With more than 500 million global users, there's no denying that LinkedIn is the most powerful social network for business professionals. When used wisely, LinkedIn can be a great place to not just connect with influencers and business professionals from around the globe, but also build a loyal following for your brand.
I've been giving LinkedIn a more dedicated focus for the past two years, and within a few months of applying myself, I managed to make it to the Top Voices on LinkedIn for 2016. In addition to this, I've also gained more than 80,000+ followers, which has lead to various opportunities.
People quite often ask how I've been able to build my LinkedIn presence in such a short time span, so in this post, I'm going to provide some key tips I've used to grow my LinkedIn influence. Hopefully they'll help you do the same.
1. Grow your network
Just like any other social media channel, networking is the name of the game for succeeding on LinkedIn.
You need to begin by connecting with people from your industry - but before you start sending InMails and connection requests haphazardly, don’t forget to also:
Create a powerful profile - it'll serve as your elevator pitch
Highlight your achievements - create a great first-impression
These two, simple elements can do your LinkedIn presence a world of good.
2. Write on LinkedIn's Publishing Platform
LinkedIn's publishing platform enables you to post long-form content within LinkedIn itself. It's a great way to promote yourself, your thoughts and your profile - in the current business landscape, content is the king, whether you talk about making your brand stand out in the crowd or you're looking to create a unique presence for your personal profile.
LinkedIn publishing gives you an opportunity to share your thoughts, showcase your industry knowledge and let people know more about yourself and what you offer.
It was after getting a few thousands views on my initial posts on LinkedIn, and the subsequent response from readers, that I realized how powerful LinkedIn can be for brand-building.
3. Get featured
But it’s not enough to write a great post and publish it - in order to maximize the reach and resonance of LinkedIn, you also need to get your content featured on LinkedIn's Pulse content platform.
Pulse showcases the best content published on LinkedIn, and includes a range of categories with content hand-picked by LinkedIn's editorial team. The most popular topics are 'Productivity', 'Big Ideas & Innovation', 'Leadership & Management', 'Technology', and 'Entrepreneurship', but there's a heap more on top of this.
There's no certainty that the posts all your posts will get featured - in fact, its likely that few will - but to increase the chances of your post getting picked, you can tweet the LinkedIn Editorial team (@LinkedInEditors) and let them know that you've published a high-quality post for them to consider.
Trust me if you've written good content, they'll feature it, and getting featured means that you're spreading your content to potentially millions of people who follow each category on LinkedIn.
Get your content featured on LinkedIn Pulse and you'll see benefit within a matter of days.
4. Be consistent
You can't just post one odd article in a week, or send connection requests once in a blue moon and expect things to happen on their own. You need to develop a strategy - and you need to be consistent.
For instance, I initially started publishing articles every alternate day, while interacting in groups on with connections on a daily basis. But that wasn't enough - I've since upped my publishing frequency and ramped up my engagement - it takes more time, and effort, but as you can see from the numbers, the pay off can be worth it.
I’ve been publishing content with the same frequency for almost past one year now, and it's been working great.
5. Write from the heart
This is my personal advice - whatever you write for LinkedIn, write from the heart.
My most successful posts have been the ones that were centered around the common problems that almost every one of us face in our professional lives. For example, a post I wrote about Minions - the movie became an instant hit, and has garnered more than 10k likes and hundreds of comments.
In the same way, writing on unconventional topics - the ones that no one likes to talk about - can help create interest within your community.
There's no prescriptive playbook, but these are the areas I've focused on when building my presence. They may help you develop your own LinkedIn strategy.
Main image via Joe the Goat Farmer/Flickr.