Everyone wants to be a thought leader in their industry and social media allows people to do that through tools like Quora, Twitter, and others. Remember LinkedIn Answers? It used to allow you to tout yourself as an expert by giving advice to questions posed by others. If your answer got voted as the "best answer" you got this nebulous recognition of being credible. However, LinkedIn Answers got retired last year with a few other features as LinkedIn cleaned up its portfolio, look and feel, prior to going public. Yet, LinkedIn continues to make small enhancements that keep making it a better tool for professionals and this one is no exception.
If you remember, last week LinkedIn rolled out an enhancement to their "Contacts" feature (your Rolodex has never been happier). And this week, LinkedIn rolled out a new feature for Groups called "Top Contributors". Top Contributors does a few thing for both the group member and the group owner.
For the group owner the hope is that it will generate more engagement from members and breathe new life into groups that seem otherwise dead or have low activity. But for group members, it's opened up a whole new avenue for thought leadership. The new feature does a few things:
- It features Top Contributors and their faces in the upper right corner, shining a prime spotlight on you and giving you credibility
- It allows people to follow those who are Top Contributors directly from the Top Contributors marquee in the right corner
- It displays on your profile and every time you post to that group*
Another benefit worth mentioning is that it features your Professional Headline when you are featured as a Top Contributor and someone rolls over your photo. This is why your professional headline is so important and why you should change it from the standard default of your current job title.
Why Top Contributors is so great for developing thought leadership.
LinkedIn decided to make it so that you actually had to participate in group discussions to be a Top Contributor, so they applied level indicators. You can have a different level for each group you are a member of, and the Top Contributor indicator will display on your personal profile. Top Contributors also get a text indicator under their headline any time they post a discussion in the group.
The level indicators are:
- Getting started
- Finding an audience
- Making an impact
- Building influence
- Top Contributor
*NOTE: Your contribution level can go up or down depending on your posts and activity. LinkedIn says "Your contribution level will go down if you are not active or if your posts are promotional or inappropriate for the group."
How does LinkedIn determine if your post is promotional or inappropriate? That's determined by the Group Manager. If your post needs to be approved (in non-open groups), or if your post needs to be moved from discussion to promotion or is deleted because it's in appropriate, then these will count as dings against your level indicator and cause your score to go down.
So now that you know more about this new feature, will you be participating more in LinkedIn Groups?