You’ve been increasing your company or brand’s presence across various social platforms for the past few years and you’ve been using LinkedIn all along. Over time, you’ve optimized your LinkedIn company page and added LinkedIn “follow” and “share” buttons to your content.
Now it’s time to take your LinkedIn activity to the next level and position the organization as an industry thought leader.
1. Utilize The Advanced People Search
It is easy enough to find and connect with current and former colleagues, as well as members of industry groups, on LinkedIn. It can be very time-consuming to cull all of these profiles, but you can pare down the lists by using Advanced People Search and looking at who has viewed your profile.
This allows you to focus your efforts on engaging the right kinds of people and use “InMails” and “Introductions” on only the most relevant contacts with whom your message will resonate. Think of it as using the scalpel, rather than the chainsaw.
2. Launch a LinkedIn Group
You’ve already built a fantastic company page and joined groups in your industry. Hopefully, you are posting from the company page and participating in discussions within those industry groups to help position you and your company as thought leaders.
The next step is to launch your own LinkedIn group to further establish your expertise and knowledge. The best way to do this is to make sure your group has a defined focus so you can attract members with similar interests and goals.
Ideally, someone on your team will pre-approve discussion topics, post conversation-sparking questions and screen potential group members (as opposed to having an “open” group). Such moderation will ensure the level of discourse is appropriate for your target membership, which will, in turn, keep them more engaged in the group.
Ultimately, running an industry group on LinkedIn can propel your image as an industry thought leader.
3. Use LinkedIn Polls
LinkedIn Polls are a great way to have more interaction with your audience. Opinion polls can later be used for blog topics or to decide what types of promotions or offers you should make to attract more members and customers in the future. You can also tweet or share the results of your polls on Facebook as a way of attracting more members to your group or to follow your company page.
Polls can, of course, be used for direct market research but they are also great ways to generate buzz and discussion around topics of interest in your industry that may not be directly tied to your offerings. By focusing on the latter, you can once again present yourself as a thought leader in the space as you share results and corresponding commentary through blog posts or discussion topics within your group.
4. Optimize the Personal LinkedIn Profiles of Team Members
Plenty of attention has been given to the importance of optimizing your LinkedIn company page. Taking this idea a step further, it is important to make sure the personal profiles of your team members – and, particularly, the company’s leaders and managers – are optimized as well. Make sure the expertise and experience possessed by your team shines through on their profiles.
A few key things to keep in mind:
- Make sure the individual’s work history is complete and up-to-date. Visitors to the page should be able to easily see the person’s background and wealth of experience.
- Use an informative headline that goes beyond just your job title and company. Create a headline that tells the reader who you are as a professional beyond what your title says.
- Avoid generic wording of responsibilities in lieu of descriptive examples of things you actually do. Just as you do on your resume, use an active voice rather than a passive voice.
- Solicit recommendations from current and former colleagues, as well as clients. Reading what somebody else has to say about you is much more impactful than what you can say about yourself.
- Use an appropriate, professional photo. Profiles lacking a photo are perceived as incomplete and less personal. Profile photos that look unprofessional are unprofessional.
- If senior executives at your company can’t be bothered to update their profile themselves, do it for them. LinkedIn users are savvy and will be looking at these high profile pages. A strong executive leadership presence on LinkedIn can be just as important as the company page itself.
- Publish articles via LinkedIn Publishing for increased exposure.
5. Connect Your Company Page & your New LinkedIn Group to Other Social Platforms
When you publish a new article to your website or write a guest column for an online publication, post it on your company page and in your group. Tweet the results of your LinkedIn Polls and share them on Facebook. Include LinkedIn social sharing buttons on your corporate blog.
In other words, make it so that people who are interested in what you’re doing on LinkedIn have an easy trail to follow and see what you’re doing elsewhere.
The LinkedIn Marketing Strategy should be a cog in the wheel of your broader marketing strategy, not a siloed endeavor. What additional recommendations do you have for using LinkedIn to amplify your organization’s thought leadership?