Are you wondering how to become a LinkedIn influencer? If you want to become a thought leader who is prominent on LinkedIn, then there are some steps you have to take. Let's dive into what a LinkedIn influencer does and how top LinkedIn influencers got there, as well as how to get there yourself.
What Is a LinkedIn Influencer?
First, let's look at what LinkedIn is used for: LinkedIn is the world's largest online professional social networking site with over 500 million users spanning over 200 countries and territories in every profession, job title and industry out there. The platform has revolutionized how we make and maintain networking connections, how we search for new jobs, how we find business opportunities and how recruiters and employers recruit talent. It's helped us to stay connected with professional contacts as we or they move on to new roles, and it's helped us to establish ourselves as professionals in our industries by keeping an updated virtual resume.
Simply, a LinkedIn influencer takes advantage of all of these aspects of LinkedIn — so much so, that they've been able to cement their credibility and build trusting relationships with their connections and followers. A LinkedIn influencer is part of an invite-only group of the world’s brightest thinkers, entrepreneurs, leaders, innovators and creators. An influencer is a thought leader in his or her community who shares professional advice, thoughts, opinions and experiences with the network. Collectively, LinkedIn influencers share over a million posts, videos and articles every day, generating tens of millions more shares and likes among LinkedIn professionals.
Of course, LinkedIn influencers are analyzed each year. They may be removed depending on their contributions and what members are interested in learning about; likewise, new influencers can be added.
Who Are Some Top LinkedIn Influencers?
The platform conducted research to dig into its own data and reveal its top voices. The researchers uncovered influencers with the most engagement by looking at total engagement (likes, comments and shares across each member’s articles, posts and videos), the growth of followers tied to publishing activity, and the number of times the Influencer had been featured in editorial channels (a signal of high-quality content).
In 2017, the top 10 LinkedIn influencers wrote on everything from sexual harassment in the workplace to the battle between Google and Amazon, curating content that was shared across LinkedIn with millions of users. Here were the top 10 loudest voices of 2017.
1. Ian Bremmer | President & Founder, Eurasia Group and GZero Media
Bremmer covers global politics and 'basically the things that make the world move," he told LinkedIn. “I try to put the world in context for people, and if I can make them laugh while doing it, so much the better.”
2. Justin Trudeau | Prime Minister, Canada
The Prime Minister posts about his government's policies and their effects around the world.
3. Mohamed El-Erian | Chief Economic Advisor, Allianz
El-Erian writes about the global economy (read: bitcoin, oil prices, stock market volatility, etc.).
4. Liz Ryan | Founder & CEO, Human Workplace
This CEO shares her ideas on innovations in the workplace. She told LinkedIn, “There’s so much more that needs to be done to modernize and humanize employment laws — and to shift away from the old-fashioned command-and-control management model toward a trust-based, human approach.”
5. Sallie Krawcheck | Co-Founder & CEO, Ellevest
Krawcheck is known for weighing in on business issues like the gender gap and more.
6. Naomi Simson | Founder, Red Balloon
The Australian entrepreneur and “Shark Tank” investor told LinkedIn: “I often call on other businesses and learn from what they’ve achieved. I enjoy writing case studies and talking about other people’s successes.”
7. Adam Grant | Organizational Psychologist, The Wharton School
Grant, a best-selling author, told LinkedIn that he posts about questions like: “How can we find motivation and meaning, build productive and supportive cultures and lead more generous and creative lives?”
8. Sanyin Siang | Executive Director, Fuqua/Coach K Center on Leadership and Ethics at Duke University
Siang shares her insights she gains from working with other top leaders. She told LinkedIn that, with her posts, she looks to help her followers “discover their inner champions.”
9. Beth Comstock | Vice Chair, GE
Comstock looks into what it takes to innovate and lead during changing times. She told LinkedIn: “It starts with discovery, taking risks, trying things and being willing to fail."
10. Nicholas Thompson | Editor-in-Chief, Wired Magazine
The editor-in-chief of Wired reposts stories on how technology is changing the world and also shares a new daily video series in which he highlights the most interesting tech story of the day.
What Do Influencers Do to Become Popular?
