How to Use LinkedIn to Become a Thought Leader in Your Niche
LinkedIn now has 660+ million users in over 200 countries and territories worldwide zhat’s twice the population of the United States on one social media platform. If you’re a professional looking to build a personal brand or branch out as a thought leader in your niche, then LinkedIn represents serious opportunity.
Being a thought leader is a worthy goal in principle. You’ll position your brand as an expert in your industry and become incredibly influential among your audience.
However, building a thought leader persona and becoming respected in your niche’s community takes relentless focus, commitment, and positivity – it won’t happen overnight.
There’s no defined path for becoming a thought leader, but there are some best practices for making your mark on LinkedIn.
Define Your Thought Leadership Goals
Is this just another idea you had? Or are you committed to regularly putting out high-quality content on LinkedIn to build your influence?
If you’re all in, then take a hard look at what you can bring to the table. Start by answering these questions:
- Where is there a knowledge gap in the market?
- What do you have a passion for or special expertise in?
- Which subjects do you know well enough to teach?
- What skills do you need to learn to elevate your skills?
- What results would you like to see in a year? Two years?
Remember, you can’t be all things to all people – nor should you want to be. Appealing to the masses is hard. Do yourself a favor and focus on specializing in your niche so you can truly stand out and make a difference right away.
Once you’ve determined what kind of thought leader you want to be, you’ll want to start thinking about what executing that plan looks like.
How much time can you commit to creating your content and engaging with your audience? Be specific. What exact hours of the day or days of the week will you set aside to do so?
Pinpoint Specific Tactics To Deploy
Right off the bat, you need to decide what position you’ll take in your niche. You can try walking the line and staying in the middle, but that rarely gets people talking. Instead, have strong opinions. Show conviction. Be controversial if necessary.
Consider creating native video content on LinkedIn – it gets on average 3x more engagement than text posts, and LinkedIn found that native video is 5x more likely to start a conversation among LinkedIn members than other content.
If you go that route, take the extra step to optimize the video with subtitles. According to LinkedIn, 80% of video content on the platform is watched with the sound off.
Create Compelling Content
It’s important to post on LinkedIn frequently enough to grow and keep a captive audience. However, you don’t want to post just for the sake of posting – you want your content to be hard-hitting content they’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.
Make it relevant, value-rich, and spend extra attention on crafting a powerful first sentence to capture their attention.
Here are a few ideas to get you started:
- Share big moments such as a photo or video of you on stage in front of an audience while giving a talk
- Interview passionate people in your industry about their jobs
- Chat with customers for live case studies
- Teach people something interesting or dispel some industry myths
- Give people a behind-the-scenes look into your profession
- Hype up future product or service offerings by teasing some of the details
Use relevant hashtags to draw even more attention to your post and do some research before posting to see if you have any value to bring to trending topics. It’s also a good idea to avoid selling anything in your posts – these aren’t sales pitches.
Regularly Engage With Your Audience
Posting next-level content is undoubtedly a huge step to becoming a thought leader on LinkedIn. However, that alone won’t get you there.
Your audience will want to interact with you and ask you questions, and it’s critical that you carve out time for them. Put yourself out there by responding to comments on your posts. Comment on other people’s posts and share their content as well.
While you’re at it, try actively engaging people by asking thought-provoking questions. Push people to start a conversation in the comments. Get creative. Describe an offer in a post and give it away to people who respond in the comments.
Drive even more engagement by connecting with other thought leaders and influencers. Collaborate with them on content or tag them in your posts and ask for their input.
Keep expanding your reach by introducing people or joining LinkedIn groups. Once you have a solid following, you can also try starting your own LinkedIn group to gather your audience and other key industry players to keep fostering conversation. The sky’s the limit here.
As you embark on your journey to conquer LinkedIn and become an industry thought leader, remember that people won’t remember exactly what you say. What they will remember is how you make them feel. Whether that’s by offering sound advice, pushing them out of their comfort zone, or simply brightening their day and giving them hope.
Decide early what kind of impact you want to have and make an effort to be a positive force in your industry. These guiding principles will help you stay focused and motivated on your way to thought leadership.
What Do You Think?
Have any other ideas for becoming a thought leader in your industry? Share your tip in the comments below:
Sujan Patel is a partner at Ramp Ventures & co-founder Mailshake. He has over 15 years of marketing experience and has led the digital marketing strategy for companies like Salesforce, Mint, Intuit and many other Fortune 500 caliber companies. You can follow or tweet him @sujanpatel
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