The term “thought leader” has become ubiquitous in today’s modern business world. It’s used to describe someone who is forward thinking, an expert in their field or an inspirational figure possessing deep insight and authority.
Basically, everyone wants to be known as a thought leader. It’s high praise! But in this competitive market, it’s a hard title to earn. Becoming known as a thought leader in your field means putting yourself out there—spreading your ideas and sharing wisdom in a way that others can tap into. It means getting noticed in the middle of a crowd where everyone is trying to do the same thing!
For those looking to achieve this kind of reputation, LinkedIn may be your most effective tool. Aside from being the gold standard in online professional networking, LinkedIn has a number of features to help publicize your work in a much bigger way. Boasting a reported 500 million users, the LinkedIn platform gives you an opportunity to create a name for yourself amongst professionals in almost any industry and field.
Here are just a few of the ways you can use LinkedIn to position yourself as a thought leader.
Use Status Updates
Most people use status updates to share articles they’ve read elsewhere. While this is a good start, it does little to demonstrate your own original thought. So, why not also include your own analysis of the article or a few of the key highlights you found most interesting?
You can also use the updates area to share stories from your past professional experience or pose a thoughtful question to generate interaction from others. A compelling update can get shared and “liked” by people outside of your immediate network— and some even take on a life of their own, becoming viral and generating thousands of views in a matter of hours.
Write an Article
If you want to go more in-depth than a standard status update, you can write an article using the LinkedIn Publisher feature. This is a great way to get the benefits of a blog, without spending the time and energy required to set one up yourself. Plus, on LinkedIn, your article is much more likely to get read and shared by more people!
Try writing an article on the current state of your industry and where you think things are going. Or, why not write an article about the biggest lessons you’ve learned in your career and how they’ve served you well over the years? You could even write a short, observational post about current business events—a conference you attended, for example, or a major announcement in your field. The options are endless!
This is a great way to demonstrate your writing skills while at the same time bringing positive attention to your thought leadership. Articles can help expose you to more people on LinkedIn and lead to more fruitful conversations.
Get Involved in Groups
Finally, LinkedIn groups are another great way to establish yourself as a thought leader. Join groups that align with your personal and professional interests, and then get active participating. Contribute to the discussions by offering insight from your past work experience. Ask thoughtful questions and provide answers of your own. The more frequently you engage in a meaningful way, the more people will begin to know, like and trust you.
Remember that LinkedIn is more than just an online rolodex. Sure, it’s a great way to stay connected with your professional contacts. But it’s also a network that goes far beyond that. By tapping into the power of the platform, you can raise your visibility and increase your influence in your field and beyond.