate it to one thing across your organization. You will see value.

Bill Sherman There’s so much good there. I want to underline a few things. One, that investment that’s made in your people and the fear of them leaving or what if they stay right? What if you haven’t invested in your people and you have that silence on social across the brand? Or the brand is what most people do most of the time. And if your people are silent and unseen in social, they’re not sharing their subject matter expertise. Guess what? People thinking about joining you for recruitment, they’re not going to do it. Your customers and prospects are going to form an opinion of, well, maybe they’re smart, but I don’t see much about them. And so, happens. Exactly. Exactly. And I the other thing that I want to underline is not only start at the top but start with the willing. Right? It is very hard, especially in the early days of a thought leadership or employee advocacy program, to drag someone over that line if they feel like they’re doing homework right, if they don’t have excitement for it. But once you get a little momentum, there’s a prairie dog effect. Everyone starts popping their heads up and going, Oh, that’s cool. What is this? And like you said, if you get a CEO liking your post as an employee, not only does that feel good, but it also solves some of the question of in a virtual or hybrid work environment, how does a leader lead and manage by walking around? How do you create that intimacy and connection when you can’t just pop in and say hi and someone’s cute?

Zoe Bermant Yeah. I kind of sent it all the way through the organization and as I use the word power a lot, it’s powerful. You know, we run managed services for CEOs. So sometimes when our clients, the CEO is like, it’s one of us doing it together or on behalf of the CEO, the transparency is not as great in that situation. But we do see employees, you know, look at what the CEO has done. And that shows that if the CEO would embrace it and do it themselves, the power that they would bring to their organization is so much greater for the employees. Know that it’s a managed service. It’s not as powerful.

Bill Sherman Right. Right.

Zoe Bermant But in the powers that just has to be tapped into is and you’re right, 100%. Sometimes you just need one person to do it and do it well and then everybody else is that well. Why’s he got all the visibility or she’s got all the visibility? How do I get it? Want to have a piece of that pie and then it’s a trigger effect for the rest of the organization.

Bill Sherman I think you can. Easily get lost in social media by focusing on the technology rather than thinking of it as a tool for relationships and person to person connection and communication. Right. And if you obsess over the algorithm, which we talked about earlier, will lead you astray. Yeah, it’s going to lead you astray. But if you use it as a tool to connect with people, that’s where to use your word. The powers. I see a theme emerging in this conversation.

Zoe Bermant That it’s easy to forget also. You get my down in the algorithm and how many views and how many likes. And one of the of the other rabbit hole you can go down is using it as a sounding board and getting to personal sharing things that are not valuable. And that’s also it’s important. I even I have to remind myself when I’m putting out my own clothes, how is this useful? How is this valuable? What am I sharing that is going to help somebody else so that I’m not just spewing out my own thoughts and things that aren’t necessarily meaningful to anybody else. So those are two big rabbit holes. But I want more like somewhat more views and we see it all the time. I’m pushing on LinkedIn. There are people that just chase those, some of those views and that there’s very little value in what they share and they often even copying other people’s content, which is a really bad practice. And there’s the other one, which is the oversharing and being very personal and not necessarily having a purpose of value and expertise sharing, which is to me, that’s not leadership.

Bill Sherman So there’s a balance point and I agree you can either overshare where you’re almost Instagramming, hey, I had this great meal, here’s a photo sort of thing and everybody goes, Yeah, that’s not LinkedIn content, right? How does this relate to me? And then there’s also the under sharing where people don’t have a sense of who you are, your voice, your story. So, let’s talk about revealing self and vulnerability in an appropriate way for thought leadership. Because if it is a person-to-person activity. You have to include some pieces of humanity.

Zoe Bermant Yeah. I think that that should come true. It’s funny, I was thinking today of a post and I was thinking thought leadership is this, but it’s not that to me. Thought leadership is expertise. I’m an expert in this experience. I have experience with something so you can tell a story or give an anecdote about something, a lesson you learned that could help other people. It’s opinion and it’s conversation. And if you couldn’t fit everything that you share into expertise, experience, opinion, conversations, then that that’s thought leadership. When it becomes you’re telling a story about, you know, your. An interaction you had with the grocer. And it’s a life that’s a life experience, but it’s a very personal one. And he cannot relate it to expertise or relate it to experience in a professional sense that’s oversharing. And I think that if people could differentiate and think it in my professional life, how does this give expertise to someone? How do I share my experience and the things that I’ve learned and lessons in a valuable way? How do we talk about opinions and opinions on industry trends? It could be on know. If you relate to our world, it would be about thought leadership. That’s opinion and conversation. Conversation starters. Would you do something this way instead of that way and then begin a conversation? That’s, I think, how you differentiate in how to put out the right kind of content. And it comes across in your tone, the way you write, putting your personality into it. I always say personal isn’t. You have got an ingrown toenail. Personal is personality. It’s your personality showing your fun side, showing the serious side, showing who you are as a person.

