8 Ways You Can Position Yourself to be a Thought Leader That are Proven to Work on LinkedIn
A How-to Guide from the Moving Forward Back to Basics Newsletter on LinkedIn
If it's time for you to take control of your business or career trajectory then this is a basic you will want to get on top of.
You may be hearing the phrase “thought leader” being thrown around quite a bit lately amongst your professional network. If you find yourself wondering why becoming a thought leader is sought out by so many, then you’re not the only one.
A LinkedIn survey found that 58% of respondents read content posted by thought leaders for at least one hour per week. The power of thought leadership often goes underappreciated, but your brand can see remarkable growth by embracing the journey of becoming a thought leader.
By becoming a thought leader, your brand will benefit through:
Brand awareness: As a thought leader, your brand and insight are shared more amongst your peers, followers, and network. As those groups share your content, your insight and expertise will be seen by their connections as well.
Increase your network and followers: The more people that find value in what you have to say, the further the roots of your network will branch out.
Build credibility: If you’re being shared and quoted and asked to speak at events, more people will start to trust what you have to say.
Further your career with new job opportunities, better leads, etc.: Once you have established firm roots as a thought leader, opportunities will start coming to you, so your dream job or dream experience may be around the corner.
Below, we share some tips to follow if you find yourself asking what steps you need to take to reach thought leadership status.
1. Enhance your visibility by optimizing your LinkedIn profile.
We have shared previously how important it is to optimize your LinkedIn profile when you’re venturing into a thought leadership role (or for any professional purpose, really).
A professional photo alone will get you 14x more views on LinkedIn because it is the first thing that the viewer sees. Then, by adding at least five relevant skills in your headline and summary conducive to your industry, you are more than 31x more likely to be discovered and messaged.
Remember that when you are Googled, and you will be for various reasons, LinkedIn will generally pop up number one, two, or three in the search. In order to make a positive first impression, it's critical that you were probably represented
A well-rounded LinkedIn profile should include a professional headshot, industry-related keywords, a visually appealing and brand-related header, and a well-written About/Summary section. You will additionally want to include details of your work and academic experience.
Thought leadership primarily revolves around your insight into the topics and content you are experienced in. Still, by including all of the above criteria, you show your viewers that you are indeed the expert you claim to be.
We don’t trust a doctor to perform surgery on us just because they tell us they know what they’re doing, and we are going to want to see their credentials and dig into their history a bit. To become a well-respected thought leader, your audience will want to know that they can trust what you have to say.
2. Corroborate your expertise by showcasing your skills, endorsements, and recommendations.
When you’re looking to hire a contractor for home renovations, what is the first thing you’re going to do? Likely, you will read reviews on the contractor’s work quality, check their qualifications, and see if they have a portfolio that you can check out.
If you’re entering the arena of thought leadership, your viewers will want to see your credentials before they follow your insight and share it with their network. Otherwise, they risk harming their credibility.
By receiving endorsements and recommendations and highlighting your skills, you prove that you are the expert you claim to be and have a solid record to back it up.
Highlighting your skills will also improve your search engine optimization because it should include keywords that others would search for when looking for someone in your field.
To request a recommendation from your profile:
Click the Me icon at the top of your LinkedIn homepage.
Select View profile.
Scroll down to the Recommendations section and click Ask to be recommended.
Type the name of the connection you'd like to ask for a recommendation in the Who do you want to ask? field.
Select the name from the dropdown that appears.
Fill out the Relationship and Position at the time fields of the recommendations pop-up window, and click Next.
You can include a personalized message with your request by changing the text in the message field.
3. Interact with your following, industry leaders, and potential clients by commenting in groups, via messaging and comment threads.
You can’t build a network without interacting with others. Find groups to be a part of that you can have intellectual discussions related to your area of expertise where you ask questions, answer questions and share feedback on what others are saying.
When you look at already established thought leaders, you will find that they are not only willing to teach, but they are also willing to learn.
Studies show, 78% of consumers are willing to purchase from a company after they have had a positive interaction with a company online, so by commenting and interacting with your followers, you stand to create a more significant impact in the industry you are looking to become a thought leader in.
