So you want to be a LinkedIn Influencer?

Well, my friend, you've come to the right place. As someone who's spent more time on LinkedIn than I'd care to admit, I've learned a thing or two about what it takes to stand out.

And let me tell you; it's not just about sharing your latest whitepaper or blog post. No, no– becoming a LinkedIn Influencer takes a unique blend of personality, expertise, and shameless self-promotion.

But don't worry; I'm here to guide you through the process with my ultimate guide to rising to the top on LinkedIn. I’ll go over everything from how the algorithm works (so you can hack it) to the faux pas you need to avoid.

Let’s hop to it!

First: Understand The LinkedIn Algorithm

The first step in mastering LinkedIn is understanding the algorithm. With over 800 million users and billions of posts being shared daily, the algorithm has a critical role in deciding which content gets seen and remains hidden.

At its core, the LinkedIn Algorithm is designed to ensure that the most engaging and relevant content appears on your feed.

Here's my breakdown of how the LinkedIn Algorithm works:

  • Sorting Hat: The algorithm starts by categorizing every post into one of three buckets: spam, low-quality, or high-quality. Spam gets sent to the abyss, and low-quality posts aren’t far behind.
  • The Sample Test: If the post doesn't fall into the spam or low-quality buckets, the algorithm will test it by showing it to a small group of users, usually your connections. The algorithm then measures the engagement rate and determines if the post is engaging enough to be shown to more users.
  • The Engagement Boost: Pass the sample test and receive enough engagement, and the algorithm will push it to a broader audience. The more engagement the post gets, the more likely it is to be shown to a broader audience, increasing its visibility and reach.
  • The Long-Term View: The LinkedIn Algorithm also considers the long-term value of a post, meaning that if a post continues to receive engagement over time, it will continue to appear on users' feeds, even if it was posted days or weeks ago.

So, in short, you need to create high-quality, relevant, and engaging content that resonates with your audience. Easier said than done, but this guide will give you the framework you need to succeed.

Define What You Offer if You Want to Become an Influencer on LinkedIn

Before diving into sharing funny memes, there needs to be some introspection. Ask yourself some of the following questions:

  • Why do you want to become an influencer on LinkedIn? Is it to increase revenue, visibility or establish yourself as a thought leader in your industry?
  • What value can you offer to your audience?
  • What knowledge or expertise do you possess that can benefit your followers?
  • What unique insights can you offer that will set you apart from others in your industry?
  • How can you provide even more value to your followers by emphasizing your unique methods and strategies?
  • What do you want to be known for on LinkedIn?
  • What story do you have to tell that only you can tell?
  • What topics can you talk about forever?
  • What are your true passions?
How to Become an Influencer on Linkedin

A lot of success in the influencer space boils down to having a clear idea of who you are and what you want. You can craft a clear plan and create a powerful personal brand that resonates with your target audience.

Optimize Your LinkedIn Profile

Your LinkedIn profile is your digital handshake. To optimize it, there are several key elements you need to focus on.

Profile Picture

First, your profile picture should be a respectable, clear headshot representing you as a professional in your field. This is crucial enough to play a big part in the SSI score, but it doesn’t mean it needs to be a suit and tie– it just needs to be a high-quality photo. Save the selfies for Instagram.

The Cover Photo

The cover photo is another crucial aspect that provides visual context for your profile. Consider using a picture of yourself giving a speech or anything industry-related that showcases your expertise.

Use it as an opportunity to highlight your authority and knowledge.

If you’re promoting a specific product or service, mention it in the cover photo. Thankfully, you can find hundreds of good templates to get started with on Canva.

I uploaded a friendly LinkedIn profile pic, mentioned Findymail and Scrapybird in the cover photo, and added relevant hashtags so that it’s clear what I do and who I serve on LinkedIn.

The Headline

Your headline is a prime real estate on your profile. It's the first thing people see after your name and photo.

Use it to sell yourself by explaining why you're on LinkedIn, what makes you stand out, and what value you can provide. Don't be afraid to be bold and creative.

The Bio

Your bio should be specific and targeted. Use it to showcase your skills, experience, and achievements.

It's also an opportunity to demonstrate your unique selling proposition and differentiate yourself from others in your field. Use keywords related to your industry or niche for that sweet SEO.

With an optimized profile, you’ll have an easier time building your presence and reaching your target audience.

Here’s an example of everything I mentioned in practice:

Michaela is clear on who she is, what she does, and who she serves. Her profile pic shows her personality, her cover explains what the followers can hope to get, and she uses plenty of keywords.

Leverage Creator Mode

The Creator Mode gives you access to additional tools, analytics, and features to help you grow and expand on the platform. With it, you can easily highlight your content and make it more discoverable.

Some features available in Creator Mode include LinkedIn Live and Newsletter, which can help you reach a wider audience and build your brand.

Take advantage of these features to boost your presence and increase your influence on LinkedIn.

If you plan to use LinkedIn heavily and don’t mind posting often, Creator Mode is probably the best way to go.