There are several strategies successful influencers use to become popular on LinkedIn. These are some of the key strategies that push them to the top.
1. They Have a Niche
All of the aforementioned top LinkedIn influencers have a niche. Krawcheck posts about the gender gap in business, while Thompson share stories on tech. Their followers know that they can come to them for consistent content on these topics.
2. They Build Trust
A LinkedIn influencer builds trust by consistently posting valuable content and by reflecting professionalism through their own profiles. A professional profile includes a well-written bio that details their credentials, a professional photograph and their experiences that prove their credentials.
3. They Engage
Successful LinkedIn influencers are those who engage with their followers and other professionals in their worlds — they make the most of their LinkedIn profile. They're not only sharing their own posts and responding to comments on those, but they're also liking and commenting on posts that other professionals share. They're using the platform daily.
How Do You Become a LinkedIn Influencer?
When LinkedIn launched its LinkedIn Influencer Program, it got a huge response from the likes of Bill Gates, Richard Branson, Ian Bremmer and many other thought leaders. But the truth is that LinkedIn influencers are personally invited by LinkedIn to join the platform's program. That said, they're chosen because they've set themselves up as thought leaders in their industries and as experts on certain topics. Therefore, in order to become a LinkedIn influencer, you have to be a well-versed professional on the platform who already uses it daily. You should have a concrete presence on the platform and in your professional sphere.
Here are three steps you can take to make yourself stand out.
1. Audit Your LinkedIn Profile
In order to improve your LinkedIn profile, you should be updating it constantly. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
- Do you have a recent, professional photo?
- Is your experience easily digestible and accurate?
- Did you claim your public profile URL so you can promote your profile in places like your email signature?
- Is your summary up to date?
- Do you have recommendations on your profile?
- Have you been contributing to relevant groups?
2. Behave Like a Thought Leader
As previously mentioned, thought leaders regularly share relevant content with their followers and engage with other leaders. If you want to become a LinkedIn influencer, you should be doing the same with other professionals in your industry. Follow LinkedIn Influencers from your industry, keep abreast of trending news in your industry and be sure to share your own experiences.
3. Post Original Content on LinkedIn
For several years, LinkedIn has allowed leaders like Barack Obama and Bill Gates to share thought-provoking articles. Recently, it rolled out its Publishing Platform for all of its users. Take advantage of this publishing platform to share original articles with your followers to get your name out there as a thought leader, too.
How Do You Publish Articles on LinkedIn?
While publishing on LinkedIn doesn't make you a LinkedIn influencer, it does give you an opportunity to establish your professional identity, express your thoughts and share your experiences.
And publishing articles on LinkedIn is simple. You'll need to apply for access to use the LinkedIn Publishing Platform. Once you're granted access, you can post long-form articles and videos, and LinkedIn will share them with your network and even outside of your network.
"We're always looking for new ways for members to contribute professional insights on LinkedIn," the platform writes. "Our publishing platform allows members, in addition to Influencers, to publish articles about their expertise and interests."
When you publish an article, your content becomes part of your professional profile, displayed in the Articles section — though it's also searchable both on and off LinkedIn, depending on your profile settings. That content is shared with your connections and followers in their news feeds, sometimes through notifications. Anyone who isn't in your network can still follow you from your article so that your next post will also surface in their feeds.
Both free and premium account types have publishing access. Currently, however, companies can't publish articles using their organization's name or publish from their company page, but members of the company can use their personal professional profiles to share company content.
What Are Some Resources to Help You Build Your LinkedIn Presence?
To help you get to be a LinkedIn influencer, consider checking out some of these Fairygodboss posts on how to use the platform to your advantage.
- Making the Most of LinkedIn: Tips, Tricks, and Everything In Between
- 13 LinkedIn Best Practices to Grow Your Network
- The Top 10 LinkedIn Influencers You Should Be Following
- Your Guide to Writing the Best LinkedIn Summary
- 4 Things That Have No Business Being on Your LinkedIn
AnnaMarie Houlis is a multimedia journalist and an adventure aficionado with a keen cultural curiosity and an affinity for solo travel. She's an editor by day and a travel blogger at HerReport.org by night.