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3 Tips to Become a Thought Leader on LinkedIn

Focus on these three strategies to stand out.

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At the end of 2021, I compiled the social performance of my company to answer this question: Where should I focus my time, money and energy in 2022 to grow my personal brand and thought leadership?

I believe in concentrating and providing value on two main platforms: a primary and secondary channel.

To answer my question, I went to Google Analytics. I looked at my social acquisition data and realized that although Facebook and Pinterest brought in the most amount of traffic, the bounce rate was high, and the average time per session was low. My most quality leads were coming from LinkedIn and YouTube.

As a digital strategist for nonprofits, this insight into YouTube and LinkedIn content was really interesting. The mindset and intent are very different on these social media platforms versus when you're scrolling through Instagram or Facebook. The topics and conversations are also focused on business; 4 out of 5 LinkedIn members drive business decisions. Based on data from FindStack.com, of the 690-plus million users with 310-plus million monthly active users, only three million share content weekly. That's less than 1% of the monthly active users!

Related: What Exactly Is Thought Leadership?

With far less noise on LinkedIn, how can you create platform-specific content to become a thought leader on LinkedIn? Here are three best practices for business leaders.

1. Create a LinkedIn newsletter

A LinkedIn newsletter is similar to a blog hosted by LinkedIn. Determine the topic(s) you'd like to write about and a cadence for publishing.

What makes this tool so powerful is once you create your newsletter and hit publish, it sends a notification to everyone that's connected to you or follows you. When sharing quality original content, this generates incredible trust, credibility and engagement as well.

Within one day of creating my first newsletter, I had over 450 subscribers to my newsletter, Missions to Movements. After sharing my second newsletter one week later, 673 subscribers. It would be extremely difficult to grow an email list this quickly.

How do you create a LinkedIn newsletter as part of your thought leadership strategy? When you go to create a post, select "article," and you'll be brought to the article-creation page. In the upper right-hand corner, next to the publish button, you'll see another option that says "create a newsletter." Voila! Create your newsletter name and add a logo.

Related: 7 Tips for Using Your LinkedIn Profile as Your Personal Branding Website

2. LinkedIn live

I started using LinkedIn Live twice a month in 2021 and noticed a consistent increase in growth.

According to LinkedIn for Business, live videos receive seven times more reactions and 24 times more comments than native videos.

You do have to apply to broadcast live across LinkedIn, but this also means there's far less live content to compete with than on other social media channels. This tool is another great way to become a thought leader on LinkedIn because once you go live, a push notification is sent out to your followers and connections alerting them that you're live. If they're already on LinkedIn, a pop-up will appear on the screen.

There's something powerful about video that allows people to authentically connect with you as a thought leader — building your know, like and trust.

Related: 10 Tips to Developing Your Personal Brand Through Thought Leadership

3. LinkedIn feed content

I was blown away by the attention this post received: over 50,000 views, 900 likes, 130 comments and 68 shares. Why? How?

A lot of posts on LinkedIn are from people sharing articles with a small note above with their personal opinion. Cool, thanks for sharing, but not really packing the punch of a thought-provoking discussion.

I choose to share more vulnerable and real-life situations on my LinkedIn account, like the post above, that are relatable to my audience of primarily nonprofit professionals. To be a true thought leader on LinkedIn or any platform for that matter, you have to be willing to get personal. Share the why behind your thoughts and opinions.

I've noticed that text-only content for feed posts with a strong hook as the first sentence performs the best. Engagement is also key. When you reply to someone who commented on your post, tag him or her back in your response and ideally ask another question to keep the conversation going.

Social media provides a two-way communication channel. Often we publish something and forget about it, but that's not why these platforms were created. They're designed to build meaningful connections and relationships.

Related: 5 Quick Fixes to Improve Your LinkedIn Profile

To become a successful thought leader on LinkedIn, I'd recommend starting here:

  • Research like-minded professionals in your field. What are they sharing and where are the gaps?

  • Create a LinkedIn content strategy you can commit to. What can you consistently commit to? As entrepreneurs, our time is split across so many different things. To do this right takes time and effort.

  • Write a list of topics you're an expert on and brainstorm article or video ideas. Too busy or don't love writing? Hire a freelance writer or company to come up with a strategy, understand your brand voice and write posts for you.

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