I often get asked, “should I be more active on LinkedIn? Will it help build my profile as a digital leader?”

If you’re thinking about paying more attention to LinkedIn in your drive to consolidate your thought leadership this year, my answer is this: “100% Yes, you should.”

I’m going to tell you why, and then share my five favourite LinkedIn strategies with you.

94% of executives say LinkedIn is their No 1 social network.

By mid-2019, there were a reported 630 million people using LinkedIn*. In terms of business potential, that’s a whole lot of people using LinkedIn to either:

  • Win NEW business, if they’re entrepreneurs, business owners, sales, company directors, or in business development roles. 63 million* LinkedIn users are in decision-making positions.
  • Advance their CAREER, for managers, employees, sales, marketing, HR.
  • FIND new employment – everyone from 40 million*college and university graduates to experienced people looking for a career change.

LinkedIn used to be mainly for job seekers. But now it’s transformed into the No.1 content platform for B2B marketers*, with people sharing status updates and articles across a wide organic reach, and 80% of B2B leads come from LinkedIn as opposed to 13% on Twitter and just 7% on Facebook.

I’ve been on LinkedIn since 2004, I’ve written over 400 articles, I have 29,000 connections, and 32,000 people follow me. My recent post ‘Why I made the choice to have a ‘lifestyle’ business’ had 15,000 views, 220 likes, and 38 comments.

This kind of engagement really works for my business, and as a digital leader there are many great ways you can make it work in yours. At the end of this article I’ll be giving you the link to my ‘How to be successful using LinkedIn in 2020’ webinar on 30th January – where fellow LinkedIn expert, Vic Williams and I will be sharing 25 years’ of combined LinkedIn experience with you.

But first, here are my five top ways to establish yourself on LinkedIn:

1. Get your profile right

The foundation of your LinkedIn success is your profile. However, it’s surprising how many people fall at this first hurdle, often by failing to plan their profile properly, or not taking notice of the character counts. Your profile is your online CV and should reflect your professionalism.

There’s a really useful practical guide to building your LinkedIn profile here, which has all the up-to-date information about sections and character counts.

If you haven’t updated your profile recently, now’s the time to review it. LinkedIn recently added an area at bottom of the ‘introduction card’ the section that includes your name and title etc. So now you can select your business focus and services, and tick a box if you’re able to work remotely.

Make sure it’s current – what have you achieved in the last 12 months? You might be surprised at how much you have to add, when you think about it. Remember to include major projects or new sectors you’ve worked in, as well as promotions, awards or qualifications. If you’ve been featured in the media, add links.

Consider what you might add in the volunteer section, too. Even if you don’t think it’s that significant, it all adds up.

It’s also worth reviewing your skills and endorsements to make sure they’re in the order that you want them.

Now take a look at your profile photo. Be honest…how old is it really? Getting a professional headshot done is well worth the investment. And don’t forget to add some ‘cover art’ in the banner. It could be an image relevant to your business, or something that matches your company colours.

Once you’ve got your profile right, don’t forget to add it to your email signature, so people can find you and connect with you easily.

2. Use LinkedIn regularly!

Like any form of networking, you need to be interacting regularly to stay top of mind. Sharing content on a regular basis, commenting on other people’s posts, and congratulating your connections on their successes will all help to keep you in people’s minds for referrals, introductions and new business.

Set a diary reminder in your calendar right now to make sure you’re a regular contributor on LinkedIn (even if it’s just 10 minutes a day.)

3. Understand the difference between Posts and Articles, and use them wisely

Posts and Articles should both be part of your LinkedIn strategy, but each play a different role, and it’s important to understand what this is.

Posts are good for top-of-mind content, and can go viral. Sharing industry-related information, tips or personal stories works well in posts, but remember that there’s a 1300 character limit, so construct your post accordingly.

Articles are ideal for thought leadership content, and positioning yourself as an expert. There’s no character limit on articles, and if you decide to write an article you can also create numerous posts by taking sections from the article. Use each post to tell people about the article on LinkedIn, and link back to it.

By the way, LinkedIn wants to keep its community on LinkedIn, so do not link to an Article out of LinkedIn if you want it to go viral. You need to be creative native LinkedIn content (whether it’s in written, audio or video form). That doesn’t mean you can’t use the same content you’ve used in your own blog. Of course you can. But you need to recreate it in LinkedIn, not just link to it.

4. Give VALUE in your LinkedIn CONTENT

Value comes in two basic forms: Education and Entertainment. The problem with a lot of content is that it delivers neither. 3 million LinkedIn users share content on a weekly basis (actually not a very high percentage of those 630 million users, and of those, only 1 million users have published an article*. So when you think about it, upping your game would put you in the forefront).

But here’s the thing. Most people create content that’s in their own self-interest and delivers no value to the consumer.

If you want your content to deliver value for you, it has to deliver value to your connections. Self-congratulatory Articles all about you impress no-one.

(It’s also worth bearing in mind when you create your content that, unlike some other social media channels, on LinkedIn, articles without video perform better than those with video.)

5. Deliver VALUE in your LinkedIn INTERACTIONS

When you’re interacting with other people’s posts and connections, think about what you’re saying and what it’s contributing. Sharing a point of view, experience, or even just taking the time to congratulate your connections will help you to develop more meaningful interactions than a simple ‘like’ or the kind of meaningless comment that typically come from bots.

Share articles that you find interesting, with your own comments on them, and seek out interesting content in your area by searching out the top hashtags in your area of expertise. It’s also good to follow influencers and leave comments on their content. If you can leave an interesting, thought-provoking comment on a popular post or article, you’ll start to get attention – especially if you do this regularly.

Vic and I are really excited about sharing with you our experience of using LinkedIn successfully.

Find out how to use LinkedIn to embrace digital leadership and social selling in 2020 at our FREE webinar on 12th February at 19:00 GMT.

We’ll be showing you how to optimise your profile and content to:

  1. Get to the TOP of LinkedIn for your specific keywords in less than 60 seconds
  2. Position yourself as a trusted EXPERT everyone wants to work with
  3. Build your LinkedIn network with QUALITY business connection
  4. Build and grow your PERSONAL brand
  5. Turn LinkedIn CONVERSATIONS into hot leads and happy clients

We’ll show you how to design and implement a networking STRATEGY and will also be revealing 3 SECRET LinkedIn features you didn’t know about, as well as the top 5 MISTAKES most LinkedIn users make (and how you can avoid them).

Sign up here for my free LinkedIn for success in 2020 webinar – I look forward to seeing you there.

*source for statistics