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How to Be a Thought Leader on LinkedIn

I think most know the basic LinkedIn best practices—connect with everyone you meet at a tradeshow, join groups comprised of people in your field, etc. But I think there are definitely missed opportunities for expanding the reach of our expertise on this platform. Here are five tips for using LinkedIn more effectively in order to spread your thought leadership:

  1. Boost your LinkedIn profile with already existing pieces: This step does require some time if you’re starting from scratch. But the “media” section of your profile should be chock full of relevant, exemplary content you’ve worked on—papers, eBooks, white papers, presentations. To highlight your industry knowledge, make sure the pieces that appear at the top of the list speak to a current hot topic in your field.
  2. Share actively, and always provide insightful commentary: Just as you tweet a link to a compelling long-form journalism piece with a line of context you write yourself, you can and should do the same on LinkedIn. On a daily basis, you should share a link to something interesting or useful to your connections. Your introduction to the piece should include a personal anecdote or a real-life industry lesson you’ve learned. There’s no need to be excessively wordy, but bringing the topic of the content you’re sharing back to you is what makes people pay attention to your post—and makes you appear knowledgeable.
  3. Start a group for your area of expertise: Now of course we’re all very busy, and creating and maintaining a group takes up a good amount of time. However, it’s a great way to establish yourself as a thought leader on a niche topic. Research the active groups that your colleagues belong to, and try to fill a gap. Attract members from outside your connection circles by creating a title with targeted keywords. Post every few days until conversations start without your initiation. Then you can step back and comment when needed to boost certain posts or when you have something particularly valuable to say.
  4. Use the Publications feature: Publications can be used to repost content that has been previously published or original content. Either way, make sure you include a picture and offer solutions rather than just opinions for maximum engagement. If you’re using preexisting content, simply include a link at the end that says “This originally appeared at…” This will get extra eyes—eyes that may not follow your blog—on the great insight you have to share.
  5. Write recommendations for others: This is truly a mutually beneficial tactic. Your distinguished colleagues get a shout out, and you get exposure to your connections’ networks. It’s simply about expanding your LinkedIn footprint. The more people can see you, the more potential you have for profile visits. And the more that people visit your profile, the more your great content and expertise will be seen.