LinkedIn is often an underutilized influence channel. Many influencers limit their LinkedIn involvement to maintaining an up-to-date profile. However, they are missing out on an opportunity to expose their knowledge, ideas, and personal brand to large subsets of their target audience in a platform with tremendous engagement opportunities not to mention the ability to drive large volumes of traffic to their other influence channels.
LinkedIn has more than 150 million users in over 200 countries and across all major industries, making it the largest and most expansive professional community in the world. Since each individual’s identity is tied to everything they do on the site, it also makes for an extremely targeted influence channel. An influencer can communicate and engage with his/her target audience, determine the audience’s relevance and engagement levels, and predict the impact of sharing information with their network, participating in a group or community, or asking or answering questions in LinkedIn Answers.
To maximize one’s LinkedIn influence, an individual must have focus, high quality content, consistency in activity levels, encourage engagement, and maximize exposure to his/her target audience.
Below are 12 tips to increase your LinkedIn influence:
Understand your target audience and focus your efforts on a limited set of topics/industries that are relevant to their interests and needs. See my previous entry on blog influence for a more in-depth explanation on how to hone in on your target audience.
Complete and optimize your LinkedIn profile. This will drive visitors to your linked blog and/or Twitter accounts and expose them to more of your ideas and content. If they like what they see, they will likely sign-up for your newsletter or RSS feed, or follow and/or list you on Twitter. Both of these opportunities enable you to push content to these people and potentially pull them into your sphere of influence. For more on how to optimize your LinkedIn profile, please see my post on LinkedIn Search Optimization Tips and Tricks.
Keep your profile professional, as this will aid you in establishing credibility and expertise in your target industries and subject matters on LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional network and getting too personal via this network will detract from your credibility and decrease the number of connections that review your updates. That said, adding a personal twist to your profile and your LinkedIn presence can actually make you more approachable. The key is to limit this information to the areas that invite you to share personal information like the interests section, and to not get carried away in filling these sections out.
Identify the functional and industry groups that your target audience(s) participates in. These groups represent great opportunities to expose your personal brand, knowledge, and ideas to these individuals. You should dedicate some time each week to engaging with members of these groups.
Engagement in LinkedIn Groups is not posting your blog posts into the forums; rather, it is actively participating in group discussions and adding value to the community through sharing ideas, answering questions, and asking questions.