You are here because you want to get some star power on LinkedIn. It’s ok, you can say it. You want know how to be an influencer on LinkedIn. Even if you’re a nano-influencer which is the term for someone with a following between 1,000 and 10,000 online, it’s rewarding to make an impact.
Perhaps you have a product or a service that you offer, or you want to improve your personal brand. LinkedIn is a great place to support those goals.
LinkedIn has historically had substantial organic reach but it’s always had kind of a…snooze factor. I mean it’s the business social media network. Boring right?
However, since its acquisition by Microsoft, LinkedIn has turned into kind of a hoppin’ place to scroll. There is still room for more influencers to stake their claim, so long as they are on their game.
Dropping external links to your website and hoping to make it big will not work here. You have to offer your followers high-quality, valuable content to gain influencer status on the platform. Let’s get you to nano influencer and mega influencer status on LinkedIn.
What is a LinkedIn Influencer?
By now, you’ve likely heard of influencers. Although the picture of a TikTok teen come to mind, influencing is much broader than curating an aesthetic feed. The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines an influencer as someone “who inspires or guides the actions of others.”
This goes beyond influencing purchasing behavior; one can influence others to learn, grow, help others, support crucial social change and improve their confidence.
How to become an influencer on LinkedIn
The number one rule of growing a following on any social media platform is that your content’s quality must be excellent. As more and more people flock online to communicate and sell, the expectations of consumers have risen. Users are savvy and can tell when a post is solely self-promotional. That’s a problem because users want what they read on LinkedIn to help solve a problem for them. Your posts should educate, entertain or inspire your followers at a high level; otherwise, no amount of luck, timing, content type, or consistency will help you become a LinkedIn influencer.
With that clarification in mind, here are a few ways to give your high-quality content the best chance of spreading and give yourself the best opportunity to become a LinkedIn influencer.
Optimize your profile
When you are posting high-value, shareable content, you’ll be getting more profile visits. It is essential to make the best first impression when someone takes the time to click to your profile.
- Make sure you utilize the Header Image to show your other social media handles, products/services, and show why people should trust you. Canva has great templates to help make this easier.
- Choose a professional, well-lit photo of your face for the Profile Picture.
- Create a Headline that both showcases why people should trust you and includes a little personal tidbit to make you human.
- In your About Summary, focus on storytelling, suggests Houston Golden, founder of BAMF and author of The LinkedIn Bible.
With frequent LinkedIn posting
The more you post quality content, the more chances you have of hitting the viral jackpot, so to speak. The success of each post depends a lot on initial engagement. If you post and no one sees your post for the first several hours, that was a wasted opportunity. If you post and the content gets engagement right off the bat, that engagement will propel the post via algorithmic power to land in front of more of your followers. And if people find the post helpful or relatable, they will reshare, and that’s when the momentum really starts building.
Frequent LinkedIn videos
Although video is not getting the same boost in organic reach by the algorithm that it once had, video is a highly engaging format that plenty of your followers may prefer. Remember that even here, quality is queen. LinkedIn is working on its own version of Live Streaming, stories, and events, where lower quality but highly authentic and human video will thrive in 2021, so look into those modifications to reach more of your followers.
You can engage by commenting and sharing other people’s posts. The best way to maximize the impact of engaging is by first engaging with people who fit your ideal customer avatar and secondly engaging with related but non-competitive businesses. By finding companies that are not your direct competitors but have similar followers, you can cross-pollinate and grow together. You can also collaborate with these businesses.
Content types that the algorithm does NOT promote:
Sharing external links:
This follows a trend in other social media platforms. When you share an external link, it means there is a chance that a user will click away from LinkedIn; and they don’t want that. All social media companies make their money off of keeping users on their site, so external links threaten their business model.
Writing LinkedIn Articles:
You would think that LinkedIn would want to promote one of their creations, and they certainly did at first. However, once writers started only sharing the first portion of their article and linking to their own blog for the rest of the article (thereby luring readers off of LinkedIn), the tech company changed the algorithm. It’s now thought that Articles have the second-lowest organic reach after external links.
LinkedIn Influencer Case Studies
They say the best way to learn is through doing. However, the second-best way to learn is perhaps to learn by watching. For that purpose, I have compiled three top LinkedIn influencers that you can gain inspiration from, each from a different industry: Marketing, Technology/Startup, and Self-Development. All three of these people ranked in the Top 20 American Voices of LinkedIn for 2020.
Marketing: Sean Gardner
Digital Marketer and AI Specialist Sean Gardner made the 2020 list of LinkedIn Top Voices in the United States. He has given keynote addresses on digital strategy to NATO Headquarters, Harvard University, Google, the Smithsonian, and many more organizations. Forbes recognized him as a Social Media Power Influencer. He also co-founded the Huffington Post “Twitter Powerhouse Series.” Even with all those commitments, Gardner makes time to post regularly on LinkedIn and engage with other people’s posts. That consistency and engagement maximize the impact of his high-quality, helpful and timely content. He suggests that businesses on LinkedIn form connections through content that spotlights their employees, shares their unique knowledge, features client success stories, and gives an inside look into how their products are made. He has a total of over 47.5 thousand followers on LinkedIn.
Technology/Startup: Eric S. Yuan
Eric S. Yuan is the Founder and CEO of Zoom. Before 2020, Zoom was not as much of a household name, to say the least. However, with the world-changing events of 2020, Zoom was thrust into the front of everyone’s consciousness. As Zoom became one of the main ways people connect with others during the pandemic, Yuan also stepped up to facilitate connection through LinkedIn. His content on the platform led LinkedIn to name him as one of LinkedIn’s Top Voices of 2020 in the United States. He was recognized for his storytelling through LinkedIn content, sharing how Zoom was adapted to meet educators’ needs, weddings, entertainment, and individuals. He has high engagement on his posts, a consistent posting cadence, and strong follower growth– all qualities that signify a strong LinkedIn presence. Notably, his content is also of high quality; his contributions are insightful, conversational, timely, and are not self-promotional. His account has over 54.5 thousand followers.
Self-Improvement: Gretchen Rubin
With over 2.9 million followers on LinkedIn, Gretchen Rubin has perfected LinkedIn influencing. Rubin is the author of several bestselling books, including the #1 New York Times bestseller The Happiness Project. She hosts the weekly podcast “Happier with Gretchen Rubin” with her sister Elizabeth Craft, blogs on the pursuit of happiness, speaks on TV and for organizations like Google, Facebook, Yale Law School, and many more. The key to her success on LinkedIn comes down to her consistency, tone, and content of her posts. She posts at least several times a week and engages with and shares others’ posts. Her tone is conversational, helpful, and familiar. To top it off, she predominantly shares how to be happier– and aren’t we all interested in that topic?
Becoming an influencer on LinkedIn is still possible, even if you have not been active on the platform previously. If you want to pursue this avenue for gaining exposure for your products, services, or personal brand, be consistent, be helpful and provide high-quality content. With those three key points in mind, you will grow a following and expand your LinkedIn influence.