Bill Sherman I’ve found also that, like you said, if you had that experience in the grocery store and you’re thinking about your area of expertise or thought leadership, you’re usually making the connection. Because when you practice thought leadership, most people have a part of their brain that is 24 seven focused on their topic and they have this moment or experience and go, Oh, that helps me see this aspect in a new way. Maybe it’s an analogy, maybe it’s a metaphor, but it brings a complex idea to life in a simple way. As long as you make that connection and that it’s clear for people and they get value. That’s doing well and I think that personality piece the if you when you are posting and sharing sound like a hostage to your own social media. Right. Everybody’s going to read it in your tone or hear it in your voice. You don’t share your joy.

Zoe Bermant You’ve got to share genuine that. That’s at the end of the day, you’ve got to, Sanjay. And it’s a hard it’s a hard balance. You’ve got to be successful. You’ve got to be genuine. You’ve got to give value. But you also need to show your personality and not overstay. And because of that, a lot of people are scared to even get started or that ship has themselves. But there’s so many mechanisms, so many amazing things that you can see on LinkedIn and on social media today to make it easier to do that. On Tik Tok I don’t know if you spend any time on Tik Tok, but on Tik Tok people have, you know, you see the same video again and again with different people telling this story, using the same music and it’s a different world. I don’t live in that world, but on LinkedIn there are mechanisms for it and I even invented one.

Bill Sherman If you are enjoying this episode of Leveraging Thought Leadership, please make sure to subscribe. If you’d like to help spread the word about the podcast, please leave a five star review and share it with your friends. We are available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and all major platforms as well as at Leveraging Thought Leadership dot com.

Bill Sherman Exactly. And I want to go there. I want to talk about the story of the Caroself™, which began with, if I remember correctly, a typo? So what is the Caroself™ and how did it come to be?

Zoe Bermant So a carousel. Let’s start with what is a carousel, because some people call them documents. Some people call them sliders. Some people call them carousels. So I think it’s already nearly a year and a half. Two years ago, LinkedIn gave us the ability to upload a document as a PDF, and people would slide through page after page, and they drive the most phenomenal engagement because the way the algorithm works is every time someone moves from one slide to the next, it’s considered an engagement. And that engagement, if you’ve got five slides, then someone’s going through all five to get to the end. The algorithm thinks, Wow, this is content. People are engaged with and interested in this concept on LinkedIn of dwell time. So, a slider that requires people to slide to six people on the post, six them interested in that, taking an active action to show their interests. So I was talking to someone, I think it was someone on my team that have you’ve interviewed in the past. She’s the director of school leadership and I missed the word carousel, and I wrote Carousel and I’m like, Oh, that would be really cool. What if we had a carousel? That was that yourself? And then you’re encouraged to tell people a little bit more about yourself, and it doesn’t have to be completely professional. This is actually like an opportunity for you to say, Here’s a little bit about me that you might not know. So I did one for myself and it was like who I am. It was something about my name, about where I was born, where I grew up, my interests at what I studied, three things I like, three things I hate. And I kind of built a formula around it called the Carousel. And then I was like, I even could see it going a little viral. So, I wanted to make it viral. So, the first kind of self that I said, I tagged five of the people, some of the main influences and some of them not. And I said, I challenge you to share something about yourself and tell your style. Not everybody did it. Three or four people did it that when they shared their own self, they tagged another five people and asked five more people to do it. And it started this amazing amplification, which, by the way, is it’s an amazing methodology. It doesn’t always work. You can sometimes tag people and they just don’t pick up on it. But what’s nice about the carousel is that people are a little afraid to get too personal, or they were afraid to share that little bit of themselves. They hide behind their professional persona and it is okay not if every post is like that, but I think one of the you are they want to learn a little bit about you and this gives you a mechanism to be able to do that. And the format is really easy and engaging and people pretty much stuck to my formula of who they were, where they went to school, where they grew up. And eventually there is a group called LinkedIn Creators. It has about, I don’t know, 500,000 members, if not more. And they approached me and said that they would like to share it within the LinkedIn creative group. And they did. And within, I think, three or four weeks there were thousands of them going out. And every time one went out, people were tagging five more people. So I actually trademarked this The Carousel. I own the trademark for it just because I wanted to, not because I expect to make any money from it or anything. I just like the idea that I, I started something that became a trend and gives people a comfortable place. I then tried to create the selfie so you could share some selfies of people you’ve met professionally during your time, maybe at an event or something. But I think we were just coming out of quarantine. People were not really sharing photos of themselves with other people, and I and then took it one level higher. I made a carousel so that with cell c l which is a comfortable place for you to sell what you do, tell us what you do. What does it cost? Why are you better than your competitors like actually sell yourself? That didn’t take off either, but the carousel still keeps going and people still keep sharing them. Every week I go in and I. I interacted with every single one that has ever been shared in the tens of thousands. And it’s an amazing it’s an amazing thing to see. And I think its success has been because of that reluctance. And it goes back to the first thing you said today is why do people stop and that. Really taps into that fear of starting off sharing, of putting yourself out there, and it gives you a way to do it that people interact with and a lot of fun. And some of the people some of the influence of shared their carousels have done phenomenally well. I met with Ellie Middleton, who’s a very big influencer on LinkedIn around ADHD and professionalism and workplace. She told me that her carousel. Had hundreds of thousands of views. It’s amazing to watch and to be a part of.

