With over 660 million people, of which 90 million are senior level influencers and 63 million in decision making positions, LinkedIn is a B2B Goldmine.
It’s where most Fortune 500 decision-makers and executives like to spend their spare time.
And the best part is, more often than not, they’re actually scrolling through actively looking for valuable content to read. They’re not there to find Buzzfeed quizzes, wedding photos, or memes. They’re looking for content that can change the way they do business.
Standing out as an expert on LinkedIn, significantly increases your ranking on Google. Also, it instantly positions you above the masses and highlights just how experienced, professional and knowledgeable you are on a given topic.
Here are 9 ways to brand yourself as an industry expert on LinkedIn:
- Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile.
- Network and Make Meaningful Connections on LinkedIn
- Use LinkedIn Publisher
- Join Groups
- Customize Your Content by Following Those Who Matter Most
- Stay Engaged
- Create a LinkedIn SlideShare Account
- Personalize your LinkedIn URL.
- Another level on LinkedIn
Let’s start with first things first. Your profile is the first impression that people will have of you. No matter how good of an expert you are in your niche, if your profile is mediocre, you will have an uphill task convincing anyone on LinkedIn that you are indeed an expert.
You want to build a profile that sets you apart and positions you as an expert in your niche. So, how do you go about creating an outstanding profile on LinkedIn?
I had the pleasure of learning from one of LinkedIn’s Marketing Experts, Yoel Israel, CEO at Wadi Digital and here are the elements your LinkedIn profile needs to be professional and convey the right message from an expert’s perspective.
- Profile and Cover photos – People want to see the person whom they plan to engage or do business with. Your LinkedIn profile photo should be of great quality, recent and professional. Preferably, use a headshot rather than a full-body pose or group photo.
- Name: Unlike on other social media platforms where you can use your nicknames or a modified version of your name, it’s recommended that you use your official name on LinkedIn.
- Summary– This is what makes you different from everyone else in your field. It does not need to be short, but needs to be thorough. In this section:
- Title/Description – Use your title to differentiate yourself and present how you want to be known as an industry expert. Be specific. Avoid using a generic title like ‘Content Writer’ and instead use ‘Content Writer for TED’, or ‘White Paper Writer’, or ‘eBooks Writer.’
- Recommendations – These make getting validation for your expertise straightforward—and of course, the more buy-in you have from others, the easier it is to get new buy-in. The quickest way to get recommendations is to give them. Here’s a guide to writing great recommendations on LinkedIn.
- Hashtags: These are a relatively new feature on LinkedIn. Just like Twitter or Instagram, a LinkedIn hashtag is any combination of letters, numbers, or emoji that follow the # symbol and they are used to follow trends, for engagement and community building. Follow Hashtags that are specific to your industry or in an area of your interest.
For a cover photo, it’s important that you use a photo that’s connected to your specialty and brands you as an expert. For instance if you are speaker, use a photo of yourself speaking on stage; if you are a writer, use a picture of yourself writing, or showcasing some books that you have written.
- Highlight your greatest achievement(s) and expertise.
- Speak in the first person and personalize it.
- Have tone and personality.
- Add a call to action e.g. visit my website, blog etc.
- Add media, certifications, and presentations.
Your title is important because:
- This is how you appear on your profile.
- This is how you appear in LinkedIn Search.
- This is how to differentiate yourself from competitors and colleagues.
- Most importantly, when you comment and engage on other people’s posts, your title is highlighted.
Using hashtags on LinkedIn will make your content more discoverable and help you connect with members that may be interested in your company.
Once your profile is optimized:
LinkedIn gives us an opportunity not only to network with existing clients and business partners, but also to grow our tribe with potential prospects, partners, donors, and employers.
People generally think highly of those who keep good company, so building your LinkedIn network simultaneously builds your personal brand.
Connect with trusted friends, former colleagues, classmates, industry leaders and professionals, vendors, authors of content in news stories you’ve appeared in and publications you’ve written for. Showing who you know can prove to be an excellent method in proving you really are an expert in the field. Don’t be shy about asking your contacts for introductions to people in their networks.