By positively interacting with your followers, they will see that you care about what they have to say, which means they are more likely to care about what you have to say. This, in turn, increases your brand’s reputation and escalates your connection building.
Suppose you’re not yet a part of any groups or are looking for new groups to join. In that case, you can enter keywords into the LinkedIn search bar and select groups from the dropdown menu, or you can click the work icon located on the homepage and select “groups” from the menu. You can find detailed directions by clicking here.
In addition to joining and interacting in LinkedIn groups, you can make the updates and articles you share interactive by including a poll. The questions can be answered in the comment area or through a CTA (call to action), and this will facilitate further conversations amongst your connections.
4. Nurture your network by connecting with your colleagues and other industry experts.
Even the best of the best can learn more. By connecting with your colleagues and other industry experts, you get the chance to expand on your knowledge bank and stay in the know-how of what colleagues and other experts are doing. Connecting with other experts also allows you to continue to grow your network and increase your connections.
If you don’t have an extensive network or following yet, don’t fret. There are steps to take to increase those areas as well.
This is what our experts at Linkability suggest:
Have a dedicated time each day to spend at least 30 minutes on LinkedIn and or Sales Navigator.
Read and share articles that you find fitting to your brand or are inspirational.
Find influencers that you look up to or respect then follow and engage with their content.
LinkedIn has a library full of resources available at your fingertips to include blog posts, a FAQ section, and a tab that allows you to follow topics rather than individual people. Become familiar with what LinkedIn has to offer. The search bar is your friend. Just take a look at all the areas you can dig into.
Comment and like things that you come across that you enjoy.
We also suggest keeping a notebook (paper, Asana, Trello, or Notes) handy at all times because you never know when further inspiration for content and topics to share your insight on may strike.
5. Share your achievements and re-post insights that are related to your industry.
We should all practice the act of being humble in our personal lives, but when it comes to LinkedIn, it’s okay to boast about your accomplishments loudly and proudly. Are you launching a new business feature? Wonderful! Share it. Did you receive an award in your industry? Congratulations! Share it. Are you furthering your education, or were you asked to be a guest speaker somewhere? Let’s hear it!
Keeping your connections informed of your achievements boosts your credibility rating and further generates brand awareness.
When entering as a thought leader, it’s important to represent how you and/or your brand are growing because, let’s face it, the business world is never stagnant, so we don’t want to become stagnant either.
6. Create blog posts, podcasts, etc., sharing detailed information and thoughts on hot industry-related topics.
Being a thought leader means you not only share the facts about your niche, but you also offer advanced and innovative thinking into new industry trends and fresh insight, and a unique perspective into common industry problems.
Blog posts, podcasts interviews, or video snippets allow you to delve deeper into a subject so that you can show people what you’re made of.
Consider partnering with other industry leaders when creating new content through blog posts, podcasts, videos, etc. This helps you nurture your network (refer back to tip 4) while also opening yourself up to new connections through your guest speaker.
7. Create eye-catching content through photos and videos.
Did you know that attaching a relevant photo to your feed post makes a person 65% more likely to remember the information than a measly 10% if there is no picture attached? A 2018 HubSpot survey also reported that 54% of consumers wanted to see more video content from their support brands. Not to mention, LinkedIn’s algorithms prefer video and photo content. Not only are your viewers more likely to remember the content that you share, but they’re more likely to see it in the first place when you attach photos and videos with your content writing.
Experiment with services such as Canva, biteable, or Vimeo to create high-quality graphics and videos to mix things up and appease all learning styles. Our experts at Linkability suggest combining text, hashtags, and tags with your video, photo, or graphic content.
8. Stay connected by embracing the world of social media.
The way we communicate continues to morph and change. By utilizing platforms such as LinkedIn, Twitter, YouTube, Facebook, and/or Instagram, etc. you increase your visibility and your chance at becoming a thought leader in your market niche.
And remember, when crossing platforms, be sure to share your LinkedIn profile and your other social media business accounts so that your followers can find you everywhere where you’re located and you can build your web presence.
Positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry can feel overwhelming, but in the end, your dedication will make it all worthwhile.
So, get to work on highlighting your best qualities and sharing your knowledge. We can’t wait to watch you grow.