Bill Sherman I love that. It’s an example of how a typo sparks an idea which reaches scale and produces impact. So, there’s a little bit of serendipity in there, but there’s also awareness of this might work. And I thank you also for sharing the ideas that you tried that didn’t. Right. Because one of the things I think with SALT leadership as well is when you’re in your area of expertise, it’s easy for someone on the outside to expect, oh, everything that this person touches is not only smart, but has the golden touch. No, that’s not true. We try a lot of ideas. And even when you practice thought leadership, a fraction of them really reach scale.

Zoe Bermant It’s true. It’s really true. We worked with the head of a technology company with 26,000 employees at a telecommunications tech. And we wanted him to share personal stories. And personal seven is pretty straight. Very narrow. Very interesting. But it was all low code and big data centers and any content was very interesting. And he would interview in his podcast people from IBM and from Intel on very interesting projects and show a little bit of yourself. Finally, finally, finally, after a year of working with him to do a post about family today with a picture of his family, and he started the post with this is not a technical post. He felt the need to, like, justify that it wasn’t a technical point. It was meant to be something else that Klose did so well. And it comes back to that people relate to the whole thing and why the carousel works so well, because it gives you a way to say, it’s okay, I’m going to share something now that’s not technical or it’s not about my business or my profession, my expertise. It’s just about me in a nice way.

Bill Sherman So want to turn to the topic of women in fall leadership? I know it’s something that you have a passion for, as well as something that’s deeply important to me. And so let me hand the conversation to you. What is it that sparks you on that topic and what do you see?

Zoe Bermant Let’s start with the fact that let’s say we represent about. A hundred C-level executives and building thought leadership with them. Ten of them are women. That doesn’t mean there are other female executives. It means that they’re much shyer to get out there and push themselves and show that expertise. And I think that this is not I’m not saying anything that people don’t already recognize and know. Yes, there is a balance between male and female C-level executives. But this isn’t that problem. This is actually about the ones that want to be out there and the ones that are the ones that recognize the value and the ones that don’t. And I actually run every Women’s Day or Women’s Month. I run these seminars for my companies and clients where I go in and I talk about women on social media. What triggers me is how. All the stereotypes, all the things you know about women being more apologetic and being more shy and not wanting to put themselves out there will be seen that they’re, you know, too verbal, a little too aggressive. It carries all the way through the digital persona. And it’s something we need to overcome. It’s something that we need to find a comfortable place for everybody, no matter who you are, to get out there and build a personal brand. It shouldn’t be male dominated. It should be people across the board. And it’s a difficult thing to do. And I see it again and again when we’re meeting with executives, there’s always a quick buy in from men and hesitation from women. And it’s, I don’t have a solution and I don’t have all the answers.

