What is thought leadership, and why should you care about it?
A thought leader gives unique guidance, influences those around them, and inspires others to innovate. According to their expertise and perspective in whichever industry they are in, thought leaders are known for offering knowledge and insight, which earns them a favorable reputation for helping others.
LinkedIn recently released a guide on how to leverage thought leadership. Why should you engage in thought leadership? Fifty-six percent of professionals agree that seeing a business executive’s presence on social media influences purchasing decisions positively. Sixty-six percent of professionals say that they are much more likely to recommend a particular brand if they follow the organization’s executive on social media.
When executed effectively, thought leadership can help create more conversation around your brand and reputation, increase employee engagement and talent attraction, and push demand generation. Thought leaders help explore new opportunities or potential challenges, point out overlooked strategies, and guide responses to issues.
Creating a compelling executive presence on LinkedIn
To post the most compelling content, you need to identify the intersection between your expertise and the interests of your community. The most strategic spaces for content creation will fall into the category of uncommon yet engaging topics. Join in conversations that your customers are having, and consider them part of your audience when you post. Jump into conversations with others in your same industry or field. Look to the future and what is to come, especially surrounding innovation in your industry.
When creating LinkedIn content, think about how topics are shared by separating them into four categories: industry-focused, brand-focused, product-focused, and people-focused. Industry-focused content highlights trends, perspectives, commentary, opinions, and ideas about the future. Brand-focused content shares about company culture and values, philanthropy, and inspirational innovations. Product-focused content shares product how-to’s, reviews, and detailed information about the product itself. People-focused content includes career advice, professional development, leadership, and personal growth. What are you trying to accomplish with your thought leadership strategy? Keep these categories in mind to help organize your thoughts while creating and sharing your content.
Building an engaging profile on LinkedIn
Your profile summary should include your professional experience as well as your unique personality. You can accomplish this by including your professional and personal interests. Feature exciting or engaging content such as videos and presentations, and change your notifications and settings to clear through the noise and get to your connections and relevant content.
Utilize the various types of posts to switch up your content and continue to stay on top of conversations. “Short Form Text” posts are perfect for quick thoughts or words of advice. Use “Documents” as a way to share longer-form content or something downloadable. “Videos” and “Stories” are more dynamic content, “Polls” can spark dialogue and discussion, and “Articles” are great for sharing more detailed thoughts on a particular topic.
Once you have published and are evaluating your content, know that quality engagement is better than quantity. Track KPIs in user comments, like the number of comments, average word count per comment, and qualitative feedback.
To build a strong community on LinkedIn, find relevant voices in your industry, and begin by learning from others. Spark dialogue and discussion on past or current topics or inspire conversations about the future by offering a forward-thinking perspective. Follow hashtags and colleagues within your industry to keep up with and join conversations happening on the platform.
Your LinkedIn Action Plan
Build a framework for the conversations you want to be participating in, leading, and organizing on LinkedIn. Leverage different parts of your team to jump in on the exchanges and maximize the impact of your conversations on the platform. Evaluate your content’s effectiveness by looking at audience growth, content views, profile viewers, company page follower growth, company page visitors, and follower insights. Be sure to align your professional voice with your brand’s voice and the messages you share on both pages.
It will take time to become an influential thought leader on LinkedIn. By first establishing a presence and listening to current industry trends and leaders, then testing different types of content to see what resonates with your audience, you can eventually lead thought-provoking and inspirational conversations on the professional network. Need some assistance evaluating your audience and coming up with relevant content? We’d love to help. Check out our services page for more information on how we can amplify your brand on LinkedIn.