If you are to position yourself as an expert, you’ve got to show your expertise, right?
LinkedIn publisher is one of the best ways to increase your visibility on LinkedIn while encouraging engagement with your content. You can use LinkedIn Publisher to:
- Write new content
- Repurpose already existing content from your blog posts, eBooks, podcasts, newsletter, interviews etc.
LinkedIn Publisher supports hyperlinks, YouTube and Slideshare embeds as well as graphics. Also Publisher content is searchable on LinkedIn, and it’s shareable, which means your post could potentially go viral.
Considering the people in your LinkedIn network most likely consist of your target audience, you have a better chance of your key prospects seeing one of your LinkedIn Publisher posts than coming across a random landing page or even a blog post on your website.
LinkedIn has a lot of peer and industry groups where you can find professionals interested in your niche. Joining and participating in such groups is a surefire way to raise your profile and expand your network. You should be aiming to be active in at least 1-2 relevant groups as a “top contributor”—a status awarded to people who are regularly starting and being involved in group discussions.
But if creating content is not quite your thing, you can still get involved in groups by commenting on group discussions, sharing your expertise and knowledge. To help you decide the usefulness of a group, check the group statistics feature, which gives information about demographics, growth, and activity.
If you can’t find an appropriate group, you can easily create one and invite professionals within your field of interest, whom you believe can help your business and personal brand grow.
Customizing Your LinkedIn Feed is essential for maximum productivity and enjoyment.
Choose your follows wisely.
You shouldn’t choose to follow people or companies too casually or treat follows like benign social interactions.
The content shared by the individuals and companies you follow appears in your feed daily. You want this content to offer value: Updates on industry trends, educational resources in your industry, thought leadership from industry experts, thought-provoking dialogue with peers, and so forth.
Steer clear of accounts that share irrelevant content. Before following a person or company, look through their recent activity to see if they consistently provide content you care about.
LinkedIn recommends keeping your list of follows to around 50 sources, so choose wisely.
Just like any other social network, you must use LinkedIn regularly to see the benefits of it. Stay engaged by:
- Creating posts, sharing links to news articles or other information about your area of expertise, linking back to your own blog or website, and make sure you’re updating that regularly as well.
- Answering questions: One unique feature of LinkedIn is the “Answers” section, where you can see and answer questions from any member, regardless of whether he or she is in your personal network. Save the sales pitches for later. Simply use your expertise to answer questions and offer free advice in this forum.
The more you interact with people on LinkedIn, the more you’ll get out of it, and rise as a known expert in your field.
With over 80 million users, LinkedIn SlideShare is the world’s largest community for sharing presentations and professional content.
It allows you to upload and share your PowerPoint slideshows, other types of presentations, infographics, or videos. Adding a slideshow presentation to your LinkedIn profile is a good way to demonstrate your expertise.
If you haven’t started using this platform yet, here is how you can create a SlideShare account, and start taking advantage of the platform right away.
Until you create your customized LinkedIn profile URL, your LinkedIn profile is going to have a gnarly URL attached to it, full of numbers and letters.
Fortunately, it is very easy to create your own customized LinkedIn profile URL in order to use your LinkedIn profile in your branding.
Here’s how your customized LinkedIn profile URL will look:
Here’s why you should customize your LinkedIn URL:
- It enhances your personal brand.
- Anyone searching you on LinkedIn will find you more easily.
- It allows you to control how you appear when people search you on Google, Bing and other search engines.
- It makes it easy to share the link on business cards and signatures.
- It can help to boost your SEO.
You’ll do fine developing your personal brand on LinkedIn without investing in paid services, however you should be aware premium accounts are offered.
LinkedIn Premium accounts —The premium offering provides a number of value-added services, some of them useful to power users.
Premium accounts are available to general users and there are specific offerings for recruiters, job seekers and sales professionals.
LinkedIn analytics — The free analytics provided by LinkedIn to individual members are a far cry from deep, however they will reveal people who have viewed your profile, how you rank among your connections and some additional insights.
Have you tried applying any of the ways discussed above recently? We would love to hear what your experience has been like.