How to Become a Thought Leader on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is the number one channel that B2B marketers use to distribute content, with 94% using it as a distribution channel. As LinkedIn quickly approaches 700 million members, it has cemented itself as the primary digital channel to engage with professionals and decision makers. Because of this high-value network that can be found on LinkedIn positions it as a perfect tool to engage in thought leadership. But before we dive into some tactics to become a thought leader on Linkedin, let’s define exactly what it means:
Key definition: A thought leader is an individual or firm that is recognized as an authority in a specific field and whose expertise, talent and experience are sought and often rewarded. Thought leadership can occur on a digital platform through content sharing and posting but it can also take place in the form of speaking engagements, conferences and networking events.
Thought leadership is an effective way to engage in content marketing, and this is backed up by a number of studies showing its benefits. Most notably, Moon Dust Agency found that 47% of executives and decision makers thought that thought leadership content had a direct impact on awarding business and even more strikingly, 49% of B2B buyers said their opinion of a company decreased after reading poor quality content or finding a lack of thought leadership. These numbers show that thought leadership is not trivial, and it should be treated as a significant marketing tool coming forward. This is reflected by thought leadership being one of the main buzzwords going into 2020.
It’s important to note that anyone can be a thought leader within a niche field. Whether you are Warren Buffet changing the course of the S&P 500 with a single twitter post or you’re a marketing manager making waves within the Polish ERP software category, thought leadership is always worthwhile.
Now that we’ve summarised thought leadership and its increasingly prominent role, let’s look into some strategies on how to become a successful thought leader on LinkedIn.
Find your Niche and Target Audience
This is a crucial step in becoming a thought leader and it involves defining what your focus field and audience will be. It’s important to pick an area where you can bring something unique and innovative based on your experience and personal story. Moreover, you must find an audience that can relate to your history, for example in terms of the obstacles or challenges you’ve overcome to get to this point.
Define your Brand
An essential way to gain traction within a sector is to have a defined personal brand clearly representing what value you bring to your category. An effective way to do this is to combine “expert zones” to find your “genius zone”. A “genius zone”, as described in “The Big Leap” by Gay Hendrick, is an intersection between two fields where you have expertise which enables you to make a unique contribution.
Optimise your Profile
Your profile should reflect the personal brand that you previously designed. Investing in a professional photo that suits your industry is a must, as well as a matching bio and banner image. Furthermore, identify 5 keywords that are oftentimes associated with your field and use them throughout your profile, as well as within all the content you share. A tag line that represents your personal brand should be used in your title and when appropriate in posts or content.
Broaden your Network
Broadening their professional network is one of the most valuable options that LinkedIn provides to its members. This can be done by sending out connection requests, which can be a great way to connect with other thought leaders or to build an audience. It’s important to note that there are limits on the number of invites one can send a day before getting banned or restricted, so tread carefully.
Publish and Create Relevant and Compelling Content
Creating and posting content that appeals to your audience is one of the fundamental components of thought leadership. Informational and educational content can be particularly valuable and personal-life content can be more engaging. If you aren’t sure what to focus on, asking your audience what content is sought after can be an effective way to decide what to write about. Conjointly, taking advantage of all formats is essential, from images and articles to video. In fact, at the moment video content is particularly rewarded by the LinkedIn algorithm, even if it’s not particularly professional.
Post Socially Conscious Content
44.4% of LinkedIn members donate to charity almost on a weekly basis, the website that comes closest is Twitter, with 12.1%. This leads to the notion that LinkedIn users respond positively to cause-related content and this is supported by the fact that many of the top thought leaders in the world have in share support for one or more causes.
Engage with your Audience’s Content
Liking, commenting and sharing your audience’s content is also a constructive way to build honest long-standing relationships on the platform. Although the time invested in this might not generate the same amount of followers as posting your own content, one high-quality comment on a high-performing post can lead to a significant amount of exposure.
American consumers say authenticity is one of the top qualities that attract them to a brand. This should be reflected in the content you post and how you frame your posts. Don’t take a “salesy” approach, focus on sharing insights and personal experiences. If users like you, they will buy from your brand without you having to take on a sales tone. If you’re looking to use LinkedIn primarily for direct sales, feel free to check out our article on the topic.
Joining groups related to your sector can be an effective method to interact with your audience and to share your content on other locations besides the newsfeed. Creating your own group for a specific niche is another fruitful way to gain notoriety.
Connect with other Thought Leaders
You can find influencers on LinkedIn by searching for the hashtags for a specific sector. Sending your original content to these influencers and organically interacting with them can help establish yourself as a thought leader as well.
If you want to look more closely into how to become a thought leader on LinkedIn, here is a video learning course made by LinkedIn definitely worth looking into.