Five Smart Ways to Achieve Thought Leadership Positioning That Are Proven to Work on LinkedIn
Did you know, if someone were to Google your name, your LinkedIn profile would likely be one of the top 3 searches to show up? Here's what you need to know to start making that work for you.
According to an Edelman and LinkedIn collaborated study that was conducted over three years amongst 3,275 global business decision-makers, 89% of decision-makers stated that the thought leadership within an organization impacted their perceptions of the company, and 59% agree that a company's thought leader plays a more impactful role in how they perceive their trustworthiness over traditional marketing tools.
Think about some well-known and successful entrepreneurs. Names like Elon Musk, Dolly Parton, Larry Page, Richard Branson, Carly Fiorina, or Michael Dell may come to mind. These names not only revolutionized their respective industries, but they also helped to revolutionize the world around them; but what makes these entrepreneurs such influential leaders?
What did they do to stand out and become top thought leaders in their market niche? Yes, they are passionate, and yes, they are undeniably brilliant, but those two things alone do not earn a professional the title of "thought leader."
The key to thought leadership is offering advanced and innovative thinking. You want your market clientele to know that you will not only have the answers that they are looking for, but you will also offer a unique, well-spoken, and intelligent perspective rather than a vague, robotic response.
When we look at professionals such as Sara Blakely, she didn't simply say, "Hey, I have this problem, but I will just continue about my day and let someone else handle it." Blakely instead used her intuition and then offered a creative answer to help women with their undergarment wear.
She then continued on this innovative path to "Do it differently. Take a different approach" by thinking outside of the box and being willing to not only fail but also teach others about her successes and her failures. By doing so, she has gone on to become a well-known, well-respected industry thought leader.
As a budding thought leader, how can you take a different approach in today's tech-heavy society?
You can begin by representing yourself and your brand on LinkedIn. With a community of 800 million users expanded over 200 countries and regions worldwide, LinkedIn stands as the number one platform used amongst professionals.
With such a vast outreach, it goes to say that LinkedIn is the perfect place to begin when looking to become the sought out thought leader in your area of expertise.
If you find yourself asking, "Where do I start?" then you have come to the right place. At Linkability, there are five key steps that we recommend taking to set yourself on a trajectory to becoming a well-known thought leader within your industry through LinkedIn.
Tips to Becoming a Thought Leader through LinkedIn:
Did you know, if someone were to google your name, your LinkedIn profile would likely be one of the top 3 searches to show up?
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You may not like it, but it's true. Think about who may see your profile. Could it be a potential new client or a prospective employer? Maybe it's an existing client or your current employer or employee.
What will your profile say about you on their google search? Are you proud to show it off, or is it in need of a serious makeover?
Here are a few tips to consider when glancing over your LinkedIn profile:
Update your profile and banner image to a professional image and graphic that accurately represents you and your brand as a professional. Take into consideration the colors and the vibe you want associated with your brand. Does your picture and banner graphic show you as low-key, fun, and playful, as a solid professional, or maybe a little bit of everything?
When filling in your headline, do not simply regurgitate your job title. You want your headline to be clear, compelling, and specific, but in a simple way. Think about popular keywords that are inclusive to your industry that will get you noticed in a search while also offering unique value to those that view your profile.
Does your summary reflect the work that you're claiming to be an expert in? Do you use the right keywords to accurately represent you as a thought leader in the area you desire?
Do you offer quality content such as articles that you have written or conferences where you've spoken? Your profile should offer a window into your profession and you as the thought leader in that profession.
With so many professionals looking to seek thought leadership positioning, you must set yourself apart. Having a well-rounded LinkedIn Profile that compels your audience to want to learn more about who you are and what you offer is a great place to start.
This one is important. Your message must speak directly to the individuals you are looking to educate, inspire and inform.
A manufacturing executive will likely be searching for different content than an HR manager, and a person in finance will want something other than a medical professional.
Decide who your target audience will be and then research what kind of content and what topics will best suit that audience to tailor what you offer, what you share, and what you create based on what your audience will want to see read.
We know that you're passionate, but remember that you need to speak to your audience about their interests and speak in a way that allows them to understand and engage in the conversation.
They attend conferences and meetings, and other events where they get to speak and share their expertise. They write books and/or articles for their audience to read and learn more about their given topic. Established thought leaders have shown their audience that their expertise has been heard, quoted, and sought out. They have established the necessary relationships to be seen as trusted sources.
When you become "published," you're showing your audience that you are a qualified expert, which builds their confidence that they can trust what you have to say. If you have been interviewed, quoted, or had the chance to be a guest speaker somewhere, share those conversations with your audience. If you haven't had those opportunities yet, start reaching out to find where you can speak and be heard.
While you're seeking out those public speaking opportunities, you can write content and articles discussing the hot topics that your target demographic wants to hear.
The best part? These the opportunity to self publish articles, share educational video, hold an event, etc. are free through LinkedIn, so you can get started with a bit of effort and consistancy, not a huge outlay of cash.
Have you already been interviewed? Great, you're already ahead of the curve! Share that interview on your LinkedIn profile so that your followers and prospective followers can hear what you have to say. If you don't have any pre-recorded interviews or guest speaker events, that's okay too. You can record yourself via Zoom and begin sharing your expertise with the world.
If you need help creating professional, attractive videos that your audience wants to see, you can look into "Biteable" or "Vimeo" services. These services are easy to use and offer you creative ways to share your content.
By developing a consistent routine to interact with your followers at least 3x per week for 15 minutes, you are more likely to create quality connections and grow your network. Set your alarm, write it in your calendar, do whatever you need to do to tend to your LinkedIn profile regularly, and you will be well on your way to having a robust and well-connected network.
Becoming a thought leader is an accomplishment to be proud of, so once you have completed these five steps, start reaching out to make connections.
Whether you want to become the next Elon Musk or a well-respected professional in general, you must remember that your network and your contacts are who will help you become a thought leader.
If you have a well-rounded profile that includes videos and articles, you are more likely to gain the connections you desire.
If all of these things feel a bit too overwhelming, that's okay too. You can partner with a company like Linkability and we will help you create a top-notch Profile and create and share powerful content.
Now get out there, get seen, and find those opportunities that go along with becoming a thought leader in your market.
The Moving Forward Newsletter is a bi-weekly advice column by Kim Peterson Stone, the CEO of Linkability.us where we give you a peek behind the curtains into what it takes to put together campaigns that help you grow your business and career on LinkedIn and in Real Life.
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