Bill Sherman I think on a couple levels. From my experience, I’ll relate to the podcast and inviting guests for the podcast. First, I when I reach out to guess, the most typical answer I will get from a man if I reach out to them is Sure, I’ll be on the podcast. What’s it about right from a woman? I will get a number of questions to understand and then often say, I’m not sure I’m a fit or I’m not sure I’m ready. And so, I hear that in a respect that but at the same time, one of two things either I push or if they’re genuinely feeling okay, I’ve only been in this role for a short period of time or here’s a better time. I put a reminder on the calendar and say, I’m going to circle back to that person at that point. Because I think one of the things that happens is it’s systemic. So, you were talking about at the executive level, but even at the senior level, right. That is the place where thought leadership one step away from executive level where you can start making a name for yourself. You get the higher visibility opportunity for projects, building your brand within your area of expertise beyond the organization. And it’s such a career differentiator. Long term, if the organization is not investing in women and people who don’t look like today’s C-suite, at least in the U.S., we are losing perspective. We are losing insights. And we won’t change.

Zoe Bermant I’ve got I won’t say who the client is, but I’ve got a very well-known client and there are five senior executives, women to be working with the three men. So, yes, they’re slightly more senior than the two women we were meant to work with. They just went right in there, has no hesitation and the results have been phenomenal. And they are growing month over month in visibility and interactions and the thought leadership is there and it is front and center and we are still a year later struggling to get these women to approve the post. Every post is thought about and then thought about again and then thought about again and rewritten and hesitation again. And I just I keep thinking, if you just do it, if you just put it out there, maybe you might not get as fit right. Or that while they’re hesitating, these three guys, they’re rocking it. And again, if you’re not yet at the top of the company, if you’re not at the top of the food chain, if you’re in the food chain but you’re near the top, you’re just distancing yourself from the opportunity. And at the end of the day, I always say what brand awareness and personal brand brings you is opportunity, whether it’s opportunity to grow within your company, opportunity to go and work at another company, opportunity to have that interaction with a potential customer that you can actually sell to them. That’s what it is. It’s opportunity and then missing those opportunities that every time they hesitate, every time they let their own insecurities get in the way. And as I said, I don’t have the answers case by case. Every time we get a new female executive, I get so excited because for me it’s another opportunity for me to like change someone and show success. And that success brings more women. I’m sure that.

Bill Sherman So as we begin to wrap up. I have a question for you. You’ve been in thought leadership in social media, for one. My question is what advice would you give your younger self when you were just starting?

Zoe Bermant But the question that I would give my younger self the advice to. Scott earlier. I really only have been doing it for the last four or five years intense. And in that for four or five years, I am where I am because of the investment I’ve made. If I’d started much earlier, I’d be much further along. And you know, everyone always thinks I always say there’s no magic wand on social media. You know, these people that join or post something and think it’s going to go viral, or they join and they think they’re going to get a thousand new connections. And it doesn’t happen. Happens from consistency and from value and from being there, from showing up. So, the more you do it, the more you get seen, the more you do it, the more validity you have and credibility you have. So that time that I wasted before I got serious about it, I can’t get it back, but I can keep building on what I have today. So the advice I would give to anyone is just stop. Even if you don’t have the most profound stuff to share, you’ve got to be that. You’ve got to show up 10 minutes a day to 10 minutes a day. And in that 10 minutes, ask yourself, how can I engage with that? I need to be visible to like a post, comment on something, show up. What can I post if you’re going to post something, and who can I connect to who I need in my network and then my connections do that for 10 minutes a day every day. And it will come will naturally. And you know why? Because you’re going to start to get opportunities. They’re going to start to come to you. And when they start coming, you go, Oh, I think that’s optimistic that I’m giving something back from this. And so, you invest another 10 minutes and another 10 minutes, and then you go down the rabbit hole spending all day on LinkedIn.

Bill Sherman And I think that piece of advice of it doesn’t have to be perfect when you start but make the commitment and stick with it because there’s a compounding effect. Your first post probably isn’t going to change the world if you do great. More power to you. But it’s the hundredth post, the thousandth post that have more impact because you’ve shown up and you’ve done the work again and again. Zoe, I want to thank you for taking time for a wonderful conversation today about pollution.

Zoe Bermant I loved every minute of it. Thank you, Bill.

Bill Sherman If you’re interested in organizational thought leadership, then I invite you to subscribe to the RTL newsletter. Each month we talk about the people who create, curate, and deploy thought leadership on behalf of their organizations. Go to the website. and choose join our newsletter. I’ll leave a link to the website, as well as my LinkedIn profile, in the show notes. Thanks for listening, and I look forward to hearing what you thought of the show.

Bill Sherman works with thought leaders to launch big ideas within well-known brands. He is the COO of Thought Leadership Leverage. Visit Bill on Twitter

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