How to Establish LinkedIn Thought Leadership in Your Business
Do you want your business to be seen as an industry leader? Wondering how LinkedIn can help you? Here’s how to start developing thought leadership and thought leadership on LinkedIn, three types of content that will help you, and how to choose the image of your business.
Why Businesses Should Consider LinkedIn for Thought Leadership
When most of us think of thought leadership, we tend to think of the more personal social media platforms like Instagram, YouTube, and even Facebook.
LinkedIn is still very much a business and recruiting oriented platform in our minds. Most of the time, people only pay attention to their profiles when they are looking for (or think they may start looking for) a new job opportunity.
But it turns out that one of LinkedIn’s superpowers is that it’s the only social platform that puts business first. It’s the only social network that thrives on your personal profile being more about your business and brand than about you personally.
Of course, the personal is still important because we do business with human beings and smiley faces instead of logos. And while every other social marketing platform available also works best when you humanize and present the face behind your brand, LinkedIn is the only one that allows you to create an entire social page from your business.
#1: Choose who you want to be the face of your brand on LinkedIn
One of the interesting questions that comes up when leveraging personal profiles on LinkedIn and thought leadership is, “Who should a company or brand choose to create that thought leadership profile?”
Obviously, whoever starts optimizing their personal LinkedIn profile to establish themselves as a thought leader in an industry will become a face for your brand. These are people who will be creating regular content that establishes their name and personal brand under the umbrella of the business brand, and in doing so, they will be the first line of interaction with the audience.
So it’s pretty obvious why you should take your time choosing the best person to pull this off. And this role doesn’t have to be restricted to just one person: larger brands can choose multiple people to become thought leaders within their industry.
Here are other considerations for choosing someone to take on a thought leadership role:
- Are they experts in your field and within your business?
They don’t need to be content creation or marketing experts, but they do need to understand the industry and the brand’s place within it, before they can establish themselves as thought leaders.
- Are they willing to present themselves as a face of the brand?
Almost every brand has experts who could fill this role, but they may feel uncomfortable being the center of attention or creating public content and establishing themselves as thought leaders. So make sure this person is comfortable doing it.
- Are they comfortable in front of the camera?
They must be confident enough to be able to speak clearly on camera to help establish the connection with the audience that builds their authority. Some people are amazing and charismatic in person and then freeze on camera, and others whose charisma and presence are always understated in person really shine on video.
Again, you don’t have to restrict yourself to just one person for this role. Companies that invest in building personal brands with their employees as thought leaders in their industry tend to do very well and attract new talent.
Also, if no one in your business seems to fit the criteria, or if you’re a small business just starting out in the thought leadership space, you might consider hiring staff specifically for this purpose.
#2: Optimize a LinkedIn Profile to Build Thought Leadership
The great thing about LinkedIn is that your presence as a thought leader begins with your personal profile. You want to set up and optimize your profile so that it demonstrates your authority as part of your brand within the industry and helps establish you as a thought leader.
When someone visits your personal profile on LinkedIn, they should immediately be able to see what you do, who you help, and the value you provide. This starts with a strong headline throughout your description, featured links, published articles, activity, and content.
Above all, if you want to establish yourself or help establish your staff and employees as thought leaders within your industry on LinkedIn, those personal profiles must be built with the audience in mind. Make it clear who you serve and how, and provide resources that establish authority and thought leadership.
Whether you have one or several people working to become thought leaders on LinkedIn, make sure you have a LinkedIn business page set up. Personal profiles they post will be connected to this page and some of their content (as applicable) may be reused on your page.
#3: Algorithm-Friendly Content Ideas to Establish Thought Leadership
As with any social channel, understanding what the channel is working for and what your audience is responding to are important parts of developing your content strategy.
Although LinkedIn is a social platform that puts business first, it’s about humanizing brands. And part of being a thought leader means you’re adding your personal opinions and perspectives along with value to everything you post.
It goes without saying that if you want to establish yourself as a thought leader on LinkedIn, you need to post thought-provoking and compelling content on a consistent basis.
This means developing a content strategy that aligns with your values and brand goals, and posting that content at a time that works for you.
While you’ll want to diversify your content and try all types of posts, here are three types of content that are currently preferred by both the algorithm and the public.
Polls on LinkedIn are short, multiple-choice quizzes that invite people to vote on a particular topic.
You can post a LinkedIn poll that curates information from your audience, creates an engagement or networking opportunity, or even functions as an audience filter or lead generation tool.
The surveys that tend to work best are the ones where you discuss a personal perspective on a particular topic and how it relates to the business, then introduce the survey, and then ask for some type of engagement in the form of feedback. For example, you can ask the audience to explain their choice in the comments.
This doesn’t mean that every time you want to post a story about yourself, it has to be a poll. You also don’t have to start creating all the surveys to play with the algorithm. While they are the favorites right now and get the most engagement, abusing the algorithm ends up hurting your brand more than helping it.
Most of the time, when we think of carousel posts, we imagine a series of images or graphics, like a carousel post on Instagram.
On LinkedIn, carousel posts act more like a document sharing feature than an image post. LinkedIn Carousel Posts allow you to upload and share a PDF file, which can be created very easily with tools like Canva.
Each page of the PDF becomes a slide in the carousel that the audience can scroll through.
And the really interesting thing about these carousel posts is that they don’t look like images, they’re more like e-books or guides. There may be images embedded in the PDF just like in an e-book, but most of the page contains text.
One important thing to note here is that the PDF content does not include live links.
So instead of publishing your entire PDF to LinkedIn as a carousel post, what you could do is submit your ebook, create a high-level lead magnet from that ebook, and publish it as the carousel.
Make sure the final slide of your carousel post includes a strong call to action, such as “like” and save the post or visit a website, to learn more by downloading the full ebook.
As with any other social media platform, video is a powerful medium for creating content.
Video on LinkedIn allows you to connect with your audience, helping to immediately build trust and authority. Also, people still find it easier to consume information from a video because it takes less time out of our busy lives.
With this in mind, short videos of 30 seconds to 3 minutes tend to perform better on LinkedIn than longer videos.