In the 2019 Edelman B2B LinkedIn Thought Leadership Impact Study*, 82 percent of decision-makers said thought leadership being shared by someone they know and respect is a critical factor in getting them to engage.
Cultivating your personal brand on LinkedIn also has personal benefits. Establishing your thought leadership online helps you be clearer about the impact you want to have on others and the difference you want to make for your community and, dare I say, the world!
Thought Leadership means Becoming the ‘Go To’ In your Industry
Becoming the ‘go to’ in your industry in your area of expertise is what Thought Leadership is about. And it’s essential that you analyse your market and understand your niche and be relevant to their needs. The majority of decision makers in the Edelman study said that half of the thought leadership they encounter did not provide valuable insights. The most critical factor in getting people to engage is to share your perspective on topics that people are working on right now.
You must consider your narratives, tones and messaging which all form part of the impression you make, the conversations you start (online and in real life), the ideas you inspire and the thoughts you provoke. Showing up more on LinkedIn also helps you reach a wider audience and share more of your insights with the people you wish to influence.
3 key Elements to Mastering the Mindset of a LinkedIn Thought Leader
There are 3 key elements to Mastering the Mindset of a LinkedIn Thought Leader.
- People you Influence
- Ideas You Explore
- Actions You Take
The People You Influence on LinkedIn
The first of these is understanding why you are there and how to approach others on LinkedIn. A LinkedIn Thought Leader knows who they wish to influence on LinkedIn. They understand that showing up regularly on LinkedIn has the potential to influence two important stakeholders.
The first stakeholder is your existing community who already knows, likes and trusts you. By sharing relevant content with your connections the LinkedIn Thought Leader stays top of mind and encourages referral business and opportunities from their network.
The second is potential new readers and clients who’ve come across your content via search or they’ve seen your content in their newsfeed when your connections have liked, commented or shared your content. This second stakeholder may also discover you if others have mentioned your name. They may be researching your credentials via your LinkedIn Profile, LinkedIn articles and the content you’re sharing and engaging with on LinkedIn.
Many clients first contact me because they feel their LinkedIn profile is under-representing them. They’re not playing a big enough game on LinkedIn versus how they show up in real life and they know it starts by better showcasing their skills, achievements and knowledge on LinkedIn.
The LinkedIn Thought Leader has a LinkedIn profile that showcases their expertise well and appeals to their stakeholders. A very well developed understanding of who they wish to influence also informs the relevant topics they engage with on LinkedIn and should be supported by a strategic content framework.
The Power of ‘How I Can Add Value’ versus ‘What Can I Get’
This is where the LinkedIn Thought Leader’s mindset is most effective. It’s also the differentiating factor for the clients I choose to work with. If you came to me and said ‘I want to get bums on seats to my conference in 6 months’ I’m likely to suggest you should have contacted me 12 months ago. While I can provide this person with tips and hacks for their short term goals, LinkedIn is much more effective when a more strategic approach is adopted.
The LinkedIn Thought Leader spends time on LinkedIn because they understand the value of the longer game. They are on LinkedIn to genuinely add value to the communities they wish to influence. They’ve adopted a content marketing philosophy, and have an outbound strategy based on sharing insights in the areas that help people solve the problems they’re facing or thinking about now.
The Power of Being Disciplined with Conversation Starters
A LinkedIn Thought Leader has developed conscious behaviours about who they engage with on LinkedIn. They have a connection criteria, they accept invitations to connect promptly, they send focussed follow up messages, they thank connections for liking / commenting on their content, they strategically like and comment on relevant content of other connections and thought leaders on LinkedIn and leverage private messaging by sharing value adding articles and checking in.
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