Developing Your Content Strategy

When it comes to building your influence on LinkedIn, content is king. But you’ll also need a clear game plan for what type of content you produce and when.

Here are some tips to help you create your LinkedIn content strategy:

1) Try New Formats

Don't be afraid to mix things up and try different formats when creating your LinkedIn content. Whether it's a carousel post, a video, or a giveaway, experimenting with new formats can help you stand out from the crowd and keep your audience engaged.

For example, carousel posts are a great way to showcase multiple images or ideas in one post. You can use them to share industry insights, highlight key features of a product or service, or even tell a story in a fun and engaging way.

Plus, since users can swipe through each image, it encourages them to spend more time on your post and increases authentic (instead of thoughtless) engagement.

Want to convey a lot of information at once? Use carousels.

Similarly, giveaways can be a fun and effective way to boost engagement and grow your following. By offering a prize or incentive for people to engage with your content, you can increase the chances of it being shared and seen by a wider audience.

Just make sure you're clear about the rules and guidelines of the giveaway to avoid any confusion or disappointment.

Overall, trying new formats can help you keep your content fresh and exciting. Plus, you can always check out the best LinkedIn growth hacks.

2) Share Your Experiences and Showcase Your Expertise

People love hearing about real-world experiences and results.

Share case studies of how you solved a problem for a client or achieved a particular goal.

Did you or your company recently perform research? Did you get a new testimonial? Share it on LinkedIn like I did when customers tested Findymail against other email finders.

Don't be afraid to share your opinions on industry topics or current events– just make sure you can back them up with facts and logic.

By sharing your expertise and insights, you'll establish yourself as a thought leader and build a loyal following. If you’re not sure where to start, check out popular TED talks in your industry or catch up on the books your audience loved.

3) Be Authentic and True to Yourself

Nobody likes a phony, so don't be one. Be true to who you are, and don't try to be someone you're not. Let your personality show!

People can sniff out when you’re being fake and trying too hard. Even if you’re a little corny, it can still get people to gravitate toward you when it’s real.

Personally, I love a good meme.

4) Engage with Your Audience Like It's Your Job

Because it kinda is. Don't just post and forget. Respond to comments and messages to build community and show that you value their input.

Throw a thumbs up if you like, a heart if you love it, or a laugh if it tickles your funny bone.

This will also help you stay top of mind and build relationships with potential clients or collaborators. Plus, you never know what kind of interesting conversations or ideas might come up in the comments section.

5) Experiment with Different Post Times and Days

Timing is everything - especially on social media. Try posting at different times and days to see what works best for your audience. Experiment and adjust your strategy accordingly.

Maybe your followers are most active at 3 AM on a Tuesday– or maybe that’s just me.

The world moves fast, and it’s light-speed fast on the internet.

Stay up-to-date with your industry's latest trends and news, and share your thoughts on the hottest topics. It shows that you're engaged and have your finger on the pulse of what's happening in your field.

7) Stay Consistent

Out of sight, out of mind – don't let that happen to you! Post regularly to keep your followers engaged and stay top of mind.

You don't have to post every day but aim for at least a few times a week to keep your profile fresh and active. This will also help you build momentum and attract new followers over time.

Mistakes to Avoid if You Want to Be a LinkedIn Influencer

Of course, the online world can be treacherous if you end up on the wrong end of the hate mob.

Avoid these five mistakes to stay out of hot water:

  1. Don't Virtue-Signal: It's great to be passionate about social causes and to make a positive impact, but you don’t want to come across as insincere or using a cause for personal gain. Avoid posting about a social cause just for the sake of appearing woke or gaining likes and followers.
  2. Don't Be (Too) Arrogant: Share your expertise and accomplishments, but keep it balanced, so you don’t appear arrogant or egotistical. Humility and authenticity can be more relatable and appealing, but if you’re going for the “[industry] rockstar” persona, you might need some sass.
  3. Don't Cross Boundaries: Sharing personal or sensitive information about colleagues, employees, or competitors is a big no-no.
  4. Avoid Controversial Topics: Sure, have a point of view and stand up for what you believe in– but remember the potential consequences of taking a controversial stance.
  5. Don't Use Poor Judgment: Avoid posting offensive content or content in poor taste. Remember the “crying” CEO who posted a selfie of himself crying after firing two employees? And the immediate backlash? Yeah, you wouldn’t want to be him.

Look, Mom, I’m on LinkedIn!

That’s it - those are the basics of becoming an influencer on LinkedIn. You’ve probably noticed that there are some systems you can put in place to stay consistent, but your content? That has to be all you.

Think about what you’re uniquely qualified to talk about. For example, I love cold outreach, and I’ve been in the game for years. It’s made me capable of laughing at my own expense, so you’ll often catch me posting memes on LinkedIn.

At the same time, be mindful of your audience.

For example, Findymail is typically used by salespeople and entrepreneurs - people short on time. I can’t afford long-winded posts. Instead, I focus on concise and actionable posts that offer golden nuggets of information in a few seconds.

So go ahead and put these strategies into practice. Then, brew your own success recipe. I can’t wait to see it!