Thought leaders are highly respected within their industries and wield a large amount of influence. Establishing yourself as one on LinkedIn will give your career a big boost. Here is how you can become a LinkedIn influencer to position yourself as a thought leader and trusted industry voice on this business oriented social platform.
Establishing yourself as a thought leader on LinkedIn begins with being able to understand who you are. This is where having an eye-catching LinkedIn profile comes into play. When setting up your profile, think about how you want to be perceived professionally.
The profile headline is where you would want people to see that branding first. Don’t just use it to display your job title. Come up with a unique headline that tells more about:
By telling more about yourself right in the headline, you immediately stand out from other LinkedIn members who might have job titles. Continue that branding into your profile summary by telling people more about your professional story. Use it to highlight your achievements. Or or you can talk about your skill set and why they matter. Work up a few different drafts and discuss them with your peers.
In this example you see the headline which describes more than just her being a writer. She gives a few different descriptions of what she does, discusses her latest project, and gives a method to contact her. This is a good example to follow.
If you have been involved in your industry for quite some time, you have likely created a significant amount of content relevant to it. This could be articles, white papers, or even videos. Take advantage of this marketing collateral by publishing them as a post on your LinkedIn account. Here is a nice guy named Bill doing it:
When choosing which marketing collateral to highlight, consider the current issues that concern your industry. Pick the content that addresses these and work on publishing them first. You will be able to better establish your credibility if people get to read something relevant from you.
To better establish yourself as a thought leader, your name should be visible to people outside of LinkedIn. Fully optimize your profile to make it more discoverable in search engines. You can get a good idea of what other aspects of your profile needs to be optimized just by doing a quick search of your name and studying the results. Customizing your LinkedIn URL to display your name also helps in making your profile more visible in the search results. Here is a guy named Jeff who customized his URL, he should do well on LinkedIn:
Building your LinkedIn profile’s social proof is another essential step. Connect with your colleagues and experts that you have worked with and ask for recommendations. If your work did truly impress them, they will happily comply. Support this initial flow of recommendations by using our LinkedIn Connections Service. The boost in social proof that you will get will vastly increase your credibility as a LinkedIn influencer and thought leader.
The content that you create on LinkedIn will serve as the biggest demonstration of your effectiveness as a thought leader. Build on that premise by creating the right ones for your audience. Just like your earlier marketing collateral, the topics that you focus on for your content should tie with the concerns of your industry. This will make you more relevant to your audience, increasing your influence.
To make your content more recognizable to members of your industry, it needs to have its own identity. This identity should align with the overall persona that you have established earlier for yourself. Here is a guy named Mark who often works on future tech and prosperity issues. If he keeps sharing content like this he may go far:
Establish that identity by putting your personal insights in your content. Go back to your chosen topics and look for other aspects of these topics that have not yet been touched upon by others. Help your audience to relate more to this new angle by using your own experience and personal knowledge as support.
Alternately, you can focus on topics that could potentially be of significance to your industry in the future. Explain to them why that particular topic should be worth considering. Give your own insights on how these concerns can be dealt with. By being a forward thinker, you will be able to better position yourself as an important voice within your industry.
Getting your content read by more people helps speed up your growth as a thought leader. One useful tool for this purpose is LinkedIn’s Pulse publishing platform. Take advantage of the platform’s Pulse app to better reach specific audiences within your industry.
Extend your content’s reach outside of LinkedIn by sharing it on your other social media pages. Share on the sites where your target audience is active. Encourage your audience on and off of LinkedIn to share the content you publish on their own networks.
Create a captured audience by maintaining a steady stream of content. Use a content calendar to plan out the content you are going to release for the month. LinkedIn also provides you with tools to help in content planning, such as:
By running your topics against these tools, you can decide on how to more effectively present them to your audience.
Curating and sharing content will also help pave the way for building you as a thought leader. When people see your LinkedIn profile teeming with insightful content from other creators, they will view it as a valuable resource and be drawn more to you.
When looking for content to curate, consider how these pieces align with your viewpoint. You should also select the ones that will most effectively engage your audience. Get a good idea of the kind of content to curate by taking a look at what your audience shares.
To better connect the curated content with your viewpoint, add your own commentary. Talk about their relevance to you and your audience, providing your own perspective. You can even talk about why you might disagree with some of the points the content raised. This will help you establish your independent point of view and persuade the audience to your side.
Establishing yourself as a thought leader on LinkedIn also requires you to constantly engage your audience. The comments that readers make on the content published and shared on your profile would be the first level of engagement you can do with your audience. Here, your goal should be getting into longer conversations This will give you the opportunity to expand on and better present your views.
Go one step further and start commenting on other members’ content. Being a regular commenter on notable members’ articles will help you be noticed by other users. Choose where you would comment wisely to better position yourself in the eyes of your target audience.
The various LinkedIn Groups centered around your industry also provide a lot of opportunities for engaging your audience and exerting your influence as a thought leader. Join the groups where a large portion of your audience are members. Alternately, you can create your own industry-related group to bring your audience together under one umbrella.
When participating in group discussions, your focus should be on providing additional value to the conversation. As is with commenting on user posts, you can use your own content or the pieces you curated to provide that value. Link to these pieces in the right way to avoid making it look like you are just spamming links.
It is also essential that you don’t hog the conversation. Lead the way for other members to be involved by quoting them. You can strengthen your position as a thought leader this way as you will be seen as valuing other members’ insights.
Connecting with other influencers within your industry can do more than just strengthen your position as a thought leader. These influencers can also serve as mentors who can help you understand and play that role better. They can also help you gain new knowledge about the industry.
LinkedIn can help you identify the right mentors and influencers to connect with through its Career Advice feature. From there, you can start reaching out to them. Get them to help you by demonstrating the value that you can provide to their audience.
To cement your position as a thought leader, you need to establish a relationship with your audience beyond LinkedIn. Increase your presence on other social media platforms like Twitter and YouTube to more effectively reach out to them. You can also create a dedicated blog to cater to them.
In-person interactions with your audience also play a big role in building your authority as a thought leader. Attend industry related events either as a main speaker, or participant. You can also create your own events, like workshops and seminars, to share your knowledge. Daniel Pink did just that at the Wired Business Conference:
For some next level Linkedin influencer work, he will record the conference, shared it on YouTube, share it on Twitter, and to share it on his LinkedIn account.
Building yourself as an influencer on LinkedIn brings a lot of benefits not only to you but to your audience. To solidify your position as one you have to:
By following these steps, you surely rise to the status of a thought leader and become a significant voice in your industry.