LinkedIn for thought leadership

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About LinkedIn for Thought Leadership — But Were Afraid to Ask


LinkedIn has long been seen as the stiff navy blazer of social networks — useful when you’re looking for a job, but otherwise you hide it in the back of the closet, next to the pants that don’t fit and that weird dress you wore to your second cousin’s wedding.

But lately LinkedIn has become … well, cool. Thanks to changes in its algorithm, it’s now a place where you can easily access content posted by people in your network, and these changes have an added benefit: They make it easier to attract an audience of your own. This means that LinkedIn is thought leadership’s newest pair of blue jeans.

Read on for a few things you need to know about using LinkedIn for thought leadership. And if you want to learn even more, watch my webinar Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About LinkedIn for Thought Leadership — but Were Afraid to Ask.

What the LinkedIn Algorithm Rewards

It used to be rare to see content from people you actually knew on LinkedIn. Often you saw content from big names such as Bill Gates or Richard Branson. But LinkedIn owes its new golden era to changes in its algorithm that encourage connecting with your personal network.

Connection is the big secret to LinkedIn. The algorithm rewards conversations. It’s incredibly important to engage in the comments section on your own pieces, as well as those of others.

In fact, more passive behavior on LinkedIn, such as liking something or resharing it, isn’t heavily weighted y the algorithm. So don’t ask people to reshare your comments or posts — ask them to join the conversation. Not only will you create a bigger level of impact, but you’ll also get them to participate in what are often lively, spirited conversations.

What You Should Post on LinkedIn

Figuring out the types of content you should post on LinkedIn is actually fairly simple — it’s the social network related to work. It’s not the place to brag about your fantasy football team or the meal you cooked last night. It can be uplifting, career-related or simply sensible advice. What matters is that it’s related to your professional identity.

Now, that doesn’t mean you have to be boring. It’s OK to tug at heartstrings or crack a few jokes. Entertainment is good! Emotions are great! The true test is whether what you’re posting is authentic. Does it describe you accurately as a human being? Does it reflect your voice, or does it sound like a corporate memo?

Show off your personality. It will go a long way.

Brand Page or Personal Page?

Where should you post in order to reach the widest possible audience for your thought leadership? Should you post on your personal page or your brand page?

Here’s my answer: Both. I promise this isn’t a cop-out. Your brand page and your personal page have fundamentally different audiences. If you’re posting a piece that you believe has potential to “trend” (Linked’s version of viral) then it’s best that you post it on your own personal page, so that it can be seen and read by the people in your network. Posting an article on your organization’s brand page will result in only 3-6% of your audience seeing it.

Instead, use your brand page to amplify your personal thought leadership. Tag it when you post, or share content directly from the brand page. However, be judicious when doing this. Remember, your brand page is serving the people who want to learn more about your organization. Its reach will only go so far when it comes to thought leadership.

Watch the full webinar for more tips: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About LinkedIn for Thought Leadership — but Were Afraid to Ask.

Mary Ellen Slayter is CEO of Rep Cap. Before creating her own content marketing firm, she served as director of content development and a senior general business and finance editor at SmartBrief, a leading publisher of e-mail newsletters. Before joining SmartBrief, she spent 8 years at The Washington Post, where she authored the Career Track column and worked as an editor in the business news department. You can find Mary Ellen on Twitter @MESlayter.


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