Thought leaders are credible experts in their field. They know their industry, and they know how to explain complicated topics to their audience. The question is how to get that information to the people who need to see it.
There are many outlets for thought leaders to spread their knowledge and build their audiences. One of those channels is often overlooked. LinkedIn provides a great opportunity to reach a large audience of interested readers. Here's why you need to be a part of the LinkedIn community and how to position yourself as a thought leader on the platform.
Giving a face to the name
LinkedIn provides a unique opportunity for people to read what you write, then easily learn more about you as a person. When you post here, you're more than just an avatar and a one-line bio. You're a real person with work experience, connected to companies and groups, with professional connections that will say a lot about you. It's a chance to let people see who you are and why they should be listening to you as an authority.
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Here are a few tips for improving your LinkedIn profile to position yourself as a thought leader:
Use your headline as a first impression to introduce followers to what you're passionate about.
Write a summary that lets people know who you are, what you do and how you can help them
Include media in your profile. Use eye-catching images and video to highlight campaigns you've worked on and spotlight yourself as a thought leader.
Reaching your audience
Did you know that 562 million people are signed up on LinkedIn, as of September of this year? Further, 40 percent of them are active on the site daily, checking out content from their connections and reading articles others are posting. That's a huge number of people who could be exposed to your message with one simple post.
Every time someone logs in, they're in the mindset of learning about career skills and connecting with others in their industry. They're ready to hear about what you, as a thought leader, have to say. This is what makes LinkedIn the prime spot for sharing your thought leadership expertise.
Using LinkedIn tools
LinkedIn provides various tools for publishing content and reaching a wide audience. Those tools include company pages, sponsored content, Showcase Pages and SlideShare. Using all of them together can help you develop a LinkedIn strategy for best showcasing your work. Here's how to use them.
Company pages – Use your company page as a landing page for anyone who sees your content and wants to learn more about what you're doing. Readers can look at your personal profile to learn about you, but they'll also want to know about the company and how your thought leadership is shaping that company. Post your content on your company page to reach customers, employees and followers.
Showcase Pages – These are extensions of your company page used to spotlight specific projects or branches of your business. Set up and use Showcase Pages to focus on a narrower audience that will be receptive to your specific messages.
Sponsored content – As on other social media sites, creating sponsored content on LinkedIn allows you to pinpoint your target audience so you have control over who sees your messages. You can also set your budget based on CPM or CPC. Use the analytics this tool provides to discover which messages are working and where you should be focusing your content.
SlideShare – In a survey, 32 percent of marketers said that visual images were the most important form of content for their business. SlideShare allows you to take your thought leadership to a new level by putting it into a visual form.
Consistency is key
A benefit and a drawback to social media is the constant influx of new information. There's always something new to see, and it's important that you don't let your voice get lost in the crowd. Posting new content consistently will help ensure that you always show up in your network's feeds and your content is always being shared.
That said, there's another number to keep in mind. Only 1 million users have published an article on LinkedIn. With such a large number of active users, that number seems pretty small. When you post content, you'll be part of a smaller group of thought leaders taking advantage of the opportunity LinkedIn provides to reach an audience.
With a large audience at your fingertips, a solid message to share and the ability to create a consistent posting schedule, you have everything you need to make LinkedIn work for you.