Becoming a Thought Leader on LinkedIn

A “thought leader” is someone who’s positioned themselves as an expert in a given profession, interest, or business. Being a thought leader has tremendous advantages.

  • You get more and better clients.
  • You get hired to speak at events.
  • Your business flourishes.

If you’re wondering how you could become viewed as a thought leader by your peers, you’re in the right place. LinkedIn is the perfect platform for you too!

Think about the thought leaders you know of like Gary Vaynerchuk, Tony Robbins, Simon Sinek, or Brené Brown. Why do you think of them as thought leaders? Is it because someone just told you that they were? Probably not! It’s because every time you turn around you see a book or video that Gary or Tony did.

In online marketing terms, it’s because they have an amazing amount of content online that consistently builds the idea that they’re thought leaders and reinforces that idea.

You can do the same yourself, and you can do it on LinkedIn! As a matter of fact, LinkedIn is the perfect place to “thought leaderize” yourself, if you’re a business person. Why? Because it is the business platform par excellence! Here’s what you need to do to get the ball rolling.

You need content and a lot of it.

You need status updates, blog posts, LinkedIn pulse posts. You also need to be taking this content and cross-promoting it and reusing it on other platforms like Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram. There’s a battle going on in cyberspace for eyeballs and to win that battle, you need content – and a lot of it!

You need quality content.

Your content can’t be junk or rehashed nonsense. It can’t be yesterday’s news or something that’s been repeated forty million times online. You can’t farm this out. You’re going to have to do it yourself from the beginning unless you have a huge marketing budget and can afford to hire a marketing company.


Try to pick a “niche”

…for lack of a better word, that has less competition. Go narrow and deep, not broad. And realize this is a marathon, not a sprint! Something like this isn’t happening overnight. Plan to take a year or two to get where you want to go. That’s a long time, I know, but the time is going to go by whether you’re building content or not.

So be the turtle and not the hare and with consistent effort, think of what you’ll have when you get there!


What To Do With Your LinkedIn Profile If You’re Starting a Business?

I’ve heard this question more than once, and it basically goes something like this. “I’m working, but I’ve also started a business. How do I use LinkedIn for my new business without tipping off my current boss?” I really, really wish I had an answer to that, but I don’t! At least I don’t have the answer I think everyone wants to hear – that you can do this neatly and efficiently in the same profile, or that you should actually start a new profile and run two accounts at the same time. Neither of these will work. Let me explain why.

Having a profile serve a dual purpose just isn’t going to work. You’re either employed or you’re not at a given business. The only real way I know to approach this problem is as follows (and just so you know, this is less than perfect, but it’s doable!) You broaden and generalize your profile.

Let’s have a quick example. Suppose you’re an IT manager for a given business and you want to start a social media marketing business on your own. What ties those two together? Well, using technology for business is more of an “umbrella” concept that each of these can fall under. So, instead of being the IT manager for “XYZ” company, you become an expert at marketing technology. That way your profile will make sense to your boss as well as to prospective customers of your new venture. This actually works quite well, and I’ve seen many people do this with great effect.

The only other option is to create a new account for a second person, who just happens to be you. Unlike some social media platforms, Twitter for instance, LinkedIn discourages this type of thing. If they catch you, and they will in short order, they shut down both your accounts. You might think you can get away with this, but think of all the things that would have to be different on the second profile – work dates, for instance. Do you want to lie about all of that?

Having a second profile is the least viable of both these options. So my advice: stick with what I call the umbrella method and make it work for building both your income streams.


Three Important Things Everyone Notices First On Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile. It’s your first impression. Those first moments someone spends on your page can be make-or-break for valuable business connections. We’ve covered the basic must-dos of your profile before, but it bears revisiting because the most important part of LinkedIn for an individual user is the profile. Your profile tells everyone who you are, and from there they can decide if they want to connect with you, answer your messages, and potentially do business with you.

If you screw up your profile, you’re dead in the water before you even have a chance to get going. So, with that in mind, let’s talk about what people are actually looking at when they land on your profile so you can make that look as positive as possible and maximize your results from LinkedIn.

Here are the big three that make or break your profile.

Number one is your picture. It’s trite, but a picture really is worth a thousand words. LinkedIn is a person-to-person networking platform, after all. So, it makes sense that people want to see what you look like, and rightly or wrongly, will judge you by your picture. Get a good picture, preferably one where you’re dressed like a business professional.

Number two is the headline just under the picture. We all want to pigeonhole people so we can understand them and figure out where they fit in our world. Your headline needs to succinctly say who you are and what you do. And, if you’re smart, it needs to say so in a language your target audience understands and is what they’re looking for. If you’re in IT, then having a technically oriented headline is fine, as long as you’re trying to communicate only with people who are capable of understanding the jargon.

Number three is your profile summary. Here are a couple of tips for that.

  • Use first-person tense. Third-person tense just sounds weird. It’s YOUR profile summary. You wrote it. Talking about yourself in the third person sounds like something weird you’d see in a science fiction or horror movie.
  • Next, don’t be cliche! Don’t use overworked phrases like “self-starter”. That’s been done so much that it just screams nothing at all! Just talk honestly about yourself. Pretend you’re explaining who you are and what you do to an intelligent and thoughtful person who’s not in your industry.
  • And lastly, like for your headline, don’t use a bunch of jargon. If your target audience regularly uses geek speak, then by all means, use it. But if you’re a tech and your target market is auto body shops, then talking about search engine algorithms is not going to speak to your audience.

So again, before you do any other type of optimization on your profile, make sure and get these three things right on your profile. You’ll be